Lubna Khan Faraz |
Let’s talk about big nutrition value; let’s talk about chia, hemp and flax seeds.
These three superfoods are becoming quite the talk of the town, and that too, for very good reasons. Being rich in fiber and healthy fats, high in omega-3’s, these seeds contain essential fatty acids that are important for brain development, improving blood pressure, lowering LDL (bad cholesterol), reducing inflammation and are excellent for heart and bone health.
If you need to add nutritional value to your meal, you absolutely cannot go wrong in choosing any one of them, however, for specific needs consider this:
Flax – functional food
If these are new additions to your meals, it’s recommended to choose an organic brand, start with small amounts and drink plenty of water to give your body some time to adjust to the increased fiber intake
We all know that omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health, but it’s important to understand that not all of these acids are equal. The three most important ones, out of eleven, are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). ALA is usually plant-based, while EPA and DHA come from animal foods (such as fish).
Flax seeds contain about 6.4 grams per ounce and provide the richest source of ALA. They are incredibly beneficial for the intestinal tract and when consumed, they form a gel-like fiber that keeps food in the stomach from emptying too fast into the small intestine – increasing the nutrient absorption in the body and keeping you full for longer.
Being extremely rich in fiber, they also reduce sugar cravings and support fat loss. Flaxseeds are also a good source of B-vitamins and antioxidants, consider adding them to your diet if you’re looking for healthier skin and hair. They are the ultimate functional food that aid in hormonal balance, anti-aging, and cellular health.
Chia – Warrior food
They are versatile and can be used in numerous recipes, add them to smoothies, salads, soups, baked goods or porridge to increase your meal’s nutrition value immediately!
Did you know Aztec warriors consumed chia seeds to give them energy and strength during battle? They would carry a little pouch with chia seeds to help them sustain energy during combats. That’s right –chia consumption has shown to enhance exercise performance the same way a sport-drink would – without all that unhealthy sugar!
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By adding chia to your diet, you can boost your energy, metabolism and burn belly fat! Chia seeds are extremely beneficial due to their high levels of omega-3 fats, plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals (such as calcium, potassium, magnesium) and antioxidants. Providing nearly 11 grams of dietary fiber per ounce, chia helps the body balance insulin levels, bowel regularity, and blood pressure.
Hemp – the ancient Chinese medicine
Hempseeds have been used as medicine to treat numerous disorders in ancient China. Due to their balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, people that suffer from skin diseases (such as eczema) may benefit from these seeds tremendously. Compared to chia and flax seed, which provide 16-18% of protein (out of their total calories), hemp seeds provide more than 25% of protein.
Due to their balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, people that suffer from skin diseases (such as eczema) may benefit from these seeds tremendously
This makes them a complete protein source (containing all the essential amino acids)– this is very rare for a plant-based source. Whole hemp seeds are a great source of fiber as well (20% soluble and 80% insoluble); this helps food and waste pass through the gut. Best of all, they are rich in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), which helps the body smooth muscles, control inflammation and is vital for many body functions.
If you are at risk of heart disease, hemp seeds have been linked to decreasing the risk in many studies due to the GLA content (gamma-linolenic acid) in them. There is no doubt that all three seeds should be essentials in our modern-day diet. They are versatile and can be used in numerous recipes, add them to smoothies, salads, soups, baked goods or porridge to increase your meal’s nutrition value immediately!
If these are new additions to your meals, it’s recommended to choose an organic brand, start with small amounts and drink plenty of water to give your body some time to adjust to the increased fiber intake.
Lubna is a certified fitness leadership trainer from Canada and is looking to become a motivational speaker. She advises people on how to eat healthy by making substitutions in their diets, offer meal plans and add small habits in their routine. She also offers to consult on beauty and skincare routines, workouts and training as well as fashion styling.