7 Aralık 2012 Cuma

This Just In: Edible Seeds--Good Things Come in Small Packages

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From the Long Beach Press-Telegram (CA).  Consider all but chia and flax to be little Omega-6 bombs.

"Edible seeds are little nutritional powerhouses that probably don't get the recognition they deserve. Though they are tiny, they pack in more fiber, protein and beneficial fats than whole grains.  The seeds are nutritionally dense and full of flavor. The heart-healthy fats in edible seeds cause them to be high in calories.

There are a variety of nutrient-rich seeds available on the market worth incorporating into your meals or snacks one serving of seeds is equal to 1 ounce, or about 3 tablespoons):

Made popular in the 1980s as the main ingredient used in Chia Pets, these small black seeds are making a comeback boasting a wide range of culinary possibilities.
Whether eaten plain, baked into breads and muffins, or sprinkled over salad, yogurt or hot cereal, chia seeds add a nutty flavor and a nutritional boost. They are loaded with omega-3 fats, fiber, antioxidants and minerals, including zinc.
Chia seeds are being studied for their potential role in promoting heart health and supporting weight loss.

Flaxseeds are the No. 1 dietary source of lignans, a polyphenol that provides fiberlike and antioxidant benefits. They also contain a significant dose of the omega-3 fats known as alpha-linolenic acid.
The unique combination of lignans and omega-3s, in addition to a gel-forming fiber called mucilage, is responsible for the health benefits of flaxseeds, which include improved cardiovascular health and better insulin sensitivity.

Many nutrition experts recommend using ground flaxseeds in order to best absorb the seed's nutrients. Be careful to keep ground flaxseeds airtight and refrigerated to prevent spoilage.

Although quinoa can be eaten similarly to a grain, it technically is a seed. Quinoa is an excellent source of two antioxidant phytonutrients, quercetin and kaempferol, and a list of other anti-inflammatory compounds.  In addition, compared to grains, quinoa is much higher in fats, especially monounsaturated fats, and protein.

Quinoa is an acceptable substitute for wheat and other grains on a gluten-free diet and quinoa flour can be used to make baked goods and pasta.

The seeds of pumpkin or squash, also known as pepitas, are commonly used in Mexican cuisine, especially moles. They also are a great snack or addition to a fresh salad or oatmeal.
Pepitas are rich in zinc, vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

While roasting brings out the nuttiness of these seeds, be careful to keep cooking time under 15 minutes to avoid destroying the heat-sensitive polyunsaturated fats.

Hemp seeds, also known as hemp heart, are more than 30 percent fat and 25 percent protein, plus they have a considerable amount of fiber and other nutrients.  They boast a unique profile of essential fatty acids including polyunsaturated fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid, and are a rare source of gamma-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid.

Hemp seeds may help lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.

Many health food stores and some supermarkets sell hemp-containing products such as protein bars, nondairy hemp milk, smoothies and cereals.  Shelled hemp seeds can be used in sweet and savory recipes in place of walnuts or pine nuts and added to baked goods.

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