15 Weeks of More
Week 6: Super Seeds
I am excited for this week's topic because not only are we focusing on nutrient-rich seeds, but I also have a giveaway! Keep reading for more details. And as always, if you have questions or want to share your experience with 15 Weeks of More so far, please email me. I would love to hear from you.
Week 6: Super Seeds
This week's focus is on seeds. They're tiny, but they have many benefits making them an important part of a nourishing, healthy diet. We'll explore a few varieties, investigate their benefits, and learn how to include more of them in the diet. I'm also excited to share a special giveaway in partnership with one of my favorite brands, 88 Acres. More on this below.
Your goal this week is to include seeds in a minimum of three meals or snacks with a focus specifically on adding a type of seed you've never tried.
Why Should You Eat Seeds?
Seeds are often referred to as "small, but mighty" and this couldn't be more true. Their nutritional benefits are extensive and research shows that eating seeds (and nuts) is connected to positive health outcomes such as a lower risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Nuts and seeds are often lumped together, but for purposes of this week we will focus solely on seeds. However, it's important to recognize that both nuts and seeds are sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as well as fiber, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Not Low-Fat, but the Right Kind of Fat
You may have heard that eating too much fat is bad for your health. This message is unfortunately too simplistic and resulted in the low-fat diet craze replacing fats, even the healthy fats, with refined carbohydrates. This type of low-fat, high refined carbohydrate eating pattern is correlated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Instead of thinking about low-fat overall, it's important to focus on eating the right type of fat in an amount up to 35% of total calories from fat. So, for someone eating 2000 calories per day this is approximately 75g of fat per day. (This number is a general recommendation and may not work for everyone.) Eating monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, like those found in nuts, seeds, plant-based oils, and fatty fish, in place of saturated fats is known to be beneficial for health. Focus on consuming unsaturated fats and on limiting saturated fat intake to no more than 10% of total calories. Seeds can help you reach this goal since they're naturally low in saturated fat and are a source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Let's take a look at a few seed varieties to get you started this week. Just as a general tip, I recommend keeping nuts and seeds in the refrigerator. This helps to prevent spoilage since many bags of seeds are large and you are unlikely to go through them in a short period of time. The list below isn't comprehensive, but is a good start.
Did you know chia is a member of the mint family? These tiny seeds are a source of omega-3 fatty acids and contain all of the essential amino acids. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 11g of fiber and 4g protein. Their fiber plays a role in lowering LDL cholesterol. Sprinkle chia seeds on top of foods or mix with liquids and leave to absorb water and expand to create a gel.
Flaxseeds are a source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. Flaxseeds also contain lignans, plant compounds with antioxidant properties. Two tablespoons of ground flaxseed has 3g protein and 3g fiber. These seeds have a nutty flavor that tastes great in smoothies, cereals, and baked products. It's best to eat flaxseeds that have been ground to ensure nutrients are absorbed. Whole flaxseeds do not breakdown during digestion and instead are a source of insoluble fiber that passes through the digestive tract. Store ground flaxseeds in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.
Yes, hemp is a part of the cannabis family and no, it does not contain THC. Two tablespoons of hemp hearts, the shelled hemp seed, contains about 7g protein and 2g fiber. Hemp hearts are also a source of magnesium, a mineral that plays a role in muscle function, protein synthesis, and metabolism. Hemp is another source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, so if you're vegetarian, vegan, or if you don't regularly consume fish then hemp and chia can be an important source of this unsaturated fat.
October is a great time to include pumpkin seeds in your diet since pumpkins are in season this time of year! These tasty seeds are great on their own or sprinkled on hot cereals or mixed into baked products and trail mix. One ounce of pumpkin seeds has 5g of fiber and 5g of protein. They're also a source of magnesium, potassium, and iron. Unlike the other seeds listed here, pumpkin seeds have almost equal amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Other sources of monounsaturated fats include avocado, olive oil, and canola oil as well as most nuts.
There are many other types of seeds that are beneficial to add to the diet and this list is far from comprehensive. Share your favorites by sending me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using #aneweats on social.
I recently shared a recipe for no bake granola bars that feature walnuts and a seed mix from Trader Joe's, however you can use any seed you would like in this recipe. This simple recipe is an easy way to add more seeds to your day. Download the recipe here.
I will be on social this week sharing how I'm adding seeds to my day and I'm looking forward to connecting with you! Don't forget to share your tips and ideas with #aneweats.
You can see more on Instagram @allisonknottrd or on Facebook on the ANEWtrition page.
New here? Check out the introduction to 15 Weeks of More, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, and Week 5.
Enjoy your super seeds,