SEEDS AND GREENS

ADD SEEDS TO YOUR DIET

Seeds have made their way into mainstream health foods like salads and grain dishes, and rightfully so. Seeds like flax, chia, hemp, sesame, and pumpkin are superstars of nutrition. They’re rich sources of fiber, protein, and antioxidants, and each one comes with unique properties and benefits. Take, for instance, flax, chia, and hemp, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, one reason they’re so beneficial for vegetarians and vegans. And while flaxseed may lower blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce cancer risk, chia seeds are effective at cutting your risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, sesame seeds can help reduce inflammation in your body and cut oxidative stress, while pumpkin seeds can aid heart health.

That’s why it’s best to eat a variety of seeds, adding them to at least one meal a day. Try, for instance, making a breakfast pudding with chia seeds: soak 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in your favorite non-dairy milk for a few minutes before adding 1/3 cup of rolled oats and 1 tablespoon of cacao nibs; place in the fridge overnight and enjoy the two-serving breakfast in the morning, sweetening with maple syrup. You can also toss flaxseed in your salad. One note about flaxseed: the outer shell of the seed is hard to digest, which is why it’s best to grind flaxseeds before using them. Just don’t grind too many at once, as they will go rancid over time, and make sure to store them in a fridge.

SIP YOUR GREENS

Juicing is all the rage in healthy eating these days, but among them, green juices go to the top of the nutrient-packed list. Green juices are usually loaded with spinach or kale, celery, cucumber, spirulina, and parsley, and these foods are powerhouses in terms of nutrition for your skin (and your whole body, of course). For instance, the omega fatty acids in spinach can create healthy, glowing skin, while cucumbers and celery increase hydration in the skin.

Many skincare experts recommend drinking at least one green juice a day for glowing skin, and it’s wise advice, especially if you’re struggling to eat the greens (or any fruits and veggies, for that matter) you need. One note: juicing strips the fiber from fruits and veggies, so you’ll be missing that valuable nutrient.

Also, beware of the green juices you can buy in bottles on store shelves. A recent report from Consumer Reports revealed that many of these drinks are high in sodium and sugar and don’t actually contain many vegetables. If you do want to buy a green juice, check to be sure that it contains lots of veggies, little fruit juice, and as little sugar and sodium as possible.

Better yet, make your own at home so you can control what goes into it. Blend 2 cups chopped spinach, 1 apple (core and chop first), 1 stalk celery, fresh lime or lemon juice to taste, and 3/4 cup water. Enjoy!

6 comments

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