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As the saying goes, 'don't judge a book by its cover', the same goes for seeds - don't judge them by their tiny size! These minuscule yet mighty seeds are packed to the brim with nutrients such as protein, iron, fiber and antioxidants that all work together for better health and better skin.

Seeds are also incredibly easy to incorporate into our diets - just sprinkle them over your smoothie, or add them to your rice. Read on for 8 healthy seeds to incorporate into your diet!

1. Pumpkin Seeds

These nutritional powerhouses pack a ton of phytosterols, which have proven to help lower blood cholesterol. After scraping clean the inside of your pumpkin to create your favourite jack-o-lanterns, don't throw all that gunk away! Save those pumpkin seeds, top them with a little olive oil and salt, give them a good roast in the oven, and you'll have tasty seeds to snack on. These pumpkin seeds are tasty enough to be eaten alone, or you can sprinkle them over your oatmeal or add them into your favourite muffins!

2. Chia Seeds

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These tiny black seeds are an excellent source of protein and fiber - a 28g serving of chia seeds contains 10.6 grams of fiber and 4.4 grams of protein. These seeds are a vital part of a healthy diet, and have also shown to lead to better skin with their high antioxidant content. In addition to keeping our complexion clear and healthy, chia seeds also can aid in reducing the risk of diabetes. Research has shown that a high-fiber diet can help to curb Type 2 diabetes - so go ahead and gobble these tiny titans up to keep diabetes at bay!

3. Pomegranate Seeds

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The beautiful ruby seeds found in pomegranates boast a multitude of benefits. Not only are they juicy and refreshing, pomegranate seeds contain a type of antioxidants called flavonols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Pomegranate seeds also pack a ton of Vitamin C, which can offer protection against deficiencies in our immune system and skin wrinkling - all contributing to better skin and health!

4. Flaxseeds

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Flaxseeds are a great source of fiber and omega-3 fats, which work together to reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels in the body. However, the hard, fibrous outer-shell of flaxseeds are not digested by our bodies - which can inhibit the absorption of those precious omega-3 fats. When consuming flaxseeds, grind them up in a blender first to ensure that you reap the most out of these tiny seeds!

5. Sunflower Seeds

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Remember those brightly coloured, chocolate-coated snacks we used to gobble up when we were young? Yup, those sunflower seeds are actually good for us - but without all that colouring and chocolate-coating! Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, which can help to maintain healthy hair and skin by fighting off free radicals. Forget all your expensive face masks - beauty starts from a right diet!

6. Hemp Seeds

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While hemp seeds come from the same plant, Canabis sativa, as marijuana, they do not contain enough tetrahydrocannabinoids (THC) to make a person high. In fact, when THC is consumed and not smoked, they provide a plethora of health benefits to the consumer. Hemp seeds are rich in Gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA), which encourage hormone health in our bodies, therefore reducing the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.

7. Sesame Seeds

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Commonly sprinkled on top of our sushi and rice bowls, these tiny seeds pack 2g of protein per tablespoon, which aids greatly in digestion. A high-fiber diet results in healthy digestion by promoting bowel movement, which eventually aids in better absorption of all the valuable nutrients that we consume through sesame seeds. The organic compound, sesamol, protects DNA against harmful radiation which can be emitted from computers or our phones, and therefore reduces the risk of cancer.

8. Quinoa

Quinoa has been touted as one of the superfoods years ago - but what exactly is so amazing about this unimpressionable seed? The answer lies in its plant antioxidants called flavanoids, namely quercetin and kaempferol, which have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-viral effects in animals. This supergrain is also rich in magnesium, which works towards healthy bones and teeth. Best of all? Quinoa is gluten-free, so if you're looking to eliminate gluten out of your diet, quinoa is a perfect addition to your diet!

These 8 seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet - just top your yogurt, oatmeal or rice with them - the possibilities are endless. So, let your imagination run wild, and go forth to reap the benefits of these tiny nutritional powerhouses!

 

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Sugar - the sneaky substance lurking in almost everything we consume. Somehow, sugar always manages to find its way into our diet. Cakes, sugared drinks, candy and baked goods are usually the main sources of sugar in our diet. However, even savoury foods such as bread and rice contain sugar as well, making it all too easy for our sugar intake to spike.

While you have probably heard the saying “consuming too much sugar is bad for you”, chances are the consequences never fully registered in your mind. We all know too much sugar is bad, but how exactly does it detriment our body? Read on for a closer look on how excessive sugar consumption can ruin your health.

Obesity

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More often than not, sugary food are made up of ‘empty’ calories, which are lacking in nutrients and usually do not keep you full. Thus, this lack of satiety can lead to over-consumption of more foods that are high in empty calories. Accompanied with a sedentary lifestyle, these extra calories are stored in the body as fat and result in weight gain over time. If this bad habit further escalates, the risk of obesity will increase as well.

 

Insulin resistance

 

Insulin, a hormone, is responsible for regulating sugar levels in the human body. High insulin levels will convert excess glucose into glycogen to be stored in the body. Thus, a diet high in sugar will lead to prolonged periods of high insulin levels, causing the body to be desensitized to it. Eventually, glucose will build up in the blood as insulin loses its ability to convert glucose to glycogen. 

 

Type II Diabetes

 

This common disease often occurs as a result of insulin resistance. The persistently high blood glucose levels can eventually result in a multitude of other complications, such as high blood pressure and bad vision.

 

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Fructose is a component of table sugar and high fructose corn syrup (often found in processed foods). High consumption of sugar, especially fructose, can cause the liver to go into overdrive, triggering it to store fat more efficiently. A diet high in fructose can lead to a fat building up in the liver over time, leading to the phenomenon of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

 

Fatigue

 

The term ‘sugar rush’ should not be unfamiliar to any of us here. Unfortunately, bad news wait for those who rely on a mountain of sugary food for that spike of energy or adrenaline. After a sugar rush, unrelenting fatigue usually follows after the crash. This only results in craving for more sugar, which creates a vicious cycle. Sugar has also been known to trigger the release of serotonin, a sleep regulator, causing you to feel even more exhausted than before. So much for a sugar rush!

 

High blood pressure

 

Insulin resistance has shown to be linked to high blood pressure - consistently high insulin levels may cause the muscle surrounding the walls of arteries to grow faster than normal. This causes tense arteries and can restrict blood flow, eventually leading to high blood pressure.

Now that you know more about the detriments of a high sugar diet, make sure to cut down on it before your health goes down the drain. One great substitute for sugary drinks would be tea, which is sugar free and high in nutrients and antioxidants. Be sure to check out Nilufer Tea for some amazing organic tea options! They are not only delicious, but also contain a hint of subtle sweetness to satisfy your sweet tooth without giving you the unwanted health problems.

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