When it comes to building optimum health, there’s no instructional manual or blueprint that would help you. While a vegetarian diet includes a plethora of foods, we have decided to focus on 3 life-saving longevity seeds that have proven their worth over time.
These seeds are often referred to as superfoods in many cultures and for a reason. Below, we look into these seeds and their health benefits, so you can gain a comprehensive understanding of why they were popular with Aztecs and Mayans, and still hold a top place in plant-based foods.
1. Kalonji (Nigella Sativa)
There are a few foods that have been used century after century. Kalonji or black seeds are one such food.
Archeological evidence has found these seeds in ancient Egypt and Turkey suggesting their widespread use for food and medicine.
Avicenna, a renowned Persian physician prescribed these seeds as a medicinal treatment for dyspnea. Research further points to the use of black seeds in the Middle East as a traditional medicinal treatment for several ailments.
Today, these seeds are known to offer health benefits for several illnesses including inflammation, digestive tract issues, diabetes, hypertension, and much more.
These seeds have been cultivated for over three thousand years, which solidifies their importance. But we can’t just start taking something because the Egyptians took it. We need to look at the scientific evidence before we can make that decision. So we did.
Here are the scientifically-backed benefits of Kalonji that will convince you to make it a part of your regular diet.
A) Kalonji can reduce weight
A study found Kalonji oil and powder to have positive effects on obesity in over 700 participants. The study concluded that the black seed oil and powder successfully reduced weight by around 2 KG. Kalonji seeds contain phytochemicals and phytosterols, which are considered active compounds for weight loss.
However, it is important to note that the seeds only work with lifestyle modifications. Always use seeds in moderation and after consulting with your health-care specialist.
B) Kalonji can strengthen your heart health
Our heart is one of the most important organs in the body, but it seems that it is neglected too often. In 2018, around 30.3 million US adults were diagnosed with the heart-related issue.
If you are looking to increase longevity, then you have to worry about your heart. Luckily, Kalonji seems to offer plenty of benefits for heart health.
A study found that these tiny little seeds can reduce the C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body, aiding in better heart health. High levels of CRP indicate inflammation and increased heart disease risk.
Kalonji is also known to reduce blood pressure and reduce triglycerides, which can also increase heart disease risk in adults. Additionally, Kalonji can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) promoting better overall health.
C) Kalonji can help with blood sugar levels
Another health concern that seems to be on the rise in diabetes. In the United States alone, over 10% of the population has diabetes.
Kalonji can help normalize blood sugar levels by reducing the sugar absorption rate in the blood and increasing insulin action. This, however, does not mean that you can have a bad lifestyle and then remedy it with Kalonji. The seeds work with good lifestyle habits.
D) Kalonji is packed with antioxidants
Antioxidants help against increased oxidative stress that can cause several health concerns including cancer and diabetes. The black seeds help neutralize free radicals that may contribute to the development of the chronic disease.
E) Kalongi has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
Kalonji oil or black seed oil is known to be a useful ointment for bacterial infections. Regular use may even inhibit the growth of various types of bacteria. Additionally, Kalonji can reduce inflammation in the body, protecting against the harmful effects of oxidative stress.
Kalonji can also protect against liver diseases and stomach ulcers.
How to use Kalonji or black seeds?
First, make sure that when you go out to shop for black seeds, you know how to recognize them. A lot of seeds look alike. In this case, black seeds look like sesame and chia seeds. Just because it’s black doesn’t mean it’s kalonji.
The black seeds have a teardrop shape and are dark black. If you pour them onto your hand, they may seem like tiny black teardrops. One other indicator to remember is the label Nigella. Kalonji will always be labeled Nigella seeds.
You can buy them raw, in a powdered form, or oil form. Most commonly, you will find these seeds raw (remember the teardrop shape). You can consume the powdered form with water, honey, or milk.
You can topically place the oil on the skin but only if recommended by your dermatologist. In general black seed is the oil that is safe to use on the skin.
If you have bought the seeds raw, you need to ensure that they are properly washed and soaked before you eat them.
2. Chia seeds
Next on the list are chia seeds. They pack an enormous punch of nutrients that are known to help with several ailments.
Just like Kalonji, chia seeds have been used for thousands of years and are known to be a dietary staple of Aztecs and Mayans. They are on top of the superfood list for their following health benefits:
A) Chia seeds have high nutritional value
One-ounce chia seeds contain 4 grams of protein, 5 grams of omega 3 fatty acids, 4 grams of fiber, and significant amounts of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B3, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2. Additionally, they contain a high content of micronutrients that are known to help with dietary balance.
B) Chia seeds are high in antioxidants
Like kalonji, chia seeds pack free-radical fighting antioxidants that delay the onset of age-related changes. These changes include weight gain, diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, and other changes in vision, heart, organ, and cognitive decline.
C) Chia seeds contain quality protein
Protein is the building block of our body, so do not underestimate its power. With up to 14% protein content, chia seeds can reduce obsessive eating and help you feel full so you don’t overeat.
This essentially helps you reduce weight in the long run. People who consume chia seeds daily can also improve their insulin levels, keeping diabetes at bay.
D) Chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids
Chia seeds are high in Omega 3s; however, researchers consider it to be a lower grade omega 3s. The human body is not good at converting ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) into EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid.
ALA must be converted into the latter two for efficient nutrient absorption. Therefore, studies recommend that vegans and vegetarians consider a fish oil supplement with their diet.
E) Chia seeds are full of bone nurturing nutrients
Chia seeds contain magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and protein all of which are important for bone health. They contain up to 18% of your daily RDA and contain boron, a key ingredient for bone strength.
F) Chia seeds help with chronic inflammation
Chia seeds contain caffeic acid, which is an excellent antioxidant for chronic inflammation. People who consume chia seeds regularly can fight off inflammation and keep inflammatory diseases at bay.
How to use chia seeds?
Just like Kalonji, chia seeds are small and black. Unlike Kalonji, they are rounder and aren’t exactly charcoal black. You can easily find chia seeds in any store.
To use chia seeds in foods, soak them in water for 2-3 hours. Some people even like to soak overnight. Both methods of soaking are fine.
Rinse them thoroughly before using them in yogurt, smoothies, and pretty much any drink. They are best used with drinks but you can also add them to other foods.
The third superfood seed on our list is quinoa We saved the best for the last. It supersedes all seed family foods as it contains all the essential amino acids. It’s high in protein and offers a gluten-free option for those looking to try a different diet.
Just like the two other life-saving longevity seeds in this post, quinoa offers a high nutrient profile. It is more nutrient-packed than any other seed. Its nutrient profile has attracted the attention of NASA experts who are looking to grow it in space because of its complete nutrition.
Following are some of the most common benefits of quinoa that will help you consider it in your daily diet.
A) Quinoa has a strong nutrition profile
Apart from its high protein content (and all the essential amino acids), quinoa has a diverse range of nutrients that include fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, calcium, vitamin E, and a plethora of beneficial antioxidants. These nutrients offer a combined health effect to promote overall health.
B) Quinoa is rich in flavonoids
Quinoa is high in kaempferol and quercetin, which offer antidepressant, antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory effects. With quinoa, you are ingesting an all-in-one ingredient for overall health.
C) Quinoa has a low glycemic index
Quinoa is one of the best foods for weight watchers and people who suffer from diabetes. With its low glycemic index, quinoa helps with insulin resistance, which helps in maintaining blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes can include quinoa in their diet to maintain sugar levels, while healthy people can include it in their diet to prevent abnormal blood sugar spikes. Since it helps with insulin resistance, it also makes a great alternative for those looking to reduce weight.
How to use quinoa?
Quinoa comes in red, black, and white color. It resembles salt grains only bulkier and turns into a fluffy mass upon cooking.
Just like the other two seeds, quinoa must be soaked before cooking. When sprouted, it offers additional benefits.
You can also choose to sprout the seeds. For that follow the following steps:
Step 1: soak the seeds to remove dirt.
Step 2: properly wash and strain the seeds in a container with a lid.
Step 3: now soak the washed seeds in the container and wait until you see small buds appear. This may take hours or a whole day.
Step 4: you can now rinse them again and store them in a cool dry place. They are ready to use.
Why should you always soak seeds before consumption?
Soaking seeds is highly recommended because it removes the dirt and other micro debris that could harm your health. Secondly, soaking removes phytic acid from quinoa seeds. The acid can hinder the absorption of nutrients by the body. Never eat any seeds without soaking for at least 2-3 hours.
The bottom line
Quinoa, chia, and kalonji are life-saving longevity seeds because of their rich nutrient profile. They have a little bit of everything that your body needs. If you can’t add all seeds to your diet, then pick one.
They all offer numerous benefits for your health and longevity. However, we recommend that you mix things up; try different seeds to get a wide range of nutrients in your diet.
Next, learn natural and scientific ways to stay young and healthy here.