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.
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.
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
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