Beyond Flax: Wonder Seeds

Sure, you’re familiar with flax and its health-boosting properties (thanks to loads of fiber, protein, and omega-3s), but what about some of those other exotic-sounding seeds you keep seeing in the grocery store bulk bins? Here’s how they measure up, according to Amy Shapiro, a registered dietitian and founder of Real Nutrition NYC, a nutritional counseling and weight management consulting firm: Reprinted from KIWI Magazine

Hemp Hemp seeds just might be a vegetarian’s dream food—a two-tablespoon serving has 5 grams of complete protein (containing all eight amino acids the body needs) and 880 milligrams of fish-free omega-3s. Hemp’s nutty taste is similar to sunflower seeds, and works well sprinkled in salads, yogurt, and oatmeal. Or, spread hemp seed butter (found at natural foods stores) and jam onto whole grain toast for a twist on PB&J.
Chia Another complete protein that’s loaded with omega-3s (4 grams protein and 5,000 milligrams omega-3s per two tablespoons), chia seeds are also super-high in fiber (6 grams), helping you stay fuller longer. Chia seeds have a neutral flavor and, when mixed with water, form a thick gel that can be used in place of butter or oil in baked goods. To make, combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds with ¼ cup water, and let sit for 30 minutes. In a hurry? Like hemp, they also work well in salads.
Amaranth They’re rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, and folate, plus high in belly-filling fiber (9 grams per ½-cup serving). Amaranth seeds also contain high levels of phytosterols, naturally occurring compounds in plants, which have been shown to lower bad cholesterol. Many mistake nutty-tasting amaranth seeds for a whole grain, since they’re often prepared like them. Cook 1 cup amaranth in 2½ cups water for about 20 minutes, then serve as you would rice or quinoa. Or, try popping like popcorn kernels.