5 Unusual and Healthy Seeds for Salads
Copyright 2011 - Kris Heeter
Salads are one of the best options available for getting in healthy fruits, vegetables, and grains each day.
But most people get bored with salads over time. It can be easy to fall into the same 'ole boring salad pattern with nothing different or unusual to spice them up.
There are a number of ways to bring new life to salad. Below are five unusual additions that can dress up a salad and provide an incredible amount of diverse nutrients and fiber.
Seeds, in general, are excellent sources of fiber and usually protein. Some have more protein than others.
The vitamin and nutrient content varies depending upon the seed type. Mixing seeds or exploring a wide variety on a regular basis insures a wonderful nutrient intake. There's no need for vitamin and mineral supplements if you make these little guys a regular household staple!
Sunflower seeds are commonly found at salad bars and poppy seeds can easily be found in dressings, but how about these next five types of seeds? They may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of salads but they are a fun addition to try.
1. Chia seeds and sprouts
Chia seeds come from the species, Salvia hispanica, of a member of the flowering mint family.
These black seeds are very tiny and can be sprinkled on the top of any salad or sprouted and used on salads like alpha sprouts.
The seeds are an excellent source of:
The sprouts are excellent sources of:
- Vitamins A, B, C and E
And yes, these are the same seeds used for the infamous "Chia Pets". You can grow your chia pet and eat it too!
2. Pumpkin Seeds - Raw or Roasted
Roasted pumpkin seeds are common snacks around Halloween and easy to make.
Lesser known and with a much higher nutrient content are raw pumpkin seeds (also called "pepitas").
These are one of the most nutritional seeds out there!
Raw pumpkin seeds contains:
- Vitamin A - all that you need in a day and more (171% of the recommended daily allowance in one cup)
- Vitamin B6 and B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate
- Potassium and 7 additional minerals
3. Hemp Seeds - Raw
Low THC strains of hemp are commonly used to make textiles (clothing), paper, fuel and biodegradable plastics.
Hemp seed has been used in non-Western countries for centuries to treat various medical disorders. In recent years, the Western world has finally come to recognize hemp seed as a superfood.
Raw hemp seeds (shelled) are rich in:
- Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6)
- Vitamin E
4. Lotus Seeds
Fresh lotus seeds are typically eaten raw in Eastern Asia. And dried lotus seeds can be purchased commercially (the bitter germ of the seed is typically removed when harvested).
Dried lotus seeds are rich in:
- Vitamin B6
5. Black Sesame Seeds
Commonly sesame seeds are yellow or golden but there are more unusual variants that pack a slightly different nutritional value like the black seed variant.
Black sesame seeds have been traditional used for centuries in Asian medicine as well as for culinary purposes.
Black sesame seeds are rich in:
- Vitamin B
- Antioxidants (higher in black sesame seeds than golden seeds)
Where can unusual seeds be purchased?
Most of the seeds described above can be found in local bulk food or co-op food stores.
There are also a variety of websites from which bulk foods can be purchased or powdered (crushed) seed can be found. For example, hemp seed can be crushed into a powder and used in smoothies and other culinary treats.
To make your own roasted pumpkin seeds, check out this link:
And try mixing these unusual seeds with different sprouts or shoots: