A simple recipe for a great savoury seed snack!
Finding healthy foods for kids and adults to snack on, particularly ones that are portable, can be a huge challenge. Seeds are a great solution (they’re a source of protein and healthy fats, helping to keep our blood sugar levels balanced) but they’re often seen as an unappetising, boring solution when compared to processed snacks. Our healthy, savoury seed recipe is different – and one that’s going down so well with friends, family and clients, that we thought we’d post the recipe here. My only issue with these is not devouring the whole jar in one go!
I do on occasion, inwardly cringe when I ask clients to raise their intake of nuts and seeds as it seems such a cliché. But I’m a big believer that nuts and seeds (unless you’re allergic) should be a regular part of everyone’s diet. They’re a fab source of healthy fats, essential fat-soluble nutrients and fibre, and they can also help to rebalance inflammation levels.
Many chronic illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, eczema, and automimmune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease have inflammation at their core. Inflammation has never been so predominant as in today’s society.
A simple and effective way to ‘switch off’ inflammatory pathways in the body is to ensure that we’re getting the right balance of fats in our diet; our hunter-gatherer ancestors had an Omega 6 to Omega 3 balance of anywhere between 1:1 to 4:1. The Western diet, with our high intake of processed foods, vegetable oils and low intake of ‘natural’ plant foods, oily fish and pasture-fed animal products, averages around 20:1.
The net effect? Inflammation.
Contrary to some media reports, Omega 6 fats aren’t bad – we just need to be more picky about our sources of them (such as skipping the processed vegetable oils commonly used for cooking and getting our intake from nuts, seeds and small amounts of cold-pressed oils) at the same time as raising our intake of Omega 3 fats (oily fish and shellfish, sea algae, specific nuts and seeds, organic milk, and pasture-fed meat) to even out the pathways.
When we work on a one to one basis with clients, we frequently use essential fatty acid laboratory testing, particularly when there’s any sign of an inflammatory condition. This gives us an overview of the Omega 6:3 ratio, as well as extra detail on how well we convert these essential fats onwards down the anti-inflammatory (or inflammatory) pathway. The test results also provide clues as to whether we may need to supplement Omega 3 or 6 fats, as well as nutrients we may need more of (such as B vitamins, zinc or magnesium) in order to convert those essential fats into the anti-inflammatory compounds that are so important. Insulin also inhibits the conversion of fats, so it’s important to take a good look at sugar and processed food intake and reduce if necessary.
Eating seeds such as pumpkin, chia, flax and hemp is an easy way to get a little extra Omega 3 into the diet. Another great benefit is that the seeds come ready packaged – complete with many of those nutrients that are needed to convert the fats down to the anti-inflammatory end products. They’ll also fill you up so you’re less likely to want a sugary snack; stable blood sugar levels don’t see erratic insulin swings, and balanced insulin favours anti-inflammatory pathways.
You could use any seeds in our recipe, but we like to use Omega 3 containing pumpkin and hemp seeds, as well as sunflower seeds – which are one of the best sources of Vitamin E. You can find hemp seeds in most supermarkets or health shops – and they add an extra ‘crunch’. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are also both a great source of phytosterols – helping to support the immune system, as well as lower cholesterol. Try adding a little cayenne or chill flakes for extra flavour!
We hope you enjoy these seeds as much as we do! Let us know how you get on in the comments below, on twitter or on our facebook page and don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter to receive more recipes, nutrition tips and expert advice.