Food Science

Seeds to Snack on to Help You Lose Weight

In your weight loss journey, you have probably come across foods like yogurt, fruit, leafy greens, whole eggs, and salmon that can help you lose weight. But not many know about the benefits of seeds in terms of weight loss. If you think about it, seeds should be full of nutritious vitamins and minerals. After all, they have everything needed to create a new plant. Like eggs, seeds hold the key to a new life. They, therefore, have nutrients like fiber, protein, and unsaturated fatty acids.

For these reasons, seeds offer several health benefits. Not only are they healthy sources of essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, but they also can help with your weight loss.

Flax Seeds

It has only been in recent times that flax seeds have been labeled as a superfood and for a good reason. First, flax seeds are packed with many essential nutrients. One tablespoon of these brown or golden seeds provides 37 calories, 2 grams of carbs, and 1.3 grams of protein. The seeds also have different types of healthy fat, as well as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B1 and B6.

The high omega-3 fatty acid content decreases the risk of heart disease and tumor growth. Many studies show that those who eat high amounts of omega-3 have a lower risk of heart disease.

Flax seeds are also high in fiber content, and one tablespoon has up to three grams of fiber. The soluble fiber helps improve the consistency of the contents of your intestine, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. Keeping good digestive health is essential in any weight loss plan.

Another benefit of flax seeds in connection with weight loss is that the seeds can curb hunger, which can help with weight control. In one study, adding 2.5 grams of ground flax seed extract to a beverage increased satiety and lowered appetite.

Quinoa Seeds

Quinoa seeds are often mistaken for quinoa, which is a grain crop. The crop is grown for its edible seeds that have been part of the diet of South Americans for thousands of years. There are three main types of quinoa seed, namely white, black, and red. In terms of nutrition, one cup of cooked quinoa offers eight grams of protein, five grams fiber, and up to 58 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for manganese. The seed also has folate, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.

The unique thing about quinoa is that it’s gluten-free. With one-third of people in the US avoiding gluten, quinoa is a safe alternative. Compared to other grains, quinoa has a very high fiber content that ranges from 10–16 grams of fiber per 100 grams. The type of fiber is soluble fiber, which is known to aid in lowering blood sugar levels and improving satiety.

Another advantage of quinoa seeds is its low glycemic index. Foods with a low glycemic index keep you full for longer and can contribute to weight loss. The seed is also valuable in promoting good metabolic health. One study showed that substituting gluten-free bread and pasta with quinoa reduced blood sugar, insulin, and triglyceride levels in participants. Combining the high protein content, increased metabolism, and decreased appetite possible with quinoa consumption, it’s a weight-loss-friendly seed.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are another excellent example of a healthy food that may be small is loaded with wholesome goodness. An interesting fact about the seeds is that the name “chia” is an ancient Mayan word meaning “strength.” The size of the seeds may appear unimpressive, but they pack a powerful nutritional punch. One ounce of chia seeds has 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 30 percent of the RDA for magnesium and manganese.

If you’re on a low-carb diet, you’ll be happy to know that 11 out of the 12 grams of carbs in an ounce of chia seeds are fiber. This fiber isn’t digested by your body, which means it doesn’t cause a rise in blood sugar levels. The high soluble fiber content increases fullness and makes you eat fewer calories during the day.

Chia seeds are also high in protein compared to other plants, and we all know how important protein is for weight loss. High protein intake is associated with reduced snacking and can be the key to curb your cravings.

Studies show that the high protein and fiber content of chia seeds can promote weight loss. A study conducted on people with type 2 diabetes showed that, within six months, those who included chia seeds in their diet had more significant weight loss.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are from the hemp plant, which is from the same species as marijuana. But don’t worry, hemp seeds are legal and won’t get you addicted. Rich in healthy fat, hemp seeds contain over 30 percent fats, including omega-6, omega-3, and gamma-linolenic acid. These seeds are also a good source of protein. They have high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, sodium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Since hemp seeds are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, they’re great for digestive health. Insoluble fiber helps food and waste pass through your gut, while soluble fiber feeds good bacteria. But, only whole hemp seeds are high in fiber, and once you shell the seeds, the fiber content is close to zero.

Up to 25% of the calories in hemp seeds are from protein, and by weight, these seeds have close amounts of protein as beef or lamb. As a good source of protein, hemp seeds are also rich in essential amino acids that your body cannot produce alone.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are probably one of the better-known seeds that are popular in trail mixes, nutrition bars, and bread. The edible sunflower seeds are different from the seeds used for oil and are identifiable by their black and white shells. Sunflower seeds are particularly high in vitamin E and selenium, which are essential antioxidants that protect your cells from free radicals.

A few studies have also examined the effects of sunflower seeds on blood sugar. In one study, people who ate 30 grams of sunflower seeds daily reduced fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10 percent within six months. This blood sugar lowering effect is possible due to the compound called chlorogenic acid.

Since sunflower seeds are also rich in unsaturated fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid, they can help reduce cholesterol levels. Participants in a 3-week study noted up to a 12 percent decrease in bad cholesterol while eating sunflower seeds in their diet. If you are on a diet, lowering your cholesterol levels could make or break your success.

Sesame Seeds

These tiny oil-rich seeds grow on the pods of the Sesamum indicum plant. The seeds are golden brown and have been used for centuries in folk medicine. One of the fantastic things about sesame seeds is they have a very high fiber content. Three tablespoons of the seeds provide 3.5 grams of fiber, which is about 12 percent of the RDA. Increasing your fiber intake can have a positive effect on digestive health and even reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes.

Several studies also show that including sesame seeds in your diet may help lower the high cholesterol levels in your blood. This benefit is because sesame seeds have high amounts of good fat that lower cholesterol. In one study, 38 people with high cholesterol consumed five tablespoons of sesame seeds daily for two months. At the end of the trial, they had a ten percent reduction in bad LDL cholesterol and an eight percent reduction in triglycerides.

The high selenium content in sesame seeds also makes them an excellent choice for weight loss. Selenium is necessary to keep the proper act of the thyroid gland, which handles producing hormones.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are usually forgotten as people focus on the benefits of the pumpkin itself. Also known as pepita, these hard white seeds are abound with nutrients. One ounce of pumpkin seeds has 1.7 grams fiber, 5 grams of carbs, and 7 of grams protein and, not to mention, other essential vitamins like vitamin K, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and copper.

If you’re struggling to control your blood sugar levels, pumpkin seeds might just be the answer. Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium, which is necessary for many body functions, including blood sugar regulation. In one study involving over 127,000 people, those who followed high magnesium diets had a 33 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Another unique health benefit of pumpkin seeds is their ability to improve sleep. The seeds contain a compound called tryptophan, which is known as a good sleep inducer. Getting enough sleep can significantly influence your hunger and stress hormones, which play an essential role in weight loss.

Watercress Seeds

Watercress is a leafy green that is loaded with nutritional value. A single cup of the leafy greens has carbs, protein, vitamins A, C and K, manganese, and calcium. The health benefits of watercress include its high antioxidant content, nitrates that improve blood vessel health, and vitamin K that can prevent osteoporosis.

Watercress seeds are less popular but offer the same nutritional value as the plant, and many consider watercress seeds to be “nature’s potent iron capsules.”

Muskmelon Seeds

Melons are a favorite during the summer because of their high water content, but we often throw away their seeds. The seeds of muskmelon are perfect for your health. Before you can enjoy the seeds, you’ll have to separate them from the fruit, wash them, and let them sundry.

Muskmelon seeds are high in protein, having about 3.6 percent protein. The seeds are also rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which may help improve your vision. The seeds also help with insulin secretion, which may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Rich in omega-three fatty acids, muskmelon seeds are an excellent solution to improve your heart health.

In terms of weight loss, the seeds are high in fiber, so snacking on these seeds during the day may make you eat less and stay full for longer. Interestingly, muskmelon seeds can also act as a deworming agent in your intestinal tract, getting rid of all the harmful worms.

Watermelon Seeds

Much like muskmelon seeds, you may not want to throw your watermelon seeds out, as they contain a lot of valuable nutrients. Watermelons are rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and E and also have lycopene. But watermelon seeds are also packed with nutrition and have very low-calorie content. These seeds are rich in magnesium, iron, and folate, which are micronutrients crucial to your health,

According to the USDA, 100 grams of watermelon seeds gives you 28 grams of protein and reasonable amounts of calcium, potassium, and zinc. The combination of its high protein content and its high fiber content makes pumpkin seeds a weight-loss fast food.

Watermelon seeds are also good sources of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats are essential in lowering harmful cholesterol levels and increasing healthy HDL cholesterol in the body. The high magnesium content in the seeds is also critical for nerve and muscle function and contributes to robust bone health.

Wild Rice

Wild rice is a grass seed considered a whole grain that’s nutritious and has many health benefits. One hundred grams of cooked wild rice has up to 4 grams of protein, 21 grams of carbs, and only 101 calories. It’s also rich in vitamin B6, phosphorus, folate, magnesium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Compared to other grains, wild rice has a very high protein content and is a ‘complete’ protein source. This means it has all nine crucial amino acids. The seed also has a high fiber content, which increases satiety and reduces appetite.

Like other whole grains, wild rice can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 30 percent. Researchers propose eating at least two servings of whole grains a day to get the full benefits of wild rice. Another advantage of wild rice is it has a low glycemic index similar to that of oats, which makes it a good option for those with high blood sugar.

Pomegranate Seeds

The red seeds of pomegranates are called arils, and they have the sweet nectar that surrounds a white seed. One of the challenges of eating pomegranates is getting rid of the seeds. The good news is you may not have to spit out the seeds after all.

Pomegranate seeds have antioxidants that protect the body from inflammation. Also, the seeds are low in calorie content, which makes them an ideal snack for anyone watching their weight. In terms of nutrients, pomegranate seeds have vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

Since the seeds are rich in dietary nitrates, they can also help with exercise performance. One study of 19 athletes showed that a gram of pomegranate extract taken 30 minutes before exercise enhanced blood flow and increased efficiency.

The high nutritional value of the seeds is the reason behind their fantastic health benefits. In one study, there was a connection between consuming five ounces of pomegranate juice daily and lowered blood pressure.

Pine Nuts

Pine nuts come from the cones of pine trees that are rich in a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Although the nuts are quite high in fat, they can help with your weight loss efforts. This is because they have pinolenic acid. This compound is an excellent appetite suppressant that can help keep hunger at bay and lower your calorie consumption.

Pine nuts are also rich in iron, and one ounce has up to three milligrams of iron. If you’re on a vegetarian diet, these nuts can be an excellent alternative source of iron. Other health benefits of pine nuts include their high monounsaturated fat content, which lowers LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol in the blood. The nuts also have anti-aging qualities and are part of the MIND diet that helps reduce the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds are tiny seeds derived from the poppy plant. The seeds are nutty in taste and often used as a condiment in cooking. According to the USDA, 100 grams of poppy seeds have 19.5 grams of dietary fiber, 17 grams of protein, and carbs. They’re also rich in vitamins, including folate, niacin, thiamin, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.

Poppy seeds are especially rich in oleic and linoleic acids, which are both monounsaturated fats that lower LDL levels while increasing HDL levels. The seeds also have a high fiber content, which may bind to bile salts and further reduce LDL levels. B complex vitamins like niacin and folic acids are essential in metabolism and are abundant in these tiny seeds. The seeds also enhance digestion because of their high insoluble fiber content.

Added health benefits of poppy seeds include lowering the risk of diabetes, cancer prevention, improved heart health, better immune system, better brain health, higher energy levels, and stronger bones.

Losing Weight with Nuts

When it comes to weight loss, every step counts. Of course, you want to start with the significant life changes like removing sugar from your diet, lowering your carb intake. and incorporating healthy fats, but this isn’t enough.

For your body to be in the best condition to burn fat and reach your weight loss goals, it needs all the vitamins and nutrients you can have. Seeds have many of these nutrients. So if you haven’t already begun, start adding these healthy seeds into your diet.

Seeds are excellent sources of protein and fiber, which make them a satisfying snack that may help control your cravings. Small as they are, seeds have essential vitamins, and minerals, some of which you may not find anywhere else.

Incorporating seeds into your diet is relatively easy, considering their mild, neutral taste. Many prefer to add them to shakes and smoothies, while others use them as toppings on pasta and pizzas. Whichever approach you choose, don’t take these seeds for granted.

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