You may have noticed that I talk about chia, hemp and flax seeds frequently and include them in many of my recipes. I’ve even made sure to include them in our FREE Real Food Shopping List so you know they are very important to keep on hand! We are never without these mighty seeds in our house and use at least one of them everyday. These powerhouses aren’t just for those following a plant-based, vegan diet, but for anyone that wants to add an extra boost of nutrients to your meals.
The same seeds that were used to grow the “fur” on your Chia pet have taken on new life as a superfood. Rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein (a complete source), vitamins and minerals, it also has 50% more calcium than milk and the same amount of omega-3s as wild salmon. They can absorb 10xs their weight in water, making them very gelatinous thus keeping you feeling full longer. They have recently been adopted by runners for their ability to provide a steady energy source that can last for hours.
Ways to eat them: Add them to your smoothies, try a Chocolate Chia Pudding, Chia Seed Jam or for breakfast in your Overnight Oats. Even just adding them to a drink such as this Chia Fresca is a great way to curb those afternoon cravings. They can also be used as a egg substitute by combining 1 T of chia with 3 T water = 1 egg. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes to thicken up before adding to a recipe.
Storage tip: Although these would be fine to keep in your pantry, once opened, it doesn’t hurt to keep them sealed in your refrigerator.
A powerful plant-based seed, hemp seeds are a complete source of protein containing all 10 essential amino acids. They are also rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron and potassium. These seeds have a mildly nutty flavor that can be eaten straight out of the bag or sprinkled on almost any dish you are serving.
Ways to eat them: Top them on salads, add to granola or oatmeal, blend into smoothies, mix into pancakes or muffins. Make hemp milk using the same ratios in my almond milk recipe or try these Apple Hemp Muffins to throw in your kids lunchboxes for snack time.
Storage tip: For maximum freshness and nutrition, keep them stored in your refrigerator or freezer once opened, although they will stay fresh for up to a year in your pantry.
For something so small, flax seeds have big benefits. They contain all sorts of healthy components, but the primary ones are: Omega-3s, Lignans (75-800 times more than any other plant food) and fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Evidence shows that they may help reduce your risk of cancer, diabetes, and stroke. In order to get the benefits of flax, though, the seeds must be ground before consuming. Buy them whole and use a coffee grinder (best option) or buy flax seed meal already ground for you.
Ways to eat them: Add flax meal to oatmeal, cereal, smoothies, in tomato sauce, soups and baked goods. Similar to chia, flax can be used as an egg substitute combining 1 T of flax meal with 3 T water = 1 egg. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes to gel up before using.
Storage tip: Because flax seeds go rancid very rapidly once ground, only grind what you will be using and always store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
Which of these superfoods have you tried? What’s your favorite? Share below!
Until next time, keep it real.
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