Seeds – sensational healthy snacks
It should be no surprise that seeds make a healthy snack – they contain everything a plant needs to establish itself as a growing plant, until it can manufacture its own food. And if they’ve got enough nutrition to do that, they should benefit us humans too!
You’ll find seeds in lots of Nutribox snacks – like nuts they are a great source of protein and they also contain a range of important minerals and fats that make them worthy of the healthy label. The sturdy coating on seeds is undigestible for humans so the one thing you have to remember to do is chew them well or chop or grind them – only then can you get access to the nutritional components inside. Like nuts different seeds have different nutrient qualities – here’s an introduction to a few of our favourites.
Sunflower seeds are always a popular choice – small, crunchy and ideal for snacking straight with other nuts and dried fruits or sprinkling on salads or yoghurt. As well as providing vitamin E, an important antioxidant, and minerals like magnesium (used by your body to produce energy) and selenium (also required for antioxidant protection against cellular damage), sunflower seeds also provide dietary fibre which is important for good digestive function.
Pumpkin seeds are a really useful source of omega-3 essential fatty acids for vegetarians and vegans who can’t get these important fats from oily fish. These flat dark green seeds are also a useful source of phytosterols, plant compounds that can help inhibit cholesterol absorption in your gut. Like many natural foods they provide the important minerals like magnesium and zinc, and vitamins like B3 that you need to be able to utilize those omega-3 essential fatty acids effectively in your body.
Linseeds, also known as flaxseeds, are another great vegetarian and vegan source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These fats have important anti-inflammatory properties and play an important structural role in cell membranes (which helps your cells talk to each other effectively). These are tiny seeds, so are usually best eaten freshly ground as they are very little to chew and can pass through your digestive system untouched – not very helpful when you want them to share their great nutrition with you.
Sesame seeds are found both around our snack bars and in them. Again it’s a tiny seed so grind or chew it well to ensure you break the coating and get the good nutrition inside. Sesame seeds contain compounds called lignans – these are powerful antioxidants that may reduce how much cholesterol is made in your liver. They also contain the amino acid tryptophan which is an important ingredient in the hormones you need for sleep.
Seeds are little but they are packed full of nutritional goodness. Like nuts they are relatively high in fat (though most of these fats are good useful fats) so you have to be careful how you look after them. Heat and exposure to air can degrade the healthy fats so only grind or chop seeds when you are about to eat them.
If you’d like to try your own box of healthy snacks delivered with tasty seed ingredients click here to find out more