This week is National Public Health Week.
Since 1995, the American Public Health Association has encouraged communities across the country to observe National Public Health Week (NPHW) each April.
The big push this year is to highlight prevention and wellness.
One major theme of the campaign is to encourage healthy eating and regular exercise for families. Making small, everyday changes can go a long way toward decreasing the risk of preventable death from causes such as heart disease, cancer and stroke, says the APHA.
Adding seeds to the diet in moderation is one way to boost vitamins and fiber, says nutrition expert Michelle Gorman, RD, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.
Gorman, who has served as a nutrition supervisor for the Chandler School District, encourages families to give these six seeds a try in recipes and for snacking:
Contain phytosterils and help reduce bad cholesterol. These are loaded with the good healthy fats.
Pepitas are pumpkin seeds from other varieties of pumpkins.
They’ve been a part of Mexican cuisine for centuries and are often used in salads.
A complete protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s basically equivalent to eating an egg, says Gorman. Add hemp to the diet by making shakes or smoothies, or sprinkling the seeds over fruit or a yogurt parfait.
Flax seeds are extremely high in fiber and reduce constipation and bloating.
They are also high in omega-3, too.
Flaxmeal can be used in baking.
High in folate, which is key for women of child-bearing age to fight off risks of birth defects such as spina bifida. Wheat germ can also be found in lots of yummy cereals such as granola, says Gorman. “It’s tasty in cottage cheese too.”
You’ll also need wheat germ for Karen’s cookies.
High in vitamin E and often acts as an antioxidant, fighting off wrinkles, says Gorman.
“Who knew sunflower seeds could perform as an anti-aging trick?” she added.
Sunflower seeds also help fight heart disease, and are especially popular in baseball and softball dugouts.
Just be careful that your athlete doesn’t over-do the fiber and eat too many of the husks of the seeds.
Loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, and they have among the highest antioxidant activity of any whole food – even more than fresh blueberries. And they also help keep the blood pressure and blood sugar under control.