Other nuts to consider incorporating – Pine nuts, Pistachios, Pecans, Hazelnuts, Brazil, and Macadamia. All of these nuts offer similar qualities as the others and a variety of nuts in the diet will bring a variety of nutrients and benefits. Storage is also similar for all nuts.
Pumpkin Seeds – I love putting pumpkin seeds in salads to give a nice gentle crunch. They took the place of croutons in my salads. They may be called pepitos. As with all nuts and seeds I recommend eating them raw or lightly toasted or roasted. They supply phosphorous, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc, copper vitamin A, B1, B2 B3, protein monounsaturated fat and phytosterols. They may be of particular interest to the men in your life as they have been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of prostate cancer.
Sesame Seeds – This tiny little seed is packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy fat, protein and fiber. They are low in carbohydrates and free of cholesterol. They are also high in calcium. The high lignan content of sesame seeds provides fantastic antioxidant properties. These lignans enhance vitamin E absorption and availability. They also have been shown to enhance the burning of fat, normalize blood pressure and improve lipid profiles. Sesame seeds also rank highest in reducing cholesterol.
Sesame seeds are used to make tahini which is great to use as a vegetable dip or spread.
Sunflower seeds – We most often think of sunflower seeds as a snack in their shell and cracked with the teeth, making them somewhat of an event to eat. They are great to be used as additions to salads and vegetables and Sunflower seed butter (Sunbutter) can be a great nutritional alternative to peanut butter.
Like other nuts and seeds they are a great source of protein, vitamin E, magnesium, selenium, vitamins B1, B5, B6, phosphorous, copper, iron, folic acid, and fiber. Sprinkle away!!
Flaxseeds – Powerhouse flaxseeds are a great source of the omega-3 fatty acid (ALA) and lignans. They also provide significant amounts of fiber, magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, iron, and copper.
Flax seeds should be stored in refrigerator and are best purchased whole and ground when ready to use. Put them in smoothies, in salads, in dishes like vegetables and soups.
Hemp seeds – I absolutely love hemp seeds and use them in my smoothies and salads on a regular basis. They can be added to omelets, soups, yogurt, and oatmeal. They are a wonderful source of plant protein, have a mild pleasant taste with just a bit of a crunch. They contain omega-3 and GLA (a healthy essential fatty acid). Try hemp seeds, I think you will like them.
Chia Seeds – You can’t help but think of the Chia Pet when you hear Chia! But these seeds are such a healthy addition to the diet. The Aztec and Myan people revered chia seeds vital for nourishment. They are also full of omega-e, protein, antioxidants and fiber. Put them in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, or even baked goods. Another great use for chia seeds is in hydrating for athletic performance. When soaked they swell up and make a gel. They are hydrophilic, meaning that they hold about 10 times their weight of water. This also happens in the stomach if they are eaten raw, so they help hydrate the athlete without them having to drink an overabundance of water.
In summary, don’t be afraid of the fat and calories in nuts and seeds. Eat them in moderation, and preferably raw. They provide vital nutrients and satiety making them ideal for weight control despite their caloric content. The fat in nuts and seeds is healthy and should be embraced! Skip the sugar and processed fat and keep the nuts and seeds.