5​ ​Incredible​ ​Seeds​ ​You​ ​Should​ ​Add​ ​to​ ​Your​ ​Diet​ ​Right​ ​Now

With so many Superfoods on the market, it can be tough to figure out what to add to your diet. Including healthy foods now can help assure that your body will thank you later. In fact, there are 5 incredible seeds that can significantly improve your health, which you should seriously consider adding to your next grocery list.

 

Seeds Aren’t Just for the Birds

Eating seeds might seem strange. Aren’t they just for birds, bears, and other wild animals? Of course not! If you’ve ever followed baseball, you’ve seen how snacking on sunflower seeds has taken the place of chewing tobacco. Adding seeds to your diet can also help:

  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Lower risk of diabetes
  • Lower risk of heart disease or stroke
  • Protect your cells

Seeds are full of nutrients and good fats. Many contain vitamins and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats like omega-6 and omega-3.

 

Delicious Seed Diet Tips

One may ask, “What’s the best way to eat seeds?” Well, there are several ways to enjoy these healthy treats.

  • Grab a handful as a snack
  • Add them to smoothies
  • Sprinkle them in a salad
  • Bake them into protein bars

If you keep your seeds in a dry place at room temperature, some seeds can stay good for more than three years! They are super easy to store. You can place them in an air-tight-sealed container in your fridge and they will retain their natural crunchy flavors. They may not last as long if they are prepared in a dish. When cooking with seeds, unfortunately, they will only last as long as the first ingredient to go bad.

 

The Incredible 5

There are so many wonderful seeds from which to choose, each with dietary and nutritional benefits. However, there are five specific seeds that stand out as ones you should consider adding right now (and we’ll tell you why!) The seeds that made the top of the list are: Flax, Pumpkin, Chia, Sesame, and Hemp.

 

1) Flax​ ​seeds

Flax seeds are very small, brown in color, and shaped like a teardrop. They’re easy to grind up and add in to smoothies, protein bars, oils, and baked goods. These seeds contain lignans, which help balance hormone levels and blood sugar.

 

2) Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin​ ​seeds​ are large and green. They contain magnesium, are high in zinc, and help boost the immune system. They’re also high in fiber, which is great for digestion and can help lower heart-disease risk. You can chew them whole or grind them and add to oatmeal, batter for baked goods, or into protein bars.

 

3) Chia​ ​seeds

Chia are tiny grayish-black seeds. They’re known for boosting energy and metabolism. In fact, the word “Chia” means strength in the Mayan language. They’re high in omega-3 fatty amino acids, fiber, and antioxidants. You can munch on a pinch of chia seeds or add them into smoothies, soups, or salads.

 

4) Sesame seeds

Sesame​ ​seeds​ are small and generally white in color, although they can also be black. They originate from Africa and India and make an incredible oil as well. These seeds contain calcium and iron, which is great for your blood and helps boost bone health. Besides being on bagels, sesame seeds can be tossed into salads or used in cooking and baking.

 

5) Hemp Seeds

Hemp​ ​seeds​ are small, white, and round. They’re a terrific source of protein, fiber, and vitamin E. Hemp seeds have been known to help with acne and strengthen hair. These seeds are also a natural anti-inflammatory. They assist with providing a “full” feeling, which can be helpful if weight loss is a goal. Hemp seeds can be ground and place in smoothies, oatmeal, and even desserts!

 

Next time you’re at the market, make sure to add these seeds into your cart. You can always cultivate seeds at home if you’re inclined to plant, grow, harvest, or bake. If you enjoy unique flavors and participate in a healthy diet, then adding these incredible seeds will fit perfectly into your style. Check out GetThrive for many more tips on nutrition and healthy living.

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-healthiest-seeds#section5

https://healthyforgood.heart.org/eat-smart/articles/polyunsaturated-fats

https://bodyecology.com/articles/6_benefits_monosaturated_fats.php

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-reasons-healthy-young

http://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/qa-do-seeds-have-expiration-dates

https://draxe.com/chia-seeds-benefits-side-effects/

http://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/how-to-eat-flaxseeds-health-benefits-tips-and-recipes-1247569

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/30/pumpkin-seed-benefits.aspx

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/sesame-seeds.html#Skin_HairCare

 

 

 

Supercharge Your Smoothies With Our Ultimate Superfoods List

It’s difficult to sift through the expert information available, especially when it comes to healthy food. One source tells us to avoid fat at all costs, while another encourages us to add cream to our coffee with abandon.

Smoothies aren’t a new thing, but they’re consistently at the forefront of healthy eating trends, and they’re often credited with almost magical properties.

Are Smoothies Healthy?

 

Like most questions, there’s no simple answer to this one. A smoothie can only be as healthy as the ingredients you put into it. There’s a general assumption that anything that contains fruit must be good for you, but it’s not that straightforward.

Sugar is a huge buzz word right now, with experts warning of the dangers of hidden sugar in processed foods. You might feel virtuous as you knock back your freshly-made fruity concoction, but have you ever thought about how much sugar you’re consuming?

Your smoothie doesn’t feel like a processed food, but in reality, whether the blending has been done by you or by someone else, it’s still fruit that’s been altered from its original form.

That said, superfoods are on everyone’s radar at the moment. Whether you’re looking for the elixir of youth, or a boost to your flagging libido, there will be a superfood that claims to be able to help.

Only you can decide whether or not you believe the hype surrounding these foods, mainstream research hasn’t yet backed up most of the claims. If you’re looking to make your breakfast smoothie as beneficial as possible, then try adding something from our superfoods list.

Superfoods for super smoothies

 

  • Leafy Greens: USDA recommendations suggest that we should eat two or three cups of green leafy vegetables each week. They’re packed full of calcium, magnesium and carotenoid antioxidants. The idea of a green smoothie might conjure up images of holding your nose and forcing down a murky green-brown sludge, but in reality, it’s amazing how easy it is to make leafy greens disappear into a berry smoothie.
  • Seeds: Healthy food fans have recognised the benefits of seeds for a long time. Flax, chia, hemp and other seeds are touted as having amazing health benefits. They’re a good source of the healthy fats we’re encouraged to consume, they contain fibre and protein, and, again, those lovely antioxidants. A handful of seeds in your morning smoothie might also help you to feel fuller for longer, beating the mid-morning munchies.
  • Cacao Nibs: Yet more antioxidants, and a delicious chocolatey flavour, what’s not to like? Dark chocolate is known to have health benefits, but raw food fans know that cacao nibs take it to the next level. Mountains of fibre, an excellent source of magnesium, and flavonoids that will boost your cardiovascular health.
  • Coconut Oil: This seems to pop up everywhere at the moment. We’re back to the whole healthy fats thing again. Coconut oil is one of the richest sources of saturated fat available to us, and research shows that it is high in medium chain triglycerides, which are rapidly used as fuel rather than being stored as fat.
  • Cactus: Yet more of those antioxidants, and the added bonus of watching your partner’s face when you mention that you’re drinking a cactus smoothie. High fibre, low calories and full of vitamins A and C.
  • Spirulina: Yes, it’s algae. It sounds vile, and eating a spoonful of this green powder isn’t likely to have you clamouring for more. Throw it into a green smoothie though, and you won’t even notice it’s there.Claimed spirulina benefits include helping development of good gut bacteria – essential for fending of candida infections, and normalising cholesterol levels.
  • Acai Berry: Another berry, with similar benefits to goji berries. Claims for acai berries range from weight loss to improved sexual performance. The mainstream jury is still out on this one, there hasn’t been much research to support the various claims.It’s generally accepted though, that fruits and berries form part of a healthy diet, making acai berries a worthwhile element to include in your smoothies.

Looking For More Smoothie Superfood Goodness?

 

Skinny Ms has a seven-superfood smoothie recipe that includes green tea for added benefits.
Women’s Health magazine has lots of different smoothie recipes, so you’re sure to find something that appeals.
Mercola.com is a popular source for all kinds of natural health information, and their Super Boost Power Smoothie is packed full of superfoods.

 

For more great information about health and wellness, check out GetThrive.com

 

 

Nutrition Quiz: Are You Really Eating Healthy?

How much do you really know about healthy eating? We believe certain foods are good (or bad) for us, but then, sometimes, we find out otherwise. Advertising and/or outdated studies can often misguide us in our quest to eat nutritiously. Take the quick Healthy-Eating Quiz and see how well you’re doing!

 

  1. Which are “good fats”?
  2. Saturated fats
  3. Trans fats
  4. Monounsaturated fats
  5. Polyunsaturated fats

 

  1. Which are whole grains?
  2. Oatmeal
  3. White rice
  4. Barley
  5. Quinoa

 

  1. What nutrients do eggs contain?
  2. Protein
  3. Vitamin B12
  4. Vitamin D
  5. Lutein

 

  1. Which are great sources of fiber?
  2. Artichokes
  3. Chia seeds
  4. Pancakes
  5. Black beans

 

  1. Which are low in sugar content?
  2. Tonic water
  3. Vanilla yogurt
  4. Bananas
  5. Almond butter

 

Now check and compare your answers with ours.

 

Answers:

1.) c and d. The worst are trans fats, for example, hydrogenated oils. Saturated fats aren’t horrible when eaten in slim moderation. These include: cheese, whole milk, and red meat. Your good fats will be monounsaturated (i.e. olive oil, avocados, sunflower oil) and polyunsaturated fats, which are essential fats (omega-3 fatty acids, salmon, seeds, nuts, etc.)

2.) a and c. Whole grains contain bran, germ, and endosperm—the entire grain kernel. That is precisely what oatmeal and barley are. White rice is processed and not a whole grain; however, brown and wild rice are considered whole grains. Quinoa, although quite nutritionally potent, is really a seed (though some still categorize it as a grain).

3.) a, b, c, and d. Two medium eggs offer about 14 grams of protein. Over 50% of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin B12 is included as well. Eggs are a great source of vitamin D for bone health and lutein for eye health.

4.) a, b, and d. Pancakes, especially those prepared with white, refined flour have virtually no fiber benefit. (If they were made with a whole grain, like Buckwheat, now we’re talkin’.) One medium artichoke has about 10 grams of fiber—and brother broccoli is not far behind. Chia seeds, as well as flax and other seeds, can have up to 6 grams of fiber in one tablespoon. Black beans (and lima and lentils) are fiber royalty with up to 15 grams per cup, cooked.

5.) d. Almond butter made solely from nuts (with no sugar added), may have as few as 2 grams of sugar per serving. (Other nut butters without additives are also low in sugar. Generic tonic water and flavored yogurts can have up to 40 grams of sugar per serving. Yikes! Bananas are one of the most calorie-dense fruits. Of course because the sugar is from a natural source, it is better for your health any day over eating a processed food with added sugar.

Keep seeking out and following your path to healthy eating. You will feel rewarded in body, mind, and spirit!

 

Sources:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/grain-month-calendar/quinoa-%E2%80%93-march-grain-month

https://www.nutritionfoundation.org.nz/nutrition-facts/nutrition-a-z/Eggs/What-do-eggs-contain-

https://greatist.com/health/surprising-high-fiber-foods

 

 

 

 

Grocery List Essentials for Your Plant-Based Diet

It’s really exciting to make a conscious choice to eat more plant-based foods. It can also be daunting if you’re not sure what to fill your pantry with in order to prepare or cook yummy new dishes.

Additionally, you can find yourself spending a bit more in your budget to catch up on the basics, like nuts, seeds, and herbs. Plant-based chef Miranda Hammer (who also happens to be a registered dietician) has some great ideas for stocking up, especially if this is a new venture for you at home.

The idea is to flavor-up what could be bland. Using fresh produce is the start. Dress it up with dried, nonperishable, nutritious items. Your goal is to keep all your foods whole and unprocessed.

Hammer suggests shopping in the bulk bins at your local health food store or market. Since they need to turnover the products in a timely fashion, if they’re not all sold, they will often offer a decent discount.

Texture, Fiber, and Good Fats

Nuts and seeds are amazing sources of protein, fiber, and other healthy supplements. They are both terrific snacks alone, but the chef recommends using them as toppers on salads, oatmeal, ice cream, or cooked veggie dishes.

Get them raw and unsalted. Some preferred nuts are: walnuts, pistachios, almonds, cashews, and, of course, the go-to nut—peanuts. Tasty seeds include: chia, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, and flax.

Herbivore Alert

Dried herbs and spices are must-haves if you want exotic tastes. As we are hearing more often, many spices and herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties, which adds further benefit to their use.

You can also avoid using too much salt by incorporating another interesting spice instead. Hammer suggests investing in: cumin, oregano, turmeric, ginger, coriander, and thyme.

Beans, Grains, Oils, and Stand-bys

Another staple for plant-based pantries are beans and legumes. Some of these include: lentils, black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, and split peas. Of course any grains you buy should be “whole”—like in cereal, quinoa, brown rice, spelt, and bulgur.

Coconut, extra-virgin olive, avocado, and sesame are Hammer’s favorites. And delicious for dressings, sauces, or to dip in, balsamic vinegar, tamari, raw apple cider, and Dijon mustard are the recommendations.

Stock up on these items little-by-little. They should last in your pantry for a short while (some longer than others.) Buy your produce fresh and organic. With the combination of these items, you can make yourself some fabulous, healthy meals right in your own home.

Alkaline Your Gut with a Berry Smoothie

Does your belly burn, especially after eating? A berry smoothie may just be the meal your gut needs to help it heal. Here’s some info (and recipe ideas) that can replace those antacids you’ve been taking.

Berry Smoothie Yummy, and Good for the Tummy!

Fruit, specifically berries, promote balance in our gut. With the ingestion of processed foods, fatty meats, and refined grains, our digestive system can become overly acidic. Raw fruits and veggies help to re-establish an alkaline state.

Why Alkaline? Why Smoothies?

An alkaline environment in the gut has been shown to provide many excellent health benefits. First off, that constant burning or gassy sensation will eventually disappear. Your metabolism will increase, giving you lots of energy and help you lose weight if that’s what you want. Your immune system will also strengthen. Eating berries are part of the process, and putting them into your smoothie is easy and can work wonders.

Healthiest Berries Around

Nutritious berries grow all around the world. Blackberries, for example, can grow wild in your backyard. But the Goji berry, for instance, is from Tibet and Nepal. They are both part of a list of the healthiest berries you can find in your garden or at a market that sells fresh produce. Others are:

  • Acai berry (from Brazil – extremely high in antioxidants; ten times more than grapes)
  • Blueberry (considered one of the healthiest because they’re packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and other nutrients.)
  • Strawberry (an excellent source of potassium, fiber, many B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, iodine, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and copper.)
  • Cherries (contain melatonin, a natural chemical that aids with healthy sleep patterns)

Using Berries in a Smoothie

Think of your fruits and vegetables as your base. If you really want to help your gut and alkaline your system, for fruits only use only berries, lemon, or green apples. Others are too acidic. The best vegetables to include are the leafy greens like spinach, kale, and even wheatgrass.

Other Additions to Create a Delicious, Effective Smoothie

Sure you can add ice cream, candied pecans, or sweetened fruit juice—but that defeats the purpose of keeping it “healthy.” If your intent is to make a berry smoothie work to your tummy’s advantage, then there are other items you can add that are more beneficial. Some are:

  • Protein powder made from a pea protein base; no whey or soy; no artificial sweeteners or sugar added. Stevia is a natural sweetener that is OK if added in small amounts
  • Greens powder supplement; same rules apply in the ingredients as in the protein powder
  • Seeds: Chia, flaxseed, millet, pepita (pumpkin)
  • Good fats: peanut or almond butter, avocado
  • Liquids: Almond or coconut milk, water, lemon juice (to detoxify and as a diuretic)
  • Yogurt, Greek or a probiotic powder

Putting Your Berry Smoothie Together

Making smoothies with berries and incorporating some of the above ingredients will add protein and Omega 3s. Fresh fruits and veggies are easily digestible, allowing your metabolism to soar. Adding yogurt gives the drink a great texture and also provides probiotics, which aid in digestion. Here are some recipe ideas:

#1- 1 cup Strawberries, ½ cup almond milk, 1 tbsp. Flaxseed oil, 1 ½ scoops vanilla pea-protein powder, handful of spinach, 2 basil leaves, squeeze of lemon juice, 4 ice cubes, and blend

#2- ½ cup Acai berry puree, ½ cup coconut milk, 1 tbsp. grapeseed oil, 1 ½ scoops chocolate pea-protein powder, a pinch of chia seeds, a handful of kale; a squeeze of lemon juice, 4 ice cubes, and blend

#3- 1 1/2 cup mixed blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, 2 tblsp. Plain Greek yogurt, dash of cinnamon, 2 sprigs mint, 1 ½ scoops of pea-protein powder, 1 tablsp. Almond butter, ½ cup almond milk, 4 ice cubes and blend.

As you can see, you can mix and match a wealth of healthy ingredients to make your alkaline berry smoothie. Try having two each day and then eat fish or lean meats and other veggies at your sit-down meal of the day. In no time, your gut will thank you. For other healthy food tips, check out www.GetThrive.com