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Seeds of Life

Orange Icon  Seeds of Life

Orange Icon  Seeds of Life

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They say that variety is the spice of life. I don't know if that's totally true - things can get too spicy - but there's one thing I know for sure:

Monotony is the death of diets.

So many people I know - friends, clients, even family members - are ultimately thrown off their healthy eating goals when they stare down at their dinner plate and realize they've eaten exactly the same thing every night for a week.

Luckily, there are easy ways to add some variety to even the most common dishes. Added bonus: That variety will also add a vitamin- and nutrient-rich punch to any meal, instantly making your salad or entree delicious and nutritious.

I'm talking about seeds. Sesame, teff, flax, and chia seeds are all teeny tiny sources of a rich array of vitamins and nutrients that anyone dedicated to healthy eating should consider adding to their diet.

Here are four of my favorites:

Sesame Seeds: A staple of many Asian dishes, sesame seeds are rich in zinc, fiber, iron, and calcium. There's also evidence that they can lower blood pressure. The next time you're making a stir fry, add some sesame seeds to the mix.

Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are much better in your food than growing on a ceramic statue. Rich in antioxidants and Omega-3s, chia seeds can add a nutrient kick to even the most basic meals. Their slightly nutty flavor also adds a nice, mild flavor to salads, cereals, or mid-afternoon shakes and snacks.

Teff: Proving once again that size isn't everything, the teeny tiny teff seed - among the smallest in the world - is surprisingly nutrient rich. Abundant in aluminum, iron, zinc, and magnesium, among other minerals, teff is also a source of all eight essential amino acids. Although teff is a grain, it is safe for people suffering from celiac disease. Once cooked, teff can be eaten alone or as a cereal, or you can add it to soups or other dishes.

Flaxseed: Possibly my favorite seed, flax has seen its popularity soar in recent years, due to its extraordinary nutrient content. Omega-3s, fiber, antioxidants - flax has it all, combined with a subtle flavor that makes adding it to any dish a cinch. Just remember to grind the seeds before you eat them, since whole flaxseeds are not efficiently broken down by your digestive system. Once ground, add flaxseeds to your protein shakes, yogurt, soups, or salads.