Seeds: good things come in small packages

FoodFacts knows that seeds, which are often sowed, watered and waited for to reproduce some kind of food, pack a punch of nutrition relative to their size. However, you don’t need to wait for a seed to sprout to get all its nutrition. In just one ounce , seeds provide a good source of unsaturated fats, manganese, phosphorus and other vitamins and minerals. They are also low sodium, cholesterol and saturated fats. Most seeds are incomplete proteins, so mix them with grains, legumes and/or nuts to make complete proteins. Some seeds are also a great source of dietary fiber. Below, we have evaluated 5 seeds that are packed with nutrients, in no particular order.

1. Flaxseeds: We’ve all heard of these little guys. They are an excellent way to get your omega-3′s, widely available, come in seed and oil form. They are a great source of magnesium, (27% DV), Copper (17% DV), and Thiamin (31%). Flaxseed has all 9 essential amino acids in the amounts needed to make a complete protein, which is great for vegans and vegetarians. Crush seeds to get their full nutrient bioavailability.

Nutrition info: 1 oz contains 150 kcals, 12 g fat (6 grams omega-3), 8 grams fiber.

2. Sesame seeds: These seeds are also a great source of vitamins and minerals. They offer 24% of your magnesium, 19% phosphorus, 20% copper, 20% manganese and a whopping 39% selenium! Phytonutrients in these seeds can help aid in blocking cholesterol absorption. Tahini, made mostly from ground sesame seeds is often found in hummus. It is a complimentary protein to chickpeas, making hummus a complete protein. Yum!

Nutrition info: 1 oz of sesame seeds provides 177 kcals, 3 grams fat, 3 grams fiber

3. Sunflower seeds: A great source of Vitamin E, a 1 oz serving of sunflower seeds provides you with 37% of your daily vitamin E requirements! They are also a great source of selenium (32% of your DV), and copper (26%). A handful of sunflower seeds makes a fast and filling snack. Sunflower seed butter on whole wheat toast makes a complete protein; a simple and great snack any time.

Nutrition info: 1 oz has 163 kcals, 14g fat, 3 grams fiber.

4. Lotus Seeds: Lotus seeds are common in Asian cuisines. They can be eaten raw as a snack (with their bitter parts removed and used for medicinal purposes), added to soups or ground up and turned into paste for pastries. A serving size is low in calories and low in fat compared to other seeds, and a good source of nutrients such as Thiamin (12%), and potassium (11%). Add lotus seeds to a soup with legumes for a complete protein.

Nutrition info: 1 oz has 93 calories, 1 g fat.

5. Chia seeds: The very same that are used for Chia Pets are not only great for decorating terracotta figurines, but a great source of nutrition. Chia seeds are another great source of complete protein for vegans and vegetarians. They are also very versatile in cooking, since the seeds don’t impart flavor and absorb liquids to form a gel like consistency. Mix seeds with a milk of your choice to make chia pudding.

Nutrition info: 1 oz serving has 137 kcals, 9 g total fat, 11 grams fiber. It is also a good source of calcium, providing 18% of your daily needs per serving!

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