30 Mar The Power of Seeds and Ancient Grains
Seeds and ancient grains are popular buzzwords these days. They can be great on their own or delicious mix-ins, and add-ons to other foods. According to a 2014 Food Marketing Institute Survey, 48% of consumers seek whole grain claims on food labels.
Seeds and ancient grains are: gluten-free, rich in fiber, high in omega-3 fatty acids, and a good source of protein.
Here is a sampling of popular choices:
This grain is a rich source of protein, iron, and fiber. Consume it on it’s own, or toss into yogurt or on top of salad. One half a cup of cooked quinoa has 3 grams of fiber per serving, 8% of the daily value (DV) for iron and 10% DV folate.
Two tablespoons of this nutrient powerhouse contains 42% of your recommended daily intake of fiber, and is a great source of calcium and protein. Vegetarians, vegans, lactose-intolerant, and dairy allergies can all benefit from adding chia into their diets.
One ounce of pumpkin seeds offers 1 gram of fiber and 7 grams of protein. It is also a source of vitamin K, iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. These seeds are also a source of squalene, a sterol that promotes heart health.
To toast your pumpkin seeds, first rinse them to remove excess pulp and string. Spread seeds on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 325 deg F for about 30 min or until lightly toasted. Stir occasionally. Add seasonings such as garlic powder, or seasoning salt.
Pumpkin puree is another great option. Try adding it into mac and cheese, pancake batter, oatmeal, or in smoothies.
This grain is rich in soluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels and maintains satiety for extended periods. Try oatmeal with fruit for breakfast or replace breadcrumbs with oats in hamburgers and meatloaf. Mixing with yogurt can be beneficial as both assist each other in the digestive process.
Evidence suggests oats may also help lower bad cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and boost the nutrition profile of gluten-free diets.
Available as ground or whole, this seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B6, folate, thiamin, phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Just one tablespoon of flax seeds supplies the daily recommendations for omega-3 fatty acid.
For vegans or those with egg allergies, flax seed can be a great egg replacer in baked goods. Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed (or ground chia) with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg.
Ancient grains and seeds are a great way to boost nutrition, especially for gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan lifestyles. Always consider portion size, moderation, and variety with all of your choices.