As veganism continues to flourish in India, the awareness around animal-free nutrient sources has also risen tremendously. Even a simple search on the internet throws up innumerable vegan options for those following this compassionate lifestyle. Companies too have come to the rescue of vegans looking for good alternatives to animal-based produce.
However, while leading a lifestyle completely devoid of animal-based products, vegans have to make extra efforts to get all essential nutrients and have a balanced diet. In order to avoid deficiencies, experts often recommend introducing seeds in a vegan diet. Small but powerful, seeds are tiny superfoods that are capable of providing vegans with crucial proteins, fibre, and good fats. Be it chia, pumpkin or flax, each type of seed offers its unique benefits. These crunchy and delicious foods are pumped with nutrients. Every vegan must incorporate a variety of seeds in their diet to maintain optimal health.
NUTRIENTS IN SEEDS
Seeds are an excellent source of essential fats. Seeds such as flax and hemp top the charts when it comes to Omega-3 fatty acids. This fat is pivotal in maintaining a healthy heart and brain but our body is incapable of producing it on its own. Omega-3s are important for proper functioning of heart, blood vessels, lungs, immune system, and endocrine system. Seeds also hold healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats to regulate blood cholesterol.
Seeds are loaded with proteins and amino acids. Pumpkin and hemp seeds contain maximum protein with 28.8g and 31.6g of protein per 100g of seeds.
Seeds are one of the most potent sources of plant-based fibre. Fibre helps in controlling blood sugar levels, cholesterols, boosts bowel movement, and also assists in weight management.
Seeds offer amazing antioxidant properties that help boost immunity. Flax seeds come at the top in the antioxidants scale.
Seeds are fully packed with plenty of nutrients and vitamins. They contain healthy doses of magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, copper, vitamin B, vitamin K, and much more. All these nutrients support health on multiple levels.
NUTRITIONAL SEEDS FOR VEGANS
Flax seeds or linseeds are one of the best go-to foods for vegans if they want to nourish their bodies. Flax seeds are rich in gut-strengthening fibre, Omega-3 fats, potassium, and proteins. The Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA) in these seeds reduces inflammation associated with asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart diseases. It also prevents the formation of cancer cells and reduces blood cholesterol. One can blend these seeds in smoothies, sprinkle on salads, or even eat them raw to get all the benefits.
Native to Mexico, Chia seeds have emerged as superfood loaded with nutrients. Similar to flax seeds, Chia contains healthy fibre, proteins, Omega-3 and promotes cardiovascular health. 28g of Chia holds a whopping 11g of fibre.
Chia seeds are rich in calcium, and thus, are an incredible addition to vegan diet. When soaked, they tend to double their size, and can be used to make different types of pudding with plant-based milk. They can also be added directly to smoothies and shakes.
The kernels inside the sunflower are full of protein and Vitamin E. They act as an antioxidant for our bodies, maintaining the strength of cellular membranes. Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin B-6 and Thiamine, which are both essential for a healthy metabolism.
These seeds are rich in Omega-6 fats, manganese, and magnesium, and help reduce cholesterol and inflammation. Sunflower seeds are delicious when eaten raw, blended in smoothies, and topped on breads.
Hemp seeds are protein-rich seeds containing all the essential amino acids. Containing magnesium, Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids, every 30g of hemp seed serving contains 10g protein and 1% fibre. The quality of protein in hemp seeds is also better than many other seeds. Hence, hemp seeds are both delectable and nutritious. They have a smooth and nutty flavour that is ideal for making smoothies, yogurt, and salads.
Green-coloured Pumpkin seeds or pepitas are abundant with vitamin K, iron, phosphorus, manganese, and iron. These seeds provide exceptional doses of iron. They are ideal for vegans who do not get enough iron from animal products. 28g of Pumpkin seeds contain 7g protein, 6g of Omega-6 fats, and 1.7g of fibre. They reduce the risk of breast cancer, bladder stones, and urinary disorders as well. Make your smoothies, puddings, and sauces healthier by adding a spoonful of pepitas.
Plant and fruit seeds impart tonnes of health benefits. These nutrient-dense seeds provide vegans a simple and easy way to maintain their health, while also saving animals and environment. So, what are you waiting for? Infuse your diet with these healthy seeds and make your vegan meals wholesome!