Our avian friends have been onto this for years and it turns out they aren't wrong: seeds make a delicious and fulfilling snack.
Thanks to science, there is also convincing evidence that snacking on seeds is a smart move.
Let's take a non-nerdy look at some of the data:
When it comes to weight loss, managing your blood sugar is one of the most important aspects.
Here is why: when you eat sugar, your body goes into a frenzy of trying to figure out what to do with it. Do we use it, do we store it or do we convert it to fat? Whilst there is a sugar spike in your system, fat burning or using fat for fuel doesn't happen.
Eating seeds doesn't spike your blood sugar so fat burning can still take place.
In fact, a meta-analysis found that those who eat pulses and seeds tend to be slimmer(1).
Seeds are great sources of fibre.
Increasing dietary fibre consumption has so many benefits. To name a few, it reduces insulin resistance(2) (this is important if you've been overdoing the sugar), staves off constipation(3), improves digestive function(4) and can help to reduce cholesterol(4) as well as blood pressure(4).
Antioxidants work by reducing damage to cells.
Imagine this: you are about to eat some sweets. Your good friend comes along and takes them out of your hands because you are on a diet. Your friend just saved you from doing some damage. Antioxidants work a little bit like this too.
Pumpkin seeds contain an especially diverse range of antioxidants.
Seeds are rich sources of minerals, including zinc and magnesium.
Zinc plays a vital role in the immune and nervous systems(5), great if you want to avoid that office cold.
Sadly, zinc is also difficult to obtain from food, especially if you are vegan, unless of course you eat some seeds.
How much should you have?
A handful of a combination of pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds makes the ideal snack.
This blend ensures you obtain a good range of minerals, antioxidants and fibre.
Seeds are also delicious sprinkled on salads, your morning porridge or added to smoothies.
Try Munchy Seeds for a delicious portable option or read the next post for a tasty super seed recipe.
1. Kim SJ, de Souza RJ, Choo VL, Ha V, Cozma AI, Chiavaroli L, Mirrahimi A, Blanco Mejia S, Di Buono M, Bernstein AM, Leiter LA, Kris-Etherton PM, Vuksan V, Beyene J, Kendall CW, Jenkins DJ, Sievenpiper JL (2016) Effects of dietary pulse consumption on body weight: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 103(5):1213-23.
2. Breneman CB, Tucker L (2013) Dietary fibre consumption and insulin resistance – the role of body fat and physical activity. British Journal of Nutrition, 110: 375-383.
3. Ip KS, Lee WT, Chan JS, Young BW (2005) A community-based study of the prevalence of constipation in young children and the role of dietary fibre. Hong Kong Medical Journal, 11: 431-436.
4. Mackowiak K, Torlinska-Walkowiak N, Torlinska B (2016) Dietary fibre as an important constituent of the diet. Postepy Higieny i Medycyny Doswiadczalnej, 70:104-109.
5. Rink L, Gabriel P (2000) Zinc and the immune system. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 59: 541-552.