Seeds and berries have been eaten for many centuries and are often used to boost health and increase longevity. Some are also used as medicinal purposes and most are easy to add into our daily meals. I’ve been eating certain types of seeds and berries since I was a child and started giving my son the same type of seeds and berries when he was younger as well. Our favorite health-boosting berry is the Goji berry, which originated in China and have an awesome amount of health benefits. Goji berries were used in ancient times to increase one’s overall immunity as they contain high levels of antioxidants. They’re naturally sweet and versatile and make a great snack for adults and children. I often give my son a handful of organic dried Goji berries to munch on throughout the day and he likes them as is, without needing to add the berries into food or beverages. However, every so often I like to include them in my cooking just to liven up my dishes and to add some extra nutrition. Below is a recipe of adding Goji berries into my homemade granola. It adds a certain flavor and texture to the granola making people wonder what that unique taste might be.
Adding super seeds and berries into your daily meals is important in maintaining overall health and vitality. But so many people are unaccustomed to eating certain types of seeds and berries. While berries such as strawberries and blueberries have their own health benefits, it’s good to add in some uncommon ones simply because we should increase foods that are better for us. Berries such as Acai berry, Goji berry, and Sea berry are not as commonly known but they sure pack a hell of a punch when it comes to antioxidants and other healing factors such as anti-inflammatory, increasing blood circulation which is crucial for overall health, and preventing certain types of cancers and chronic illnesses. It’s easy to add these types of super berries into your food whether eating them raw, blended into smoothies, or added into soups and baked sweets. Because super berries are more nutritious than most common types of berries, increasing your intake of them can only be beneficial to your health.
Super seeds are seeds that include flax seeds, chia seeds, and sesame seeds. Super seeds contain high levels of nutrients that help your body fight off diseases and increase your mental sharpness. Plus they are easy to assimilate into what you already eat on a regular basis. Most of these types of super seeds can be used in oil form so you can replace traditional vegetable or corn oil with flax seed oil and sesame oil. Sprinkle chia seeds on top of your yogurt or cereal. Add flax seed oil to your hot dishes. And sesame oil is a great flavor enhancer for most Asian recipes. Just be sure not to overheat these oils as they do lose some of their health boosting qualities during high heat. I usually add sesame oil until the very end of cooking to draw out the natural elements of my dishes and to enhance the flavors. I use flax seed oil in place of fish oil for important Omega fatty acids and Chia seeds like to go into my yogurt and smoothies.
There are many beneficial factors to using super berries and seeds and when you find creative and delicious ways of adding them into your food, not only are you increasing your palate, but you’re helping your body become better than it already is. One of my favorite ways of using Goji berries – as mentioned above – is to add them into my homemade granola. As a long time user of Goji berries, I was challenged by the brand, Sunfood Superfoods (http://www.sunfood.com/) to find a creative way of using their organic Goji berries. Of course I love a good challenge whenever it comes to my favorite health food so I put the Goji berries into homemade granola. While I have already done this in the past, I usually make good old fashioned granola without any additional ingredients other than the core ingredients. But thinking about unique ways of eating Goji berries besides as they are, I recall the delightful and uniquely sweet taste of Goji berries in my traditional granola recipe. Below you will find the Granola with Goji berries recipe that I hope you will try for yourself and enjoy as much as I do.
With week 3 of our Healthy 2017 goals, let’s try and incorporate more super seeds and berries into our lives. I’ve listed some of the best super seeds and berries that can be added into foods or eaten as they are. If you can enjoy them in their raw form without cooking them, you’ll find that these super seeds and berries are delicious just the way they are.
Chia Seeds – Chia seeds offer a mild nutty flavor and has a delicious crunch to them. For an ounce of raw Chia seeds you’ll get about 4 grams of protein in which you’ll typically use about 2-4 teaspoons in a recipe. Chia seeds also contain fiber, calcium, phosphorous, and manganese. Chia seeds are great sprinkled into cereal or yogurt but can also be cooked into almost any dish you’d like. Chia seeds are great as Chia seeds pudding where seeds are soaked overnight with almond milk to create a slightly gummy texture. Once Chia seeds have been soaked or cooked, the texture and flavor changes slightly so be creative in how you use these delightful seeds.
Flax Seeds – Flax seeds have a slightly crunchy texture to them and contain about 5 grams of protein to one ounce of seeds. Flax seeds are full of fiber, thiamin, and magnesium and are a great powerhouse in preventing heart disease and other ailments. Flaxseeds are great for vegetarians and vegans as they provide a high amount of non-animal Omega 3 fatty acid. Mix flaxseed into soups, cereal, granola, ice cream, and virtually anything you can eat. You can also use Flaxseed oil in your cooking or baking. Because Flaxseeds are small seeds, beware of choking hazards for children.
Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds contain about 5 grams of protein to one ounce of seeds. These kid-friendly seeds contain fiber, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, niacin, zinc, and many other beneficial nutrients. Eat them straight out of the shell or you can toast them in the oven for a delicious extra crunch to add into cereal, baked goods, and even Asian food stir-fry!
Hemp Seeds – Hemp Seeds contain 9 grams of protein per one ounce of seeds. Not to be confused with marijuana, Hemp seeds are full of iron, magnesium, and zinc. Hemp seeds are often found mixed into cereal, trail mixes, and smoothies.
Pomegranate Seeds – Pomegranate seeds contain about one gram of protein per one ounce of seeds. When it comes to antioxidants, Pomegranate seeds are up in the charts along with Vitamins A, B, and C, folic acid, and fiber. Pomegranate seeds are generally eaten raw as they offer a delicate crunch and a tangy-sweet bite. You can also find pomegranate juice either as a blend or 100%. For full health benefits, it’s best to eat Pomegranate seeds raw and in 100% juice form.
Sesame Seeds – Sesame seeds typically come in white, brown, or black versions with black sesame seeds containing the most flavor. Sesame seeds contain about 5 grams of protein per one ounce of seeds and are full of health benefits including fiber, thiamin, Vitamin B6, calcium, and iron. Sesame seeds are very versatile when it comes to cooking with them. Black sesame oil contain numerous health benefits as well as producing a rich and nutty flavor when cooked or drizzled over food. Use sesame seeds in cereal, soups, baked goods, and sesame oil in stir-frys and in salad dressings.
Acai Berries – Acai berries hail from indigenous trees in South America and are packed with amino acids, healthy fatty acids, antioxidants, and protects against chronic diseases and illnesses. Acai berries are great eaten raw but are mostly enjoyed in smoothies or blended into yogurts. Acai berries yield a slightly tart taste and can be mixed into trail mixes.
Blueberries – Blueberries are full of delicious flavors and health benefits and children love to pop them into their mouths as a natural snack. Blueberries pack an impressive amount of antioxidants, manganese, fiber, and Vitamin K. Blueberries are known to help fight off diseases including certain types of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Try blueberries in a delicious fruit salad, blended into smoothies, stirred into yogurt, and baked into scrumptious sweets.
Cranberries – Cranberries contain a group of flavonoids called proanthocyanidins, which help lower the risk of urinary tract infections. Cranberries help support the blood system and may prevent certain types of cancer as well as promote heart health. Cranberries are typically very tart if eaten raw so try mixing raw cranberries into smoothies or baked goods. The dried versions are great as a snack on its own or mixed into trail mixes and oatmeal. Get children to eat cranberries by baking them into muffins such as the Cranberry-Almond muffins.
Goji Berries – Goji berries are bright, orange and beautiful little berries that are a powerhouse in health benefits. Originally used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Goji berries have become quite popular throughout the decades in the US mainly due to its immunity boosting and disease fighting abilities. Goji berries are full of Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and lycopene. Goji berries are known to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, maintain eye health, and nourish the kidneys and liver. Goji berries also provide natural energy and vitality, increase metabolism, and helps support the blood system. Goji berries are usually sold in dried form but if you own a Goji berry plant, mix the berries into smoothies or baked into sweets. Dried goji berries are wonderful as they are – they’re incredibly sweet and has a slightly chewy texture. Mix Goji berries into yogurt, salad, and homemade trail mix.
Goldenberries – Goldenberries, or Incan berries are traditionally grown in South America and are rich in fiber, and Vitamins A , B, and C. Like Goji berries, Goldenberries provide natural energy and helps regulate the metabolism. Goldenberries also have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds so they’re great to munch on throughout the day. Goldenberries are typically sold in dry form and are great mixed into trail mixes, yogurt, and cereal as they do have a slightly more tangy taste.
Mulberries – Mulberries look similar to blackberries or rasberries and contain high amounts of polyphenols which supports heart health. Mulberries are also rich in Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Naturally sweet with a tangy flavor, Mulberries can be eaten raw just like similar berries or mixed into yogurt and baked goods.
Sea Buckthorn Berries – Sea Buckthorn are small, yellowish-orange berries grown primarily in Asia. Considered to be most prominent in Omega 7’s, which can only be found in certain foods, Sea Buckthorn berries also contains Omegas 3,6,9 which are essential in the development and nourishment of skin, hair, and nails. Sea berries also help control cholesterol levels and boosts the immune system. Sea Buckthorn berries contain cancer-fighting flavonoids and cartenoids and contains a high level of Vitamin C. Sea berries are mostly used in natural beauty products and as a natural juice. Two ounces of Sea Buckthorn berry juice contains about 40 milligrams of vitamin C, which is approximately 45 to 55 percent of your daily needs.
Super Goji Berries Granola Recipe:
- 1 1/4 cups regular rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup apple juice or water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup goji berries, chopped berries yield about 1/4 cup(http://www.sunfood.com/food/goji-berries.html)
- 1/4 cup dried fruit of your choice ( best with dried papayas or pineapples)
- 1/4 cup dried nuts, chopped if you prefer
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheet with canola oil (or line baking sheet with nonstick foil). In a medium bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, goji berries, (and other dried berries or nuts to your preference). Mix well. In a small bowl, combine the apple juice or water and mix into honey. Mix well.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until the mixture is fully combined and moist. Spread the mixture on the greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and stir, breaking the large chunks into smaller pieces. Bake for an additional 8 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool. While still warm, stir to break up any remaining chunks. When completely cool, store the granola in an airtight container.
So the next time you’re at the grocery store, look for these super berries and super seeds. You can find most of these seeds and berries at your natural grocery store or online through major e-commerce such as Amazon and Vitacost.com. Don’t be afraid to try any of these super berries and seeds. They are super healthy and nutritious and tastes absolutely unique and delicious.
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