For years flax had been the golden child of the seed world: rich in omega-3’s and lignans (a powerful phytonutrient) we were told to grind them up, sprinkle them on oatmeal, bake them into muffins and even add them to meatloaf. Studies even showed that flax could help ward off heart disease, ease depression and add the beneficial components to our diet that our own bodies cannot make itself.
But flax was never alone. Very little attention had been paid to some other seeds, such as chia and hemp, that are actually higher in nutrients and just as beneficial.
It could be due to their odd reputations.
The tiny chia seeds earned their claim to fame as the famous house pet of the seventies (remember Chia Pets?). Even though most people back then never considered actually eating the seeds, chia has been grown and harvested for centuries. Compared to the nutty taste of flax seeds, chia has a very mild flavor and becomes very gelatinous when mixed with liquids, making them a perfect addition to smoothies and puddings. Chia is a true power food, complete with 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber and 2 grams of omega-3’s in only one tablespoon.
Now, let’s get one thing straight about hemp seeds. Hemp is not the same as marijuana seeds. Hemp has been grown around the world for its high fiber, protein and fat benefits, marijuana for its..well you know the rest. Hemp has the lowest ratio of omega 3’s to omega 6’s, 3:1 to be exact, a ratio of these two types of fats we should all be striving for. Hemp has a nutty, sunflower like taste and is delicious added to salads, ground into nut butters or even eaten raw.
Curious to try the new seeds? Check out my recipe for Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding then let me know what you think about using these powerhouse foods in the comments below.