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Did You Know About These Super Seeds?

As small as they may be, some seeds hold a vast array of vitamins and minerals, and are literally bursting with nutrients! So let us go discover two super seeds: chia and hemp.

Chia seeds

For several years now, these small seeds have been well-known in Latin America, and they are now gaining popularity in Canada. They can be light or dark brown with a rather neutral flavour, which makes them a perfect ingredient to add in many of your dishes.

They contain a significant quantity of dietary fibre, which helps you feel satisfied quickly and gives you better control over your hunger. One tablespoon a day provides as much fibre as one cup of broccoli or ¾ cup of whole wheat pasta, and even more omega-3 fats. But beware! These omega-3 are from plant sources, and are therefore harder to assimilate than those from fish sources! Varying your sources of omega-3 is a good idea to ensure an adequate intake. Chia seeds are also a source of iron, vitamin C, and calcium. You better eat them sparingly though, as 1 tablespoon contains as much fat as 1 teaspoon of oil!

Whether you sprinkle them on your favourite yogurt, use them to add a crunchy touch to your salads, or incorporate them into your morning pancake recipe, chia seeds are incredibly versatile! Try the two recipes below and you will see how much time they can save you. Indeed, one of their characteristics is that they absorb water and puff up into a gel (because of their high soluble fibre content), a property than can be harnessed to thicken dishes.

Vanilla chia pudding (in French only. Recipe from the blog of Alexandra Leduc, nutritionist)

Uncooked jam (in French only. Recipe from the web site Cuisine futée Parents pressés)

Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds that are used for human consumption are not of the same variety as the plant that is used as a drug. Let me reassure you: you will not feel any effects from THC whatsoever (tetrahydrocannabinol) from eating them! Their texture is softer than that of chia seeds, and they present a flavour similar to hazelnuts.

Hemp seeds contain twice as much fat as chia seeds, but they also contain much more protein than the latter, as well as when compared to other seeds such as flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds, which makes them the champion of seeds in this regard. Despite the fact that their amino acids profile is incomplete, they fit well into a balanced nutrition. Vary your protein sources (meat, poultry, fish, seafood, cheese, tofu, legumes, nuts), and you will ensure that you get an adequate supply of amino acids to meet your requirements. Just like chia and flaxseeds, hemp seeds contain a significant quantity of omega-3 fats. The downside: they can cost up to 10 times as much as flaxseeds. In my opinion, this is a rather high price to pay for somewhat similar benefits.

When cooking, you can add raw chia seeds to smoothies; they will boost their nutritional value while adding precious proteins! They are also a perfect addition to pasta dishes and soups, or they can be eaten by themselves, lightly toasted and seasoned.

By Valérie Noël, P.Dt., Nutritionist

References

Passeport santé. 2014. Quels sont les bienfaits des graines ? Online. <http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Actualites/Dossiers/DossierComplexe.aspx?doc=quels-benefices-graines>. Page viewed on July 28, 2014.
Extenso. 2012. Le chia : la graine miracle ? Online. <http://www.extenso.org/article/le-chia-la-graine-miracle/>. Page viewed on July 28, 2014.
Extenso. 2012. Le chanvre. Online. <http://www.extenso.org/article/le-chanvre/>. Page viewed on July 30, 2014.
Health Canada. 2012. Fichier canadien sur les éléments nutritifs. Online. <http://webprod3.hc-sc.gc.ca/cnf-fce/index-fra.jsp>. Page viewed on July 30, 2014.

Author
Valérie Noël

Holder of a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Université Laval in 2006 and member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec, Valérie has been working as a nutritionist at Nautilus Plus since March 2014. Throughout her career, she has worked in various fields, from hospitals and physical rehabilitation to writing articles and reference documents. However, she has dedicated the majority of her work to food safety and allergies. Curious and versatile… but most of all, passionate about cooking and sports nutrition, she loves giving advice to her clients to help them make the best choices to reach their specific objectives, whatever they may be. Physical activity has always been an important part of her life: recreative and competitive volley-ball, training in the gym, group classes, and also running in the last few years. She also loves the feeling of freedom she gets from it, and would love to surpass herself by running increasingly longer distances during competitions!


Did You Know About These Super Seeds? is a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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