Seeds and nuts are often referred to as the ultimate “super foods” because they contain nutrients, protein and “good” fat. Seeds are also antioxidant-rich and satisfy your appetite. People with diabetes should add seeds in small amounts to their daily diet because they are delicious, nutritious and conveniently portable.
- Seeds are an easy way to add protein, fat and nutrients to your diet. They are a leading source of energy to keep you going all day without the highs and lows people get from sugary snacks. Seeds are also portable so you can carry them as a quick snack on-the-go.
- Flavorful flax seeds help combat high cholesterol and coronary artery disease, two common concerns for people with diabetes. They can be used to reduce inflammation and minimize the symptoms of many gastrointestinal conditions. There is evidence that adding flax seeds can help people shed pounds and improve a kidney infection. These seeds may also protect against cancer and arthritis because of the way the body breaks them down. Flaxseed oil is used externally for inflammation, eczema and boils.
- Flax seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber and protein. Flaxseed meal is easier to digest and absorb than the seeds themselves. Use flaxseed meal in breads and muffins for a nutty taste. Flax seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder to make fresh meal, which should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Grinding it as you need it keeps the oils more fresh and potent. Sprinkle flaxseed meal over any finished dish for a slightly nutty flavor and use it to thicken stew or soup or sprinkle on a salad.
- Pumpkin seeds have heart-healthy fat along with plenty of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K and zinc. They also make you feel fuller longer so they are a great snack to fuel your day. The magnesium in pumpkin seeds helps fight high blood pressure and may aid in the prevention of diabetes. Iron and manganese help combat the inflammation associated with diabetes. These seeds are rich in antioxidants to flush out toxins. Pumpkin seeds also contain protein and carbohydrates to build muscles and provide energy for your body.
- You can nosh on pumpkin seeds raw but most people prefer them roasted. They are easy to roast in the oven, microwave or skillet with a bit of olive oil and garlic or onion powder for flavor. You can add pumpkin seeds to granola, salads and fresh vegetables for a delightful crunch. Pumpkin seed oil is often used in salad dressing with other healthy oils such as olive oil. Pumpkin seed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation and fight chronic health conditions such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. This nutty oil can also be used as a garnish over vegetable stir fry dishes. Remember all oils even healthy ones contain calories since they are a fat.
- Chia seeds are not just used for “Chia Pets” anymore. In fact, they have a long history for use as a medicinal herb in Mexico. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids to combat heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. They also contain dietary fiber and protein to energize your body throughout the day.
- Whole chia seeds are used in soups, granola and salads. They can also be ground or soaked to include in casseroles, baked goods and eggs. They are great in vegetable casseroles, smoothies and ground meat dishes. Chia seeds have a thickening effect so they might not work well in foods that need a thin consistency such as broth. Raw dry chia seeds absorb up to seven times their weight in water. This can lead to dehydration, a dangerous condition for people with diabetes. Always drink plenty of water when you nibble on dry chia seeds and test your blood sugar regularly.
- Other seeds to include in your diet are sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Make sure to also nibble on nuts such as almonds, pecans and hazelnuts. Have them as an afternoon snack to boost your energy or add them to smoothies, oatmeal and low carb pasta dishes. Moderation is needed since all these foods are high in calories.
One of the best ways to boost your health is to include seeds and nuts in your daily diet. They are tasty and easy to eat anytime of the day or evening. Adding seeds to meals is a simple way to ensure you enjoy a myriad of body benefits every day.