Superfoods are gaining more popularity among Indians; they have good concentrations of micronutrients and are essential nutrients dense. In addition to micronutrients, they are good sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids with GLA (gamma–linolenic acid) that builds anti-inflammatory hormones.

How Do We Use These Super Seeds?

This easy seed mix can be sprinkled on yogurt, any meal or smoothies or can even be consumed in sandwiches, oatmeal or any porridge.

Some of the most commonly used super seeds in India are:

  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Kalonji seeds

Flax Seeds:

Flax Seeds

They are crispy, nutty-flavored seeds, which are versatile and enhance the taste of any recipe to which they are added. They contain good amounts of micronutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, iron, folate, selenium, etc. They are also a good source of copper.

They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid) which is an essential fatty acid that can be supplied only through diet and is important for heart health.

Flax seeds are fibre packed and hence aid in good bowel movement, improved digestion, lowered cholesterol levels and stabilized sugar levels.

The recommended dosage is only 10 gm/day/person.

Hemp Seeds:

Hemp Seeds

These seeds are good sources of magnesium, iron and potassium. They are good for heart-healthy eating. The recommended dosage is 10–15 gm/day/person. They blend very well with porridges and smoothies.

Pumpkin Seeds:

Pumpkin Seeds

These seeds are good sources of vitamin K, magnesium and zinc and help in boosting the immune system. They are also an excellent source of phosphorus.

They improve antioxidant activity, boost metabolism, are a good source of plant protein, reduce bad cholesterol and prevent kidney stones. Pumpkin seed is also addressed as male seed because it helps prevent prostate problems. Recommended allowance is 10 gm/day/person.

Chia Seeds:

Chia Seeds

We should soak these seeds and use them; the recommended allowance is 20 gm/day/person. Speaking about the nutritional benefits, they are rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids which are heart-healthy. High in fibre, chia seeds help in reducing sugar spikes. They have a good amount of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium and phosphorus and smaller amounts of vitamin A and copper. To make it very simple, they are loaded with abundant nutrients.

Kalonji Seeds:

They are also known as Nigella sativa (black seed or black cumin).

Kalonji Seeds

They have anti-cancer, antimicrobial, analgesic, antipyretic, birth control, anti-oxytocic, cough suppressing, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

They also have anti-cancer activity for blood, breast, colon, pancreatic, liver, lung, fibro sarcoma, prostate and cervix cancer cell lines.

They inhibit the growth of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, viruses, parasites, Schistosoma and fungi pathogens.

They are effective in alleviating the signs of hypertension, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, asthma, convulsion and natural and chemical toxicities. They prevent disorders, including neurobehavioral, kidney and liver disorders and morbidity conditions in humans.

Recommendation: 1 teaspoon of black seeds twice every day.

Special Note:

Omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fats - the body can’t make them from scratch and has to get them from food; these super seeds are rich in these healthy fats. They are excellent sources of nutrients for vegetarians.

Ms. Yamini Gali, MSc., RD,

Ms. Yamini Gali, MSc., RD,
Lead – Clinical Dietician,
Kauvery Hospital Chennai

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