A quick glance around Trader Joe’s confirms that the new super foods are seeds, specifically flaxseed and chia seeds. From breads to beverages, these seeds are everywhere. While they may not look appetizing, these seeds are packed with nutrients that may prevent diseases. Why are these seeds so popular and how are they eaten?
Hailed as one of the most powerful foods, flaxseed has shown to decrease the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Brimming with Omega-3 essential fatty acids, flaxseed has the ability to reduce rheumatoid arthritis inflammation, ADHD and depressive symptoms, and the likelihood of stroke. Another component, Lignan, inhibits the growth of tumor cells, curbing the development of cancer.
Incorporating flaxseed to one’s diet is fairly easy. Adding 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to any meal is sufficient to benefit from disease prevention. We add a tablespoon to Greek yogurt and our morning steel-cut oatmeal. Since flaxseed is fairly tasteless, it will not interfere with recipes or the flavor profile of dishes.
Because of its high fiber content, nutritionists have been singing chia’s praises for years. Since it is a high source of fiber, chia seeds prolong satiety, which is welcome news to those looking to decrease snacking in between meals. Chia seeds are also high in calcium, preventing osteoporosis. We are particularly interested chia seeds, because of the high protein content. Vegetarians often lack protein in their diets, so chia seeds are a good way to meet daily protein requirements.
Unlike flaxseed, chia seeds do not have to be ground prior to ingestion and can be eaten in all forms. While the health benefits sound fantastic, use caution when adding chia seeds to your meals. Consuming more than 2 tablespoons per day can cause gastrointestinal distress due to the high fiber levels. Chia seeds do not change the flavor of meals, but sprinkling it into foods will add a crunchy texture. Many beginners add chia seeds to pastas, while the more aggressive individuals throw a tablespoon in a glass of water and drink it straight up. We have yet to work our way up to that level and doubt we ever will, but we are happy sprouting chia seeds and adding them to our daily salads.