From being a last-minute garnish to mid-day munchies to nutrient ninjas in your main dishes, seeds have hopped the corners of your pantry to bask in full glory as powerhouses of micronutrients. The tiny, crunchy, antioxidant warriors bring along with them the goodness of a horde of nutrients, including healthy fat and minerals.

Sunflower seeds

It pays to have them handy, especially when you are on the run, as the sunflower seeds are your best bet to boost your energy levels. “Sunflower seeds contain polyphenol compounds such as chlorogenic acid, quinic acid and caffeic acids—compounds that are natural antioxidants, which help in removing harmful oxidant molecules from the body. Many minerals found in sunflower seeds play a vital role in bone mineralisation, red blood cell production, enzyme secretion, hormone production and regulation of cardiac and skeletal muscle activities,” says dietician Sarika Nair of Mumbai-based SlimnHappy, an online platform for weight loss and health requirements. That makes it a superb inclusion, especially for women, to rev up the protein power in your diet. So, chomp on cookies and health bars made with these seeds.

Flax

Flax seeds are highly rated for Omega-3 fatty acids. The mini seeds are a great natural source of vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, protein and much more,” says Varsha Gorey, senior clinical dietician, Apollo Hospitals, Navi Mumbai. There are various ways to knead them into your intake. Lightly toast and powder to add to raita, porridge, smoothies, dry chutneys and atta for making rotis. Optionally, the seeds can be rolled into chikkis and laddus. About 15-30 grams (two tablespoons) a day of flax seeds meet an adult’s daily requirement. One to two tablespoons of roasted flax seeds consumed with warm water on an empty stomach in the morning can even bring diabetes under control.

Shilpi Madan for New Indian Express

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