We are hearing about the health benefits of flax, hemp, and chia seeds everywhere in the media. These 3 seeds also rank high on the nutrition chart. Deciding which one is the right choice depends on your diet goals. If you are considering adding seeds as a part of your eating regimen, look for organic seeds in their raw state. Try to avoid irradiated or roasted seeds.
If you want fiber, your best choice is found in chia seeds.They are packed with 10 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in 3 tablespoons. Chia seeds come from the Chia plant, native to Mexico and Guatemala.
These small black seeds swell when added to liquids. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins, (thiamine, riboflavin, folate, and niacin), calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. For people who are dieting or simply choosing healthier eating options, chia seeds are great because they are enriched in nutrients with very little caloric intake required. Packed with antioxidants, the fiber and protein in them can help aid in weight loss by helping you feel full longer.
Flaxseeds are small brown or golden seeds that provide nutritious benefits on a low caloric intake. Rich in omega 3s, fiber, and antioxidants, they are considered a healthy additive for any diet. The omega 3s in flaxseeds, known as Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, has been shown to inhibit tumor growth, lower blood pressure and improve blood sugar. Flaxseeds are also rich in fiber and other key nutrients.
Flaxseeds are readily available and can be purchased whole or ground in almost any grocery store. Keep in mind that they are best eaten in ground form up to get the full nutrients. Remember to refrigerate these seeds in a tight container to preserve them longer. If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, consider adding flaxseeds to your diet. They have been shown to decrease blood pressure and cholesterol if eaten regularly.
If protein is your option, choose hemp seeds which contain a whopping 10 grams per ounce. Hemp seeds contain all 20 amino acids, including those that our body does not produce. These seeds are high in omegas 3 and 6, which are great for the body’s immune system and cardiovascular health.
Hemp does have a bit of a sketchy past because these seeds do come from the same family of plants as marijuana. Growing it was illegal under federal law, however, the government’s prohibition on hemp was partially eased in the Farm Bill passed by Congress in 2014. Most U.S. retailers rely on imports of hemp from other countries such as Canada. Hemp seeds are very similar to sunflower seeds in that they have to be shelled to be eaten. They are a great source of magnesium and fiber and contain a compound known as Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain illnesses and diseases.
Whatever choice you make, you can feel comfortable knowing all of these seeds are rich in nutrients that our bodies need and will provide you many great health benefits.
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