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Top 5 Seeds for Weight Loss and How to Incorporate Them
Tiny Powerhouse of Nutrients: Seeds
Think of the crunchy texture in foods with a nutty flavour, and we are instantly reminded of seeds-the tiny powerhouses of nutrients. Though small in size, seeds can enhance the flavour and texture of foods like cereals, snacks, salads and even curries and gravies.
All seeds are healthy for you, and there are ample studies that talk about the heart health and gastric benefits of seeds. However, it is important to consume them unprocessed or toasted to get the maximum benefit from them.
If you have heard that seeds help you lose weight, you are surely not alone! Let’s understand more about seeds and if they help you lose weight in this blog!
Nutrients Present in Seeds
Seeds are a rich source of plant-based nutrients that offer several health benefits. Most seeds contain the following nutrients:
- Healthy fats
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, and E
- Minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc
A few health benefits of seeds include:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Help maintain weight
- Reduce the risk of diabetes
Remember: These weight loss benefits of seeds are only possible when seeds are eaten unprocessed or in a low-calorie diet. Combining seeds with other high-caloric food groups like carbohydrates and unhealthy fats cannot help you lose weight.
Top 5 Seeds For Weight Loss
Seeds are good for your health- that’s established! Now let’s see which seeds can aid weight loss.
Here are the top 5 seeds that can help limit your calorie intake and enable weight loss (provided you follow a low-calorie diet recommended by your nutritionist):
1) Flax Seeds
Derived from the flax plant, flax seeds are loaded with fibre, protein, potassium lignans ( a type of antioxidant) and omega-3 fatty acids (like alpha-linolenic acid).
These seeds offer several health benefits due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Due to these properties, flax seeds are great for your heart, vascular system, and gastrointestinal health.
Few studies and clinical trials state that the consumption of flax seeds may reduce weight, fasting blood glucose and triglyceride levels. But, additional research is needed to prove these claims conclusively.
2) Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are considered superfoods and are an excellent plant-based source of alpha-linolenic acid ( a type of omega-3 fatty acid).
This makes chia seeds a great alternative for vegans and vegetarians. Like flax seeds, chia seeds are loaded with fibre, protein, calcium, phosphorous and zinc.
Some early studies state that chia seed consumption may help in weight loss– thanks to their high fibre content. However, more data is required to conclusively prove the weight loss and insulin-sensitivity-improving properties of these tiny wonder seeds.
3) Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a rich storehouse of fatty acids, phytosterols, antioxidants like carotenoids and tocopherol and minerals like zinc and selenium in traces.
These seeds offer several health benefits, for e.g., the pumpkin seed oil is used to prevent the progression of arthritis, and eating the seeds is said to lower hypercholesterolemia etc. Zinc in pumpkin seeds also helps boost immunity.
You could try and replace unhealthy or fatty snacks with nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds. This helps reduced caloric consumption and subsequently causes weight loss.
4) Sunflower Seeds
Like other seeds, sunflower seeds also have a good amount of minerals, vitamins B and E and selenium. The antioxidant content of sunflower seeds helps protect the body cells from the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and some cancer types.
A few studies on sunflower seeds state that they may help reduce weight and improve lipid profile and overall fat mass. However, more research is required to prove the weight loss benefits of sunflower seeds.
5) Sesame Seeds
Tiny seeds with oodles of flavour, sesame seeds have been used in India for thousands of years and for a good reason. They are a rich source of fibre and nutritious plant protein and help lower cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels.
While eating sesame seeds is considered healthy for many body systems, its effect on weight loss and body composition has not been conclusively proven yet.
Healthy Ways to Incorporate Seeds in Your Diet
The healthiest way to incorporate seeds is by eating them unprocessed. However, if you are unable to enjoy the raw taste of seeds, here are a few ways to incorporate them into your diet:
- In bhaji, vegetables and gravies
- In dry chutneys with garlic (Flax seed chutney, sesame seed chutney, etc)
- As part of tahini
- Eating a tablespoon of unprocessed flax seeds or with other nuts and seeds during snack time offers several health benefits
- Pumpkin seeds can be eaten right off the shelf or added to bhaji or salads as per your liking
- Roasted and spiced pumpkin seeds make for a great snack and prevent you from munching on unhealthy foods when hunger strikes mid-day
- Sesame seeds are versatile as they can be eaten raw, baked or toasted to bring out their nutty flavour.
Being overweight or obese is harmful to your health. Regardless of your age and gender, you must try to maintain your body weight within the normal limits to prevent the development of chronic diseases like hypertension, type 2 diabetes and liver diseases.
While seeds are a great addition to your diet, you must understand that just consuming seeds or adding them to your morning cereals cannot help you lose weight.
They are a good source of nutrients and can prevent excessive caloric intake when consumed as a healthy alternative to unhealthy snacks like chaklis and other fried foods.
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