10 Best Anti-Aging Foods to Eat Every Day

The greatest desire of every woman is to stay young and beautiful as long as possible. We usually try various methods in order to prevent the aging process in our body. Though, our efforts are not always successful. It is necessary to remember that certain things can help you to add years to your life. Firstly, you should lead a healthy lifestyle. For this you need to do regular physical exercises and include wholesome foods into your diet. If you want to stay young and avoid numerous age-related diseases, I recommend you to consume the following anti-aging foods every day. They are extremely beneficial for your health!

1. Fish
The conducted researches have shown that those people who eat a lot of fish almost never suffer from heart disease. For example, the native Inuits of Alaska are not familiar with this health issue because they regularly consume a big amount of fish. This food is known to be rich in omega-3 fats that will stabilize your heart rhythms and protect you against cholesterol buildup in arteries.

2. Olive Oil
Due to the fact that olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats it is one of those foods that are efficient in fighting cancer and heart disease. Everybody knows that people who live in Greece constantly use olive oil for cooking. Scientists’ studies have proven that the consumption of this oil lowers rates of heart diseases among the citizens of this country. By adding olive oil to your dishes you will supply your body with antioxidants and polyphenols which you need to resist different age-related diseases.

3. Chocolate
Cocoa is the main ingredient of chocolate. It has a high concentration of flavanols that are very good for blood vessels. When your blood vessels function well, you’re able to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and kidney disease. That’s why you can easily enjoy the sweet taste of your favorite chocolate. Just make sure you control your portions, or this dessert will be harmful to your health. Besides chocolate bars, there is a wide range of beverages made of cocoa. By drinking them you’ll have a chance to prevent heart disease.

4. Yogurt
Some years ago Georgia was one of the countries that had the biggest number of centenarians in the world. Yogurt was claimed to be the main secret of their long lives. This dairy product is frequently used in most diets that are so popular nowadays. Perhaps you’ve never heard before but yogurt may slow the aging process. Being full of calcium, this food is extremely effective in preventing osteoporosis. In addition, “good bacteria” that are found in yogurt will strengthen your immune system and improve your overall health.

5. Blueberries
Dietarians state that blueberries may have a fantastic impact on human body. If you include these delicious and wholesome berries into your daily menu you’ll be amazed with the results. According to scientific studies blueberries are considered to increase people’s coordination when they become old. Plus, this food contains compounds that can easily diminish oxidative damage and inflammation. These health problems can lead to deficits in memory and motor function when you are old. So, blueberries are a wonderful choice for healthy aging.

6. Nuts
If you really care about your health and beauty, I would advise you to add nuts to your eating plan. This food is an enormous source of unsaturated fats and it can affect your body in the same way as olive oil does. Recently it has been found out that people who eat nuts live a few years longer than those who refuse from this tasty snack. Such nutrients as vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, make nuts one of the healthiest foods. Today you can find different kinds of nuts that are also a perfect option for vegetarians.

7. Wine
The negative influence of alcohol on our health is undeniable. Some people even don’t guess that when consumed in moderate doses alcohol can be salubrious for them. It should be mentioned that wine is the most preferable alcoholic beverage all over the world. If you drink wine, you will not only enjoy its refined taste but you will protect yourself against numerous diseases as well. Those who drink red wine are less subjected to diabetes, memory loss and heart disease. What is more important, this beverage will slow the process of aging in your body.

8. Carrots
Carrot is another fantastic food that will certainly help you to look younger and you will supply your body with various vitamins and nutrients that are necessary to be healthy. This orange vegetable is a perfect source of alpha- and beta-carotene that are known to boost our immunity and even stave off cancer. Moreover, carrots may be effectively used to care for your skin because carotenoids protect it from UV damage. When summer comes, you should try to add carrots to your diet and don’t forget to apply sunscreen either.

9. Sunflower Seeds
First of all, I’d like to say that most of us give preference to these seeds when looking for yummy snacks. Do you know that this food is very good for your health? We can hardly find any other food that is more packed with vitamin E than sunflower seeds. We all need to consume this vitamin in order to enhance our immune system which becomes weak with age. Nevertheless you have all chances to roll back the years by eating your favorite sunflower seeds.

10. Prunes
Perhaps you are surprised to see prunes on this list, but it has been proven that this food can be even more efficient than fresh fruits when it comes to our health. One of the reasons why prunes are so useful to us is their capacity to remove harmful free radicals from the blood and improve our circulation. Being dried, prunes have a big quantity of good things that have positive effect on our body. As an alternative to prunes you can also eat raisins or figs.

Unfortunately, we can’t stop time and stay young forever. However, we have endless opportunities to add years to our life and to look amazing no matter how old we are. All the above foods will definitely help you to stay healthy and by eating them you’ll be able to avoid various age-related diseases. What methods do you use to prevent the negative effects of aging? Do you eat any other anti-aging foods? What are they?

9 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Most of you have probably heard of the numerous health benefits of hemp seeds. It is a popular superfood that is worth your money and time. Hemp seeds are an excellent source of protein, and they’re also great for detox and health. Hemp seeds are easy to use; you can add them to any dish you usually make. One or two tablespoons of hemp seeds is all you need to reap all of the health benefits of them. Read on to find out 9 amazing benefits of hemp seeds.

1. Improve your digestive health
Rich in fiber, hemp seeds help prevent slow digestion and constipation. This is necessary for detox because your colon is an important body part to care for. Hemp seeds are also easy to digest and they don’t give any problems to those who don’t tolerate seeds.

2. Boost mood
Hemp seeds are a great mood-booster and they really work for any low mood you may have. They are also great to combat PMS symptoms. Thanks to their omega 3, protein and magnesium content, hemp seeds can boost your mood in no time.

3. Relieve inflammation
Hemp seeds are one of the highly alkaline seeds you may add to your diet. Sure, pumpkin seeds are also alkaline, but hemp seeds are better. Hemp seeds have more chlorophyll than other seeds, making them good for detoxifying and purifying your blood and reducing inflammation.

4. Rich in magnesium
One of the most essential minerals for our health is magnesium. Nowadays a lot of people are deficient in this mineral without knowing it. Magnesium deficiency can lead to numerous health problems such as slow digestion, poor sleep, depression, anxiety, muscle pain, low energy, headaches and low thyroid function. Magnesium is also a great mineral for PMS symptoms. It is fortunate that hemp contains 45% of the daily recommended values of magnesium.

5. High in protein
I’m sure many of you know that protein is important to the body. When you are eating clean and detoxing, your body needs good sources of protein to maintain your immune system working well and boost your energy levels. To say nothing of lean protein that is the best friend of your metabolism. Hemp seeds are high in essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

6. High in omega 3 fats
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of omega 3 fats, some omega 6 and even omega 9 fats. You might hear some terrible things about omega 9 and omega 6 fats, but when they are in reasonable doses, they can actually be good for you. Omega 3 fatty acids are good for your heart, metabolism, and they can help boost your mood. I think it’s a wonderful reason to include hemp seeds to your diet.

7. Rich in potassium
If you suffer from bloating, potassium may be your best friend. It is also an essential electrolyte in the body. Most seeds and nuts are rich in potassium and hemp seeds are no exception. Potassium helps combat bloating, cramps, muscles pain, and help reduce headaches.

8. Rich in B vitamins
B vitamins are essential for your skin, hair, nails, mood, energy and digestion. Hemp seeds are rich in all B vitamins. However, you should know that hemp seeds are not a high source of vitamin B12, so you may want to consider taking spirulina or using a supplement, especially if you are vegan.

9. Delicious
Unfortunately, many health foods are not tasty, but hemp seeds are a delicious superfood you can use in any dish. This is because of their a bit sweet, nutty taste, and I love adding them to my yogurt and smoothies. I also like using them in salad dressings, vegan versions of stuffed mushrooms, and in other savory dishes. Give it a try, you will like it.

When buying hemp seeds, make sure you buy organic, raw, and non-GMO brand. Hemp seeds are really good for your body and they’re also one of the best seeds that can help you lose weight. What’s your favorite way to use hemp seeds?

7 Healthy Foods to Eat to Increase Your Vitamin E Intake

Your body needs vitamin E to work properly and it’s important to pay attention to your vitamin E intake on a regular basis. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, which helps combat free radical damage and prevent a great number of health issues, including heart disease and cancer. This nutrient also plays an important role in gene expression, cell health and immunity. The great news is that there are certain foods that help boost vitamin E intake. Without further ado, here are seven healthy foods you can eat to increase your vitamin E intake.

1. Kiwi
Kiwi contains around 10% of your daily requirements of vitamin E, and it’s also rich in fiber and vitamin C. Kiwis are sweet and tart at the same time and I usually have one kiwi for my breakfast with my favorite cereal. I also love adding sliced kiwis to my smoothies, fruit salad and Greek yogurt. I think kiwi is one of the best fruits to eat to increase vitamin E intake.

2. Sunflower seeds
Eating sunflowers seeds is one of the best and easiest ways to increase your vitamin E intake. An ounce of sunflower seeds contains over one-third of your daily requirements. Eat them plain or add some to your vegetable salad. Sunflower seeds also work well in trail mix combined with raisins, dried cereal and chocolate. Every time I go on a road trip, I always take a bag of sunflower seeds to boost my vitamin E intake.

3. Mangoes
Who doesn’t love mangoes? I’m sure most of you love this amazing fruit! Now that you know mangoes can help you increase your Vitamin E intake, you might love them even more. A ½ cup of chopped or diced mango contains about 5% of your daily Vitamin E needs. While it may not be enough to satisfy the whole day’s need, it’s definitely a great and tasty way to contribute. You can add mangoes to your yogurt, smoothies, or mix them with diced red onion, chopped jalapenos and avocado for a delicious salsa.

4. Tomatoes
Whether cooked or raw, tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin E. Again, eating tomatoes isn’t enough to satisfy your whole day’s quota, but still you can get a bit of essential vitamin. Put tomatoes on burgers and sandwiches, or add them to your vegetable salad. Whip up some spaghetti sauce or salsa or mix several tomatoes with fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar for a delicious side dish.

5. Almonds
Like sunflower seeds, almonds are a good source of Vitamin E. You can eat almonds as a snack or put some in your oatmeal, cereal or batch of muffins. Almonds are also a wonderful choice for your trail mix and plain yogurt with some fruits and honey. Since almonds have many calories, make sure you don’t consume pounds of them daily, or you could gain a few unwanted pounds.

6. Spinach
Another healthy food to eat to boost your vitamin E intake is spinach. Half a cup of spinach provides 10% of your daily vitamin E needs. You can use fresh spinach in your salad, vegetable soup or put spinach into your turkey sandwich. The options are endless. Spinach is low in calories, so you don’t have to worry about your weight.

7. Peanut butter
You know, seeds and nuts are great options for increasing vitamin E intake. Peanut butter is another great option because it works for numerous things. Spread peanut butter on toast at breakfast or eat a jelly and peanut butter sandwich for your lunch. You can also mix it with soy sauce and olive oil for a yummy peanut sauce on your favorite pasta. You may also like peanut butter on pancakes and waffles. If you don’t want to eat peanut butter, whole peanuts are the perfect choice too.

Add a few of these vitamin E rich foods to your diet to ensure you’re getting enough of this essential vitamin. What are your favorite foods on this list? What do you eat to boost your vitamin E intake?

11 Great Foods to Eat to Relieve Pain

Pain is a terrible feeling that makes us suffer greatly. It comes in different forms like toothache, headache, muscle pain or it even can be chronic. When we have pain we can’t concentrate on our work, studies and other things that are important in our life. That’s why we always search for efficient ways to combat pain and improve our health. There are numerous drugs that help us sooth our pain, but they are full of harmful chemicals. For this reason, it would be much better if we use natural remedy to fight pain. Here is the list of some healthy foods that are known to have anti-inflammatory effect. Try to add them to your diet whenever you feel pain in your body and they will certainly help you.

1. Cherries
Aspirin is the most popular medicine we take to reduce pain and inflammation. However, there is a wonderful natural substitute of this drug. According to the latest researches, cherries are considered to be even more effective than aspirin when it comes to pain. A pure cherry extract is the best thing you can use for this purpose. But what can be better and more delicious than a bowl of fresh cherries? Don’t miss your opportunity to eat this sweet and wholesome fruit and you’ll forget about your pain.

2. Ginger
It is a well-known fact that ginger helps us treat an upset stomach. Plus, you’ll be surprised to discover that this food is perfect when you need to combat pain. Ginger is also extremely beneficial for sportsmen who often suffer from muscle aches. Make sure you consume at least 500 milligrams of ginger daily and you’ll soon get rid of unpleasant feelings.

3. Turmeric
Turmeric is mostly added as a flavoring to various dishes. We don’t know much about its health benefits but scientists say it’s really amazing. Regular consumption of this food will help you prevent cancer and inflammations that may lead to constant pain in some parts of your body. If you like drinking tea, you should try one of the tastiest beverages made of lemon, honey and turmeric. This yummy drink is a fantastic way to ease your pain.

4. Salmon
When we look for some fish to cook exquisite dishes, salmon is usually the most preferable choice. Being packed with healthy fats, salmon is good for our body and our brain as well. It contains omega 3 fats that are necessary for your body to function well and relieve pain. Moreover, by eating this natural product you will easily cope with such problem as swelling.

5. Celery
Another food that works wonders for your health is celery. I recommend you to include this vegetable into your eating plan since it is an enormous source of apigenin that can be a nice solution when you have pain and swellings. There is a wide range of recipes we can follow to cook this salubrious food. As for me, I give preference to fresh juice which I make in my juicer. This way I can get all the nutrients and vitamins containing in celery and it doesn’t take me much time. Plus, this is a nice ingredient for your soup.

6. Olive Oil
We can hardly imagine cooking without oil. Whether you make some salad or fry potatoes you will need this product. Nowadays we have a big choice of oils that are available at most supermarkets. Nevertheless, olive oil is thought to be the best one. In addition, this fatty substance will ease your pain in no time. In comparison with other oils it is rather tangy, so you can take a small slice of bread, sprinkle it with olive oil and eat as a pain-reliever. Among other properties of olive oil is its ability to reduce the risk of cancer.

7. Cayenne
I think everybody knows food like chilly, and cayenne is another kind of hot pepper. They both are high in capsaicin, which is generally used as the basic ingredient for pain killers. If you feel discomfort caused by muscle injuries, use some ointment or cream with cayenne to massage your body. It really works

8. Walnuts
This healthy food has immense benefits. First of all, walnuts are full of omega 3 fats that have a positive impact on our body. Secondly, it is a tasty and nutritious snack that you can eat during the break at your workplace. Eat these nuts regularly to help your body recover from different sports injuries.

9. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds will provide your body with a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids that are equally found in salmon. As a rule, these seeds are eaten in combination with other foods. For instance, you may sprinkle them on cereal or mix with yogurt and it will be a good breakfast for you. Flax seeds will give you an opportunity to enjoy a new taste of your favorite foods and what is more important they will help you to overcome a pain.

10. Cinnamon
It would be fair to say that cinnamon is one of the most flavorous spices that we add to various desserts, pastries and drinks. Exquisite taste is not the only advantage of cinnamon, it is also considered to reduce inflammations. Enjoy the tastiest foods with cinnamon and you will definitely benefit from them, especially if you have chronic headaches.

11. Sage
Sage is a herb with endless healing properties. In order to combat pain successfully, you can make a delicious refreshing tea with sage leaves. Just brew it up in boiling water. It has been medically proven that sage helps to enhance our memory. High concentration of flavonoids makes this plant one of the greatest natural remedies for relieving pain and swellings.

I’m convinced that some of these foods can be really helpful for you when you experience pain in your body. Don’t get upset and keep in mind that you will recover by all means. When you need to fight pain and get rid of discomfort, eat some of these wholesome foods and relax. Have you ever used food to relieve pain? Do you know any other foods that may help fight pain?

6 Egg Substitutes to Rescue Your Recipes

Baking without eggs seems to be an impossible task. Vegetarians are not the only ones who face this problem. There are times when you start baking your favorite cookies or cake and find out that you have no eggs in the fridge. It has happened to every baker.

Running to the nearest store to buy the eggs or giving up on your recipe and baking is not the way out. If you have at least 1 of these 6 ingredients in your kitchen, you don’t need eggs. Rescue your recipes with these awesome egg substitutes:

Egg Substitutes to Rescue Your Recipes
1. Banana
One of the most delicious and wholesome ingredients you can add to your cookies or cakes instead of eggs is banana. 1/4 cup mashed ripe banana substitutes 1 whole egg. Banana adds lots of moisture, unique flavor and some extra sweetness to pies, cakes and muffins, which is why it is crucial that you are careful with the amount of sugar you add to your batter. The best advice is to skip sugar at all.

2. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are grain-free and gluten-free, making it an excellent ingredient to use in baking. Not to mention that they are a wonderful source of magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. If you have no egg in the fridge, chia seeds might be your safe bet.

Grind the needed amount of chia seeds into a meal, using your food processor or coffee grinder. In a small bowl, combine chia seed meal and water and leave the mixture for 10 minutes. Use instead of eggs in baked goods and smoothies.

3. Soft tofu
Want to make brownies, a cake or a homemade bread but have no eggs? No worries, if you have soft tofu, you do not need eggs. To replace one egg in a recipe, opt for 1/4 cup of puréed soft tofu. Tofu has no flavor but it absorbs the flavor of the ingredients you use in your recipe. Isn’t it great?

4. Flax seeds
When it comes to healthy egg substitutes, flax seeds are a fabulous alternative to chia seeds. In a small bowl combine 3 tablespoons of water with a tablespoon of ground flax seeds and let it sit for a few minutes or until completely absorbed and viscous. Since flax seeds have a nutty flavor, you can use them instead of nuts as well. I usually use flax seeds instead of eggs in my pancakes.

5. Applesauce
Applesauce is usually used to replace oil in baking, but it turns out that we can use it instead of eggs too. 1/4 cup applesauce will be enough to replace one egg. When buying applesauce, choose an unsweetened version. I opt for a sweetened version since I almost don’t use sugar when baking.

6. Baking powder, corn oil and water
Mix 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 2 tablespoons of water, and a teaspoon of corn oil (vegetable oil might be an option too, though it is not healthy) together and use it in your batter to replace one egg. Simple, yet tasty.

Eggs are available everywhere, but in many countries they are rather expensive so many people keep asking me about affordable egg substitutes. Chia and flax seeds are not that affordable, but these ingredients are for those of you who are too lazy to go to the nearest store to buy eggs. Anyway, make sure you always have at least one of these ingredients in your kitchen and your baking plans will never be ruined.

Benefits of Chia Seeds (and 27 Creative Ways to Use Them!)

I’ve been using chia seeds in drinks and as an egg substitute in recipes for years. In fact, we just had homemade chia seed pudding with lunch today. While chia seeds can be an incredibly useful ingredient, especially for egg free or gluten free families, there is also a lot of conflicting information about these little seeds.

What are Chia Seeds?

Salvia hispanica, or the chia plant, is a species in the mint family that is native to Central America. The seeds of this herb are known as “chia seeds” and they have gained quite a bit of popularity in recent years.

Not only are they gluten/grain free naturally, but a single serving is reported to have:

as much calcium as a glass of milk
more Omega-3s than a serving of walnuts
as many antioxidants as blueberries.
They give you tons of energy but also won’t keep you awake at night and are supposed to be great for weight loss. Because they can absorb many times their size/weight in liquid, they are great for avoiding dehydration during exercise or exposure to heat.

Are Chia Seeds the Original Superfood?

Chia seeds have a fascinating and long history of use by several cultures. I’m hesitant to use the word “superfood” because the word is so over-used in modern times and also because there are some confounding factors that may inhibit nutrient use.

Supposedly, the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans used chia as a staple of their diet and as an energy food. Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language, and they were known as the “Indian Running Food” because runners and warriors would use them for sustenance while running long distances or during battle.

Though these ancient cultures may not have completely understood the nutritional breakdown of these power-packed seeds, they noticed the benefits, and we now know that chia seeds are a good source of:

Essential Fatty Acids
Protein
Vitamins A, B, E and D
Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, and others
Antioxidants
Chia Seed Benefits

Benfits of Chia Seeds

Small but mighty, chia seeds have a variety of benefits (and a few cautions!) and are considered by many to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet.

1. They Are A Great Source of Protein

The chia seed is a great plant source of protein, containing 4.7 grams of protein per ounce. They contain all eight essential amino acids, a rarity for a non-animal based food and are much higher in protein than many other plants. They still don’t compare to animal-based proteins, but especially considering the other beneficial properties of chia seeds, they are worth consuming regularly.

2. Packed with Other Nutrients

Don’t let their tiny size fool you… chia seeds are a big source of many nutrients!

Just two tablespoons (about an ounce) contains 10 times the Omega-3s of an equal serving of walnuts, more iron than a cup of spinach and a host of other nutrients in smaller amounts. They are also a great source of beneficial fats, fiber and about as many antioxidants per serving as blueberries.

In fact, chia seeds contain the highest level of Omega-3s of any known plant. It is important to note that they contain Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) form found in plant foods but not docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the form found in fatty fish.

The body can convert some ALA to DHA, but it is relatively inefficient at this process, so ideally, we should consume both ALA and DHA from food sources.

3. Support Digestion

There are several unique properties of chia seeds that make them beneficial for digestion. They are an excellent source of fiber at 11 grams per ounce. In fact, of the 12 grams of “carbohydrates” found in chia seeds, 11 are from fiber, which is indigestible to the body and which does not raise blood sugar or affect insulin levels like other forms of carbohydrates.

Essentially, the net carbohydrate in the chia seed is only 1 gram per ounce, making them a naturally low-carb and high-fiber food, with one serving providing the recommended daily amount of fiber. This fiber works as a pre-biotic in the digestive system, so while it isn’t digested and used directly, it feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut and may help improve gut health.

Chia seeds also have a unique ability to “gel” due to the soluble fiber content and the fact that the outer shell is hydrophilic and has the ability to absorb over 10x their weight in liquid. This makes them filling and satisfying. Researchers think that this gel action also occurs in the stomach, creating a barrier between carbohydrates and enzymes in the stomach which slows the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. This may account for some of the reported endurance benefits of chia seeds.

I’ve listed a few of my favorite recipes below that show how our family uses chia seeds, especially for breakfast.

4. Natural Appetite Suppressant

Chia Seeds are often recommended for those who are trying to lose weight Their ability to expand and slow digestibility helps keep a person feeling fuller longer. (source)

Additionally, as a good source of both protein and antioxidants, they may nutritionally support the body in other ways that promote weight loss. Due to their hydrophilic properties, chia seeds also promote hydration, which is important for maintaining a healthy weight.

Though the research is mixed on chia’s ability to directly promote weight loss, experts seem to agree that they are a great addition to a healthy diet and for those of us with kids who are hungry all the time, they are an easy (and filling) addition to many common foods. I love to serve some form of chia seed pudding for breakfast since it helps keep my kids full until lunch.

5. Promote Energy and Endurance

The Mayans and Aztecs originally used chia seeds for their energy and endurance benefits. They were known as “Indian Running Food” and warriors and athletes often consumed a chia seed gel prior to their events to maintain energy and stamina.

It turns out that these same benefits are just as applicable in modern times! In fact one study, found that a chia gel was as effective as energy drinks for maintaining athletic performance. In the study, participants were split into two groups. One group was given an energy drink, and another an energy drink/chia seed gel. Participants completed various running and endurance activities and their results were compared. The study found no difference in performance between the two groups and concluded that chia seeds were as effective as energy drinks in promoting athletic performance.

If you really want to optimize performance, try making this natural homemade energy drink and adding chia seeds for some added benefits!

6. Versatile and Easy to Use

Chia seeds can be easily added to many foods and drinks. They can be used whole or ground and can even serve as an egg substitute in recipes. Unlike some “superfoods” like spirulina, chia seeds don’t have a strong flavor and can be easily used in recipes and added to smoothies without affecting flavor.

I always keep a big bag of chia seeds on hand for use in recipes and to add to foods.

One Caution: Phytic Acid

Like all grains and seeds, chia seeds contain compounds called phytates that block the absorption of certain nutrients. These anti-nutrients are the reason that many ancient cultures soaked and fermented grains and seeds prior to eating them. This is also the reason that some people prefer to avoid them (and most other grains and seeds as well).

Chia seeds are naturally gluten free and are a good source of many nutrients, as I explained above. Though they do contain anti-nutrients, they do not contain as high of levels as many other nuts and seeds. There is also some evidence that soaking and rinsing the seeds may help reduce the levels of these compounds.

Since I typically use chia seeds as a thickener or added in moderation to recipes and not as the core part of a meal, I don’t worry too much about their phytate content. Some people experience gastrointestinal distress from consuming chia seeds in large amounts, so of course, don’t eat them if this happens to you.

How to Use Chia Seeds

Chia seeds can be used in various recipes and added to favorite foods. Depending on the texture you want to accomplish, there are several ways to use them:

Soaked

Most sources recommend soaking chia seeds for the most benefit. Since they are hydrophilic, they will attract water in the body if not soaked or added to liquid, so if you choose not to soak them, it is best to drink a lot of liquids after consuming them. Additionally, at least one person has gotten chia seeds lodged in his throat after attempting to consume them dry, so it is not recommended to consume them un-soaked (they are difficult to chew).

Ground Up/Powdered

Another way to use them in recipes is to grind them up into a fine powder. This is especially helpful when you are using them as a thickener or want to get the benefits without changing the texture of a food. There is also some evidence that it may be easier for the body to absorb chia seeds when they are powdered before eating. See below for ways to incorporate ground chia seeds as an egg substitute or thickener.

Whole

If adding directly to foods or recipes that contain liquid, it isn’t necessary to soak or grind chia seeds first. They can be added directly to smoothies, soups, drinks, or even meat dishes to thicken without needing to soak first.

Uses for Chia Seeds

My Favorite Uses for Chia Seeds

I always keep chia seeds on hand in my kitchen for these various uses:

1. As a Safe Egg Substitute

I recommend a lot of egg consumption and many of my recipes contain eggs. I occasionally get questions from readers who need to adapt a recipe to avoid eggs, and from my research/testing, chia is one of the best options for this.

To substitute for an egg: Use 1 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds (grind them dry in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder) and 3 tablespoons of water per egg in a baked recipe (does not work in place of eggs for omelets though…)

2. To Make Healthy Pudding

My kids favorite use of chia seeds is to make a homemade pudding with them. It’s easy to make and actually really healthy. Our go-to recipe is:

2 cups of coconut milk or other milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder (or to taste)(optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla (or to taste)
1 tablespoon or more sweetener of choice (optional)- We use honey or a few drops of stevia tincture
Put in a blender and blend until smooth. Will thicken in about 10 minutes in the fridge.

There are endless flavor variations. You can omit the cocoa powder and vanilla and add a cup of strawberries for a strawberry version, or add cinnamon and nutmeg for a Chai Chia Pudding.

View the printable recipe here.

3. To Thicken Soup or Gravies

If you don’t use cornstarch or thickening agents, it can sometimes be a challenge to thicken different culinary creations. Just add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds (powdered or not) at a time to reach the desired thickness.

4. To Make Grain Free Crackers

I’ve made several variations of these, including just mixing them with equal parts coconut milk to thicken, adding some garlic powder and sea salt, and baking at a low temp for a couple hours. I haven’t measured out my recipe yet to post here, but here’s another one that looks great.

5. To Thicken Meatballs Instead of Breadcrumbs

I married an Italian, so meatballs get made pretty often around here. His grandmother’s recipe calls for breadcrumbs, which I don’t use, so I just throw in a couple tablespoons of ground chia seeds (per pound of meat) in place of bread crumbs. Also works to thicken meat-loafs, batters, etc.

6. Sprouted for Salads

Ever had little sprouts on a salad at a restaurant? You can make them yourself. Just put some chia seeds in water, drain the water off and leave in a jar for a couple days. Every 12 hours or so, rinse with water and pour the water off. In a day or two, you’ll have little chia sprouts, which leads to the next use of chia seeds:

7. Homemade Chia Pet

These are the same seeds used to make the chia pets you can buy for ($20) in the store. Save about ($20) and make your own. Just fill a (porcupine) shaped pot with dirt, sprinkle some chia seeds on top of the dirt and water. Viola! Chia Pet. I also discovered when my kids spilled their chia seeds that they were eating for a snack that they grow in areas that don’t get much sun and that are often trampled (under the treehouse) and prevent mud. Now, the kids get to eat chia seeds under their treehouse often, and the ones that spill prevent mud. A win-win!

8. To Make Homemade Energy Gel

Seen the commercial for those new (corn syrup filled) Gatorade Gels and Chews? Here’s a healthier variation that kids will love: Add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of coconut water. Let sit for about ten minutes and you’ll have an incredible energy gel! Beats the socks off of Gatorade for hydration and energy and you get to avoid the fake colors, fake flavors and GMO corn Also works for grown ups for endurance activities like running a 5K without training at all (ask me how I know that….)

9. As a “Breading” for Baking Fish and Chicken

Mixed with some almond flour and garlic powder, or even by itself, Chia Seeds make an excellent “Breading” for fish or chicken. It toasts up well and provides a nutty, crunchy flavor without the grains (another win-win!).

10. Kid-Friendly Chia Seed Squeeze Pouches

The flavor combinations are endless, and the recipe requires only a few ingredients. Chia seed squeeze pouches are one of my kids’ favorite snacks, and with these reusable pouches, your kiddos can enjoy them too.

11. Chia Seed Energy Bars

This is my favorite way to use chia seeds so far! These energy bars are a great snack or treat for kids or a healthy breakfast addition if you need extra energy. They are also nut, dairy, and grain free so they are safe to send to schools even if there are allergy restrictions.

12. Coconut Chia Porridge

When you crave a warm, nourishing breakfast, this coconut chia porridge will satisfy. It’s grain-free and features a delicious flavor combo of figs, pistachios and vanilla beans. My kids love it, and I love that it nourishes them, plus meets my need for avoiding eggs as breakfast.

13. Awesome Egg Substitute

Since finding out I’m allergic to eggs, I’ve tried lots of variations for replacing them in my favorite recipes. Chia seeds make an awesome egg substitute. Read about how to use chia seeds, plus seven other egg replacement options here.

14. Chocolate Coconut Energy Bars

I love the convenience of energy bars, and my kids requested a chocolate-flavored one, so I created these chocolate coconut energy bars, with optional chia seeds (which I recommend you add!). Enjoy all the taste and convenience, minus the junkie ingredients typically found in store-bought energy bars.

15. Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

If you avoid store-bought jams and jellies loaded with sugar and lots of other unmentionable ingredients (I was recently surprised to see red dye in a strawberry jam- c’mon, strawberries are already red!), you’ll love this strawberry chia seed jam from Mommypotamus.

16. Blueberry Chia Seed Smoothie

For a fast meal or snack that doesn’t require many ingredients or, ahem, actual cooking, but still offers tons of nutrition, this blueberry chia seed smoothie from The Family That Heals Together will keep both mama and kiddos happy, for more reasons than one.

17. Chocolate Chia Mousse

What’s better than having dessert and knowing it’s good for you? Don’t compromise your food standards for a treat; this chocolate chia mousse from Healy Eats Real will satisfy your sweet tooth (just look at that perfect mousse texture!) while healthy ingredients like chia seeds and coconut milk will satiate you with good fats and protein.

18. Paleo Sticky “Rice” Balls

These fun snacks from A Girl Worth Saving use chia seeds in place of rice for a healthy, low carb version of this Chinese treat.

19. Chia Seed Breakfast Cereal

If you’re on the grain-free bandwagon, cereal is likely a thing of the past. This grain-free chia seed breakfast cereal from Eat Your Beets changes all that!

20. Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Muffins

These grain-free goodies are the perfect treat or breakfast from The Real Food Dietitians.

21. Strawberry Matcha Chia Pudding

Matcha is all the rage these days, thanks to its super healing and energizing green tea origins. This fun take on chia pudding with strawberries and matcha tea from Paleo Magazine looks amazing.

22. Spinach Salad with Creamy Chia Vinaigrette

A beautiful salad is nutritious on its own. Pair it with a chia seed-based dressing, and you’ve got a winner! Check out this spinach salad with creamy chia vinaigrette from Get Inspired Everyday.

23. Chia Seed Water

Fancier than it sounds, this energy drink from Not Your Standard contains just a couple ingredients (unless you count the lemon wedge and optional honey) so it’s easy to throw it together and sip throughout a busy day.

24. Multi-Seed Crackers

Serve these crackers up with a slice of avocado or cheese for snack time. Get the recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen here.

25. Low-Carb Chia Bread

This chia bread from Rosanna Davison Nutrition is grain-free and low carb, and looks like it would be fantastic for a sandwich or French toast!

26. “Peanut Butter” and Jelly Overnight Chia Pudding

More filling and way more nutritious than oatmeal, this “PB” and J overnight chia pudding from PaleOMG is perfect for breakfast or after a workout.

27. Chocolate Dipped Caramel Nut Bars

One more from PaleOMG, because I thought we should end with what looks to be basically a healthy candy bar. These chocolate dipped caramel nut bars look amazing and are super healthy to boot!

The Importance of Soaking Nuts & Seeds

Nuts and seeds can be a terrific nutrient-dense snack or addition to a meal, but like grains and legumes, they can also contain substances that interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Just as the process of soaking, sprouting or fermenting grains reduces the anti-nutrient content and makes them more beneficial to the body, the simple process of soaking nuts improves their nutrition.

Enzyme Inhibitors in Nuts and Seeds

Like grains, raw nuts (and especially raw seeds), contain moderate levels of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Phytic acid is biologically necessary for the plant, as it helps safeguard the nut or seed until proper growing conditions are present and germination can occur.

These enzyme inhibitors prevent the seed from sprouting prematurely, but can cause potential problems in humans by binding to nutrients in the body and contributing to nutrient deficiencies and digestive system irritation.

Seeds and nuts store phosphorus as phytic acid and it becomes a phytate when it binds to a mineral. In the body, this process can stop nutrients from being absorbed in the digestive system and reduce the digestibility of these foods.

In other words, just because nuts and seeds are considered good sources of protein and nutrients, doesn’t mean your body can absorb these nutrients. All plants contain phytic acid in some levels, but grains, legumes, nuts and seeds typically contain the highest levels.

It is also important to note that phytic acid may not be entirely bad, but the dose makes the poison. Modern diets high in processed grains and low in nutrient dense fats and minerals may increase the likelihood of nutrient absorption problems and make it even more important to reduce phytic acid levels in food.

Research is finding that phyic acid in certain levels may have a protective effect in the body and a secondary messenger role in cells. It seems that in order to provide this beneficial effect, it must be balanced by certain fat soluble vitamins and other nutrients and the person must be able to absorb these.

This is why it can be helpful to reduce the phytic acid content of seeds and nuts and make the nutrients more available and this step is especially important for young children who are still developing the enzymes to break down these plant foods (ever seen undigested nuts, grains or seeds in a toddler’s stool? This is partially due to their inability to digest certain proteins and nutrients in these foods).

The Importance of Soaking Nuts and Seeds

Some phytic acid is naturally neutralized during the digestive process, but foods that are especially high in phytic acid benefit from the process of soaking (and sometimes sprouting) and dehydrating to further reduce the anti-nutrient content.

Soaking in a simple mineral solution (like salt) and low-temperature dehydrating helps to break down much of the phytic acid and make the nutrients in nuts more available to the body.

While many traditional cultures naturally soaked or sprouted seeds, this step is hardly ever taken with large scale production since it is time consuming. It is, however, simple and inexpensive to do at home and can greatly increase the nutrient content of the seeds and nuts you consume.

How to Soak Seeds and Nuts

There are two parts to soaking nuts and seeds: warm water and salt.

The warm water will neutralize many of the enzyme inhibitors and increase the bioavailability of many nutrients, especially b-vitamins. The salt helps activate enzymes that deactivate the enzyme inhibitors present in nuts.

When soaking grains or beans, a more acidic substance is often used, but since nuts and seeds contain less phytic acid than grains/legumes but more enzyme inhibitors, the salt is more beneficial.

Within 7-24 hours (depending on the seed or nut), many of the enzyme inhibitors are broken down. At this point, a dehydrating process beings to return the nuts to a crisp texture. I’ve found that nuts that have been pre-soaked taste much better and don’t end up undigested in little ones diapers.

What You Need:

2 cups of raw, organic nuts or seeds (it is better to soak one kind at a time)
3-4 cups of warm filtered water (to cover nuts)
1 tablespoon of salt
What to Do:

Place the warm water in a medium bowl or jar (half gallon or larger). Add the salt and let dissolve.
Add the nuts or seeds, making sure they are completely submerged in the water.
Leave uncovered on the counter or other warm place (not the refrigerator) for at least 7 hours, preferably overnight.
Rinse in a colander and spread on a baking sheet or dehydrator sheet. Bake in the oven at the lowest temperature (150 F is optimal) or dehydrate until completely dry. This step is important, as any remaining moisture in the nuts or seeds can cause them to mold. Dehydrating time can often be up to 24 hours, so a dehydrator simplifies the process but isn’t necessary.
NOTE: If you plan to use nuts or seeds to make homemade almond milk or any other variety, this is the optimal time, as they are already softened. This is an important step in the homemade nut milk process as the enzyme inhibitors are mostly removed and the nuts are already softened to make a more creamy milk.
A Step Further: Sprouting

Sprouting goes a step further from soaking and reduces the levels of enzyme inhibitors even more. Often, products sold as sprouted nuts and seeds are merely “activated” by the process of soaking, but certain seeds can sprout after several cycles of soaking, rinsing, and giving exposure to air to allow germination.

Raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds are the best candidates for sprouting, and some nuts like pecans and walnuts will not sprout. If you want to add this additional step, soak the seeds with the process above. Then rinse and follow the normal sprouting process until sprouts occur. This will only work with non-irradiated seeds and only certain varieties. This step does further reduce enzyme inhibitors, but except for those with digestive problems or severe nutrient deficiencies, this step is not often necessary and soaking alone is sufficient.

To Soak or Not to Soak?

Not all nuts and seeds can be easily soaked. Flax and chia seeds gel when soaked and are very difficult to work with. For any nuts or seeds that can be soaked, you’ll have to weigh the benefits and see if the process is worth the time investment for you.

Personally, I like this step simply because the seeds and nuts taste so much better once they are soaked and it makes the nutrients more available. If you consume a lot of nuts or seeds, this process may be especially helpful to you, as the higher levels of enzyme inhibitors may be more problematic. Soaking and dehydrating organic raw nuts and seeds also creates an end result similar to roasted nuts, but without the added vegetable oils or high temperature roasting that can damage the nutrients and enzymes in these foods.

High quality pre-soaked and sprouted nuts and seeds are now available (I personally like this brand), but you can accomplish the same end result by soaking your own at home. It takes a little time investment, but is well worth the taste and nutrient benefits in my opinion.

How to Roast Winter Squash Seeds

Winter squash is a wonderfully versatile food that is easy to grow, easy to store and easy to cook. The whole squash can be used, including the seeds, and often winter squashes are available at great prices, making them an amazing budget friendly food.

In the Fall, I’ll often plan our family’s meals for the week around a large winter squash since one large squash (like a cushaw) since it can be a side dish on its own, a base for soups, pureed in smoothies and even the seeds can be roasted for a snack!

What is a Cushaw?

Cushaw squash are my personal favorite winter squash because of their large size (about 20 pounds) and inexpensive price (I get them locally for about $4.00 at a local farm). They can be hard to find in regular stores, but check with local farmers and gardeners to find them where you live.

If you do succeed in finding a good local Cushaw squash, save some of the seeds before you roast the rest! Cushaw are easy to grow but difficult to find seeds for, so save them if you find them! To save: pull out the desired number of seeds and let dry in open air on a clean cloth. When fully dry, store in an envelope for planting the next year.

If you have a few feet of extra space in your backyard that gets a little sun, you can easily grow a cushaw patch and let your children help! These squash are a great substitute for pumpkin or any other winter squash and your children will have a blast growing them.

Like all winter squash, they store easily in a cool place in your home or they can be chopped, sliced, or pureed to freeze for later use.

How to Roast Winter Squash Seeds

Winter squash seeds are a good source of magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium and other nutrients. Though they often get thrown away when preparing a recipe, they are a wonderful nutrient-packed snack and you can make them sweet (add honey and cinnamon) or savory (add salt herbs). One cup of roasted squash seeds has about 12 grams of protein (give or take, depending on the variety).

If you have kids, let them help you make this simple recipe and enjoy it as a family!

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How to Roast Winter Squash Seeds

prep 5 mins

cook 30 mins

total 35 mins

author wellness mama

A great way to use the seeds of any winter squash: cushaw, acorn, pumpkin, etc.

Ingredients

½ cup rinsed cushaw seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
Olive oil
Salt
Garlic
Paprika
Instructions

Bring the water to a boil
Add salt and seeds; simmer for 10 min (This process makes them more easily digestible)
Remove seeds from water and dry.
Spread seeds on a baking sheet
Very lightly drizzle with olive oil and stir to coat
Sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and paprika. (You could substitute any combination of seasonings here. Be adventurous!)
Baked in 325 degree oven for 30 min, stirring every 10 min

Super Healthy Seeds You Should Eat Daily

Seeds are packed with dietary fibre, protein, healthy fats and many antioxidants. These are the nutrient-packed seeds you should be eating every day

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are high in iron and folate (both essential nutrients), as well as bone-boosting calcium and magnesium. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fibre. Random note about chia seeds: Don’t eat the ones that come with the Chia pet. Do put chia seeds (you can buy them at health food stores) into smoothies, granolas and salads

Sunflower seeds

These are an excellent source of folate (which boosts immunity) and vitamin E (an antioxidant that protects cells from damage-and may help to prevent cancer)

Sacha inchi seeds

The next big thing? Yes. But sacha inchi seeds have been cultivated in Peru for centuries. Also called the Inca peanut, sacha inchi is touted as being among the best plant sources of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids.

Sesame seeds

Sesame is one of the oldest oil crops known; it is high in antioxidants and rich in protein. The seeds are also a source of zinc, which can boost sexual health in men because it helps with testosterone and sperm production.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a tasty source of iron, zinc, B vitamins, magnesium and protein, and have a high concentration of the amino acid tryptophan, which helps lower anxiety levels.

Hemp seeds

A complete protein, hemp seeds promote healthy hair and skin thanks to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Plus, they contain phytosterols, which are plant-based compounds that lower cholesterol.

Flaxseeds

A great source of soluble fibre, flax lowers cholesterol and makes you feel full longer. These seeds are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for brain health. As well, they are associated with boosting eye health, as they can lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Studies show flax may help prevent certain cancers.

Fennel Seeds: Exciting Ways to Add Saunf to Your Diet + Fennel Tea Recipe

Spices grow in abundance in India, in a staggering variety that baffles the mind and takes almost everyone by surprise. A regular Indian kitchen is usually flush with spices that are indispensable to regular cooking and almost a necessity in creating some exquisite and appeasing delicacies. One great thing about spices is the versatility that comes accompanied with them. Indian herbs and spices have long been customary in the Ayurvedic repertoire. Turmeric, popularly known as haldi, has been known as an all-rounder not only in the culinary field but also in taming some of the commonest health woes.

Today, the limelight falls on another special member of the world of spice – saunf. While many commonly use these humble seeds as a mouth-freshner, it also finds a dedicated spot in rustling some of the most lip-smacking Indian delicacies. The benefits of consuming saunf on a regular basis are many. According to Shilpa Arora ND, a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach, fennel seeds have health benefiting properties that help regulate blood pressure, tackle water retention, improve sight, relieve from asthma and also help purify blood.

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Fennel seeds are extensively used in North Indian cooking

In Ayurveda text books, saunf finds great mentioning. It is among those few ingredients that are known to balance the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Fennel seeds are great for digestion and have cooling properties. These can also help in tackling breastfeeding issues. Ayurveda expert Vasant Lad in his book, The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies notes, “1 teaspoon of fennel seeds can be boiled in a cup of water, cooled down and given to the baby in small quantities. This will help wash out kapha from the infant’s body. It will help stimulate the appetite and boost the digestive enzymes”.

 

Fennel seeds are best enjoyed raw, chewing on them and experiencing its sweet juice is something enjoyed by many across the country. Indian cooking also uses saunf to its full capacity, if you have been looking for ways to add more of this super spice in your diet here are some interesting ideas:

 

Soups and Salads

 

Believe it or not, adding fresh fennel seeds to your regular soups and broths with add a whiff of freshness and a burst of exquisite flavour to your soups. A sprinkling atop salads will give a whole new character to your meal.

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Add a burst of flavour by introducing fennel to your meals

Roasted is best

 

Take a tablespoon of fennel seeds and put them on hot tawa, allow them to roast evenly, mildly grind and use in a range of dishes – the quickest of all would be to whip up some raita adding freshly roasted, ground fennel seeds, chopped onions and some salt and pepper.

 

The bakes

 

Fennel seeds can be used in little quantities in baking larger, fuller savoury preparations.

 

Drink it

 

The easiest would be to simply add half a teaspoon of fennel seeds in your drinking water and sip on it all day long. Some people even add these to their daily cup of green tea. We love our freshly brewed fennel tea spiked with some of our favourite ingredients.

fennel tea

Fennel tea

How to make fennel tea

 

The recipe doesn’t get easier than this. Follow these fuss-free steps.

 

Take a teaspoon of saunf and grind them. It is best to use mortar pestle to ensure slow release of flavours.

 

Take ground fennel seeds and place it in a cup, pour boiling water and leave for 10 minutes.

 

Strain, add a bit of honey, tulsi leaves, black pepper or ingredients of your choice or simply enjoy plain.

 

Fennel leaves can also be used in the similar fashion, just that the leaves need to be in excellent health, free from any infestation. Let the leaves steep for 15 minutes