Seeds of (Healthy) Contentment

Chia seeds will make your tasty-looking salad nutritious, too!
Chia seeds will make your tasty-looking salad nutritious, too!

By Terry Collymore

Pumpkin. Chia. Sesame. To many experts, these seeds and others are the newest super foods. And why not. Many are loaded with nutrients, and they’re big energy boosters. Whether you add a handful to yogurt, sprinkle them on a salad, or eat ‘em raw, these tiny titans are a healthy addition to your diet.

Here’s a look at some of the most popular seeds, and exactly what they’ll do for your body:

PumpkinSeedsPumpkin If you’re a pumpkins you most likely love their yummy orange flesh, but could do without the seeds. Big mistake. Pumpkin seeds are loaded with magnesium, which is needed to strengthen bones, normalize blood sugar, and keep cholesterol levels in check. They are also a good source of iron and zinc, nutrients important for maintaining energy levels and boosting your immune system.  Toast ’em for a yummy snack! You can also add them to salads, oatmeal, or steamed veggies.

ChiaSeedChia Consider them the “it” seeds of the moment. They’re everywhere—in drinks, puddings, and on muffins.  What makes them so hot?  High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, a heart-smart and cholesterol-control nutrient. Chia seeds are also rich in fiber (5 grams per tablespoon), which keeps you feeling full longer. Nutritionists recommend getting about two tablespoons daily. Sprinkle them on your cereal or stir them into a smoothie or your favorite drink.

SesameSeedsSesame So much more than garnish on burger buns, they’re also are a great source of calcium, copper, and magnesium. Sesame seeds offer cardiovascular benefits and help the body absorb needed nutrients. Add them to your stir-fry toasted or raw.

sunflower-seeds-roasted-salted_1Sunflower Kids love this healthy snack. And they’re popular with baseball players. Follow their lead and grab a handful of these vitamin E-enriched seeds, famed for their skin-improving and heart benefits. A few of tablespoons will give your salad an instant flavorful crunch!

flax-seed-1Flaxseed Omega-3 fatty acids ( heart, brain health) star in this perpetually popular seed. But flaxseeds must be grounded for you to reap these benefits. Buy them pre-grounded or do it yourself in a coffee grinder, then add two tablespoons to smoothies or yogurt.

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