The Top 10 Healthiest Seeds you should Include in your Diet and Why?

Anyone that knows me knows that I am obsessed with seeds. All seeds include such a wide range of nutrients and added vitamins and minerals that are so important for the body! Seeds can be a great way to include extra vitamins and minerals, protein, good fats, fibre and extra texture to your food without even noticing it. I will always sprinkle seeds on top of my eggs in the morning or over my cereal or my salads for lunch just anything to get some extra fibre and nutrients into my diet and I love the crunch they give I think it makes eating more exciting.

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Here are the top 10 seeds that I think everyone should include in their diet. I have included the nutrient breakdown of each seed per 100g and what key nutrients make these seeds the most valuable in our diet! I have also shown a summary table at the end with all the vitamins and minerals present within each seed also.

1. Chia Seed

Small (1.5mm) oval-shaped black or white seed. In liquid chia seeds swell, forming a gel-like outside layer. High in fibre, rich in polyunsaturated fat (omega-3 fatty acids), protein, calcium, phosphorus and zinc. Also has good amounts of potassium and magnesium (Agriculture and Service 2018).

Nutrients per 100g: 2031kJ, Protein 16.5g, Fat 30.7g, Carbohydrate 42.1g, Fibre 34.4g

2. Sesame Seed

The most common sesame seed are of a white-cream shade and also black. The seeds are very small (5mm), flat oval shape with slightly pointy endings. Sesame seeds are high in copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and zinc (Agriculture and Service 2018). They also contain two lignans; sesamin & sesamolin which have been shown to possess cholesterol-lowering properties (Liang, Chen et al. 2015).

Nutrients per 100g: 2349kJ, Protein 17.7g, Fat 30.7g, Carbohydrate 23.5g, Fibre 11.8g

3. Sunflower Seed

Sunflower seeds are light grey in colour with a distinctive shape. They are coated with a black outer shell (shown in the image, surrounding the spoon) but are generally eaten without the shell. They are a good source of copper and vitamin B1 as well as manganese, selenium, phosphorus, folate & niacin. They also contain a good amount of mono & polyunsaturated fats (FSANZ 2019).

Nutrients per 100g: 2,394kJ, Protein 20.8g, Fat 51.5g, Carbohydrate 1.6g, Fibre 27.3g

4. Flaxseed / Linseed

Flaxseeds are small, oval-shaped thin seeds with pointy ends and deep brown in colour. Great source of dietary fibre, manganese, folate and B6 (FSANZ 2019). Linseeds also contain ligands which is a type of phytoestrogen said to help relieve menopausal symptoms. Best served freshly ground to get the maximum benefits from the seed.

Nutrients per 100g: 2067kJ, Protein 15.5g, Fat 42.2g, Carbohydrate g, Fibre 8.6g

5. Poppy Seed

Poppy seeds are very small sphere-shaped black seeds which are commonly used to coat breads and biscuits. In comparison to the other seeds listed, poppy seeds have close to the greatest potassium, calcium, magnesium and selenium content per 100g (FSANZ 2019), although they would rarely be consumed in such great quantities and therefore may even out.

Nutrients per 100g: 2097kJ, Protein 15.3g, Fat 41.6g, Carbohydrate 8.6g, Fibre 19.5g

6. Hemp Seed

Hemp seeds are small 5mm seeds and have a distinct circle shape with an in-dent which is a ‘cup-like’ shape. They are cream in colour with occasional hints of green. Hemp seeds contain the same amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids as walnuts per 100g which is double that of chia seeds. They are also a great source of protein and antioxidants. Click here to check out my post on antioxidants to find out all about them. They are one of the lowest carbohydrate & fibre sources containing 2g per 100g of seeds (Hemp Foods Australia 2019).

Nutrients per 100g: 3516kJ, Protein 32.5g, Fat 14g, Carbohydrate 2g, Fibre 2g

7. Pumpkin seed / pepitas

Similar shape to a flaxseed but larger in size and thicker in width. The pumpkin seeds have a green outer shell with a lighter meat inside. Pumpkin seeds have the highest protein quantity of all the seeds, adding 30g of protein per 100g of seeds. It also contains a good source of essential fatty acids, iron, zinc and omega-3’s (FSANZ 2019).

Nutrients per 100g: 2424kJ, Protein 30.2g, Fat 49g, Carbohydrate 2.9g, Fibre 6g

8. Quinoa Seed

Raw quinoa seeds are sphere in shape and poses multi-coloured properties as shown in the image on the right. Compared with traditional cereals, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it one of the few plant sources for complete protein (Agriculture and Service 2018).

Nutrients per 100g: 1550kJ, Protein 12.9g, Fat 6.5g, Carbohydrate 58.6g, Fibre 12g

8. Coriander Seed

Coriander seeds are often dried and used in cooking- particularly soups and curries. They are small (4mm) sphere in shape and have a brown outer shell with ridges running from a point on either side. Coriander seeds, similar to the coriander plant has a potent source of vitamin C as well as a high source of niacin & dietary fibre. Click here to check out my post on Vitamin C and find out more about it. Often used in hot pots and curries this seed is a good antioxidant (FSANZ 2019).

Nutrients per 100g: 1009kJ, Protein 12.4g, Fat 17.8g, Carbohydrate 8.4g, Fibre 41.9g

10. Cumin Seed

Cumin seeds are unique in shape and physical looks. They are small, long, thin seeds dark brown in nature and contain white stripes longitudinally down the seed. Cumin seeds are said to help lower total cholesterol & LDL cholesterol. They are also often used in cooking hot foods such as curries. They are interestingly a high source of protein, vitamin B2 and monounsaturated fats (FSANZ 2019).

Nutrients per 100g: 1782kJ, Protein 17.8g, Fat 22.3g, Carbohydrate 33.7g, Fibre 10.5g

Summary Table

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The truth behind Celery Juice – a nutritionists opinion

Celery juice: Is it good or bad for us?

The celery juice trend began when the ‘medical medium’ released his opinion on this vegetable juiced in the morning on an empty stomach by itself. If you want to see where this whole trend originated, click on the link here.

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In simple terms, celery juice is great- it has many benefits; it’s very high in potassium and other vitamins and minerals that are important for your body just as other vegetables, fruits and wholefoods have. I promote and encourage vegetable juices especially over fruit juices as they are a great way to get in those extra vitamins and minerals without the concentrated sugar aspect as in fruit juice, BUT when things are juiced all the important fibre it contains is stripped out.

Fibre is such an important part of the diet, it keeps the digestive tract functioning well and promotes good bacteria growth in the gut – very good for the gut microbiome! It even helps protect against cardiovascular disease and other digestive problems such as constipation and diverticulitis.

I am not in any way saying celery juice is bad- because it is a great thing to consume daily especially if it takes place of an extra coffee or sugary drink. Celery is made up of over 95% water which is an amazing way to rehydrate the body in the morning whilst getting in extra vitamins and minerals. It can however take place of something more beneficial for the body, variety of fruits and vegetables in the diet is so important because all different fruits and vegetables contain all different vitamins and minerals and if you’re consuming just the one vegetable juice every single day, you’re only getting the benefits of those one range of vitamins and minerals every single day. This means you are  missing out on all of the other vitamins and minerals your body needs from a range of sources.

Another thing to note if you are currently on the celery juice trend- be careful of where you Source your celery from because celery can be highly sprayed and contain chemicals that are actually harsh for the body so you maybe juicing celery and consuming it which is a great thing, but it may come with consequences without knowing. I know not everyone can afford organic produce but with celery I think organic is definitely beneficial especially if you’re consuming every single day, because chemical load can build up in the body and be potentially more harmful than good.

If you’re consuming Celery juice every morning and you feel great – please don’t stop doing it, because it does give you good benefits! BUT try to incorporate other vegetables in with the celery juice such as carrots, lemons, ginger, oranges, beetroot or even pineapple, because you can get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in every morning rather than just one range of vitamins and minerals from the one vegetable.

I hope this post helps some confused people out there! If anyone would like me to clarify any other myths floating around, feel free to comment and I can deliver a new post for you answering your question.

Have a great day everyone xx

The truth about “low-carb” and “ketogenic” diets; how to switch to fat for fuel

fat into fuel

Personally I hate using the word diet. I do not believe in diets or calorie restriction, I do not recommend it and I do not think it is effective both short term or long term. Here is a Nutritionist/Dietitian/Exercise Scientists perspective on low-carb and ketogenic diets and how to do it the right way if any way at all.

“Cutting carbs” has been fad which has been floating around for almost a decade now. The reason this diet makes me furious is that people who use this or have used this diet (I don’t blame you if you have also fallen into this trap, I was also one of these people years ago), is that this diet really does the opposite to what it is actually said to do. The fact is, cutting carbs or the keto diet or anything that significantly reduces calories in general or carbohydrates and uses up the bodies stored carbohydrates which are mainly held in the muscle and liver and some possibly still in the blood stream, really does cause a dramatic loss of weight over the first few days. However, this weight is not fat or muscle or any form of tissue- it is simply just fluid.

Carbohydrates hold on to water within the body (this includes sugars, carbs in vegetables, fruits, rice, bread, pasta it is all the same thing). As carbohydrates are stored as glycogen, for every 1 gram of glycogen held within your body, there are typically 3 grams of water stored with it (this ratio can increase and slightly decrease depending on the person), but this means for every 1 gram of glycogen you store, there are 3 grams of water holding onto it which means 1 gram of glycogen actually weights 4 grams.

The stored carbohydrates in the liver and muscle are very important for the body and act as a safety mechanism incase the body goes through a stage of danger in which your body needs a quick source of fuel accompanied by adrenaline, or you are undergoing exercise which is another stress requiring a quick fuel source. There are many reasons your body has these safety pockets of fuel and to empty them without replenishing them can cause many problems. One of these problems is stress. When you deplete these stores of glycogen and restrict your calories it causes the body to stress because it no longer has this safety net of extra fuel incase it needs to act quickly, it starts to think that the body is under starvation mode and there is not enough food around to support the normal human bodily processes.

For example, many girls find when they restrict their calories, they can completely lose their mensural cycle and period all together as the body assumes you are in a period of starvation with no food available, therefore it puts its primary focus on storing energy for survival and cannot afford to undergo any extra processes that require extra energy. This can happen no matter what the starting weight is.

In addition, it can disrupt hormone production, cause loss of sleep, thin and brittle hair and nails, no energy and just anything that the body feels is secondary to essential survival mechanisms like a beating heart and functioning body as a consequence of not receiving enough energy and essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients to sustain all the processes that go on within the body. Another consequence to the low carb dieting is the quick loss of water weight.

As you go on a low carb diet, the carbohydrates your body is storing for quick sources of energy deplete from your liver and muscle which takes with it all the water retained within each gram of glycogen. If this is not being replenished (ie. on a low carb diet), it can mean a quick and significant amount of weight loss which is essentially just water weight along with the approximately ~600g of stored carbohydrates (this can really vary between individual depending on liver and muscle size and amount). The more muscle mass, obviously the more glycogen stored and thus the more water weight held.

This low carb mechanism can also back fire if sustained for long enough as the body sees this as “starvation”, any food taken in during this starvation mode will be rapidly absorbed and stored as fat for energy which means when coming back off this low carb diet and eating as normal once again, you will have a higher percentage of stored fat plus the extra stored glycogen and water back on which may actually look like weight gain which can throw you off. HOWEVER, this can be avoided if you undergo this process in guidance with a professional like myself which will help to train the body to slowly adapt and utilise fat as a more preferred fuel source whilst keeping a healthy energy level, mensural cycle and functioning body. This way, done properly you can intake a higher percentage of good quality fats (which personally works better for myself) and a lower percentage of carbohydrates in your every day life with greater energy levels, better sleep, healthier hair, skin and nails.

A ketogenic diet starts off acting in the same way as a low-carb quick fix diet with the rapid weight loss due to the depleted carbs, however if done correctly the calories remain the same but are just higher in fat rather than carbohydrates which can actually work for some people. I don’t see the harm in this if done correctly, by slowly reducing the carbohydrate load weekly and increasing the fat load to the same amount of calories weekly which can cause the body to adapt to the fuel source and become more efficient at burning fat for energy, because a lot of healthy fats are so good for the body- as long as the vegetable and fruit intake is still significant and they still meet all the daily vitamin and mineral intakes that are required. Please consult a professional to do this though- I do not recommend trying to do this on your own.

If you are reading this and would like me to send you a detailed plan or compose a blog post on the proper way to switch through to a higher fat, lower carb diet and train your body to adapt to burning more fat as fuel rather than the preferred source of fuel: carbohydrates. You can do this without putting on that extra added weight gain and symptoms which occur with doing it quickly and incorrectly, please send me an email or comment below and I can arrange this for you- I would love to help.

I hope you guys got something useful out of this post today, as always let me know what you took away from this post or if I helped you in any way, I would love to hear your thoughts!

E xx

10 minute Homemade Gourmet Pizza Sauce!

My weekly Sunday healthy & easy recipe!

A homemade gourmet pizza sauce for the cauliflower pizza base I made the other day. I will like the recipe here. You can obviously use regular pizza bases with this gourmet sauce as well, but making your own sauce comes with so many benefits- not only it tastes so much better but you avoid added salt, sweeteners and sugar hidden in bought sauces.

This recipe contains a dense source of tomatoes which are rich in an antioxidant called lycopene, this can help strengthen your immune system and protect against free radicals in the body. It also contains a high source of vitamin C, potassium and vitamin K.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 tin of diced Italian tomatoes (or 1 cup of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 heaped tbl tomato paste
  • 1 tbl mixed herbs
  • Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh basil

Method

  1. In a saucepan heat the oil and add the garlic and onion and fry for 2 minutes
  2. Add the tin of tomatoes, paste, mixed herbs, salt and pepper and optional chilli
  3. simmer on medium heat for ~10-15 minutes until the sauce has thickened and then add the fresh basil leaves and sit for another 2 minutes
  4. Once sauce is at its desired thickness, remove from the heat & cool
  5. If you prefer a smooth consistency bled the sauce up to a smooth paste, otherwise leave chunky (I prefer chunky)

Easy Cauliflower Pizza Base (gluten, dairy, sugar free)

I love love pizza, but every time I eat pizza I get a stomach ache or bloating and feel so uncomfortable. Instead of restricting myself and just not eating pizza because it makes me feel like this, I like to come up with alternative recipes so I can still enjoy the stuff I love but it doesn’t make me feel like crap.

For so long I have struggled to make cauliflower pizza bases, I have tried so many different recipes. Buying gluten free (GF) bases cost so much extra than normal bases as well, so having an alternative that is easy and tastes so good (and much more filling) makes me so happy- I can enjoy pizzas knowing they don’t contain any gluten, dairy, sugar and processed ingredients!

I’m thinking from now on I will upload a recipe every Sunday, what do you guys think? I have had some good feedback on raw desserts- is this most popular or should I focus on savoury recipes? What would you like to see please let me know! Today’s weekly Sunday recipe is an easy gourmet homemade pizza sauce that I made to go on top of this pizza base so keep an eye out for Sunday!

This recipe makes 1 large pizza base (or 2 small pizza bases)

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cauliflower flower (2 1/2 cups), blitzed/grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbl mixed herbs (optional)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt

Method

  1. preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Add the almond meal, eggs, mixed herbs, baking powder, oil & salt into a mixing bowl
  3. Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor/blender (or even finely dice it) until rice-like consistency
  4. Steam the cauliflower for ~5 minutes until soft and let it cool
  5. Once cooled, place the cauliflower onto a clean tea towel or cloth and wring the towel out squeezing all the excess water out of it
  6. Once you feel like you can no longer squeeze any water out of the cauliflower add it to the previous bowl of ingredients
  7. Mix until it should feel like an oatmeal like consistency
  8. Line a pan with baking paper and spoon all the mixture onto the pan, spreading it out with your hands or the back of the spoon. Make sure it is all tightly packed together like shown in the image

  1. Spread it out thin or keep it thick- up to you. I kept mine quite thick and that way it stayed together better- see the photo below
  2. Cook in the oven for ~15- 20 minutes until solid enough and then take out, cool & add your toppings on top. I am releasing the recipe for this homemade pizza sauce on Sunday so stay tuned 😛

All about Vitamin C

As a Nutritionist, we work with numerous conditions that require supplementation of different vitamins and minerals and one of them is vitamin C. Vitamin C is obtained from the food we eat. It is so important for many things, some I will chat about today and also give you some food options to boost your vitamin C intake and some tips to boost the absorption of specific vitamins and minerals.

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In todays society, supplements are becoming increasingly popular which is a worry because supplements cannot be absorbed into the body as well as the vitamins and minerals we get from eating whole foods themselves. For example, an iron tablet containing the same amount of iron as a small piece of red meat will not be absorbed at the same rate or the same amount as the iron in the meat. How is this so?

Firstly, the iron contained within the meat is bound together and surrounded by all the necessary enzymes and co-factors which are required by the body to all work together to boost the absorption of the iron into the body. The tablet form of iron often does not contain these enzymes and cofactors and therefore the body has to work harder to get the iron across the intestinal lumen and into the body and often if an enzyme or cofactor is missing it wont be possible to get it through and therefore it is eliminated even though the body needs it. Some supplements also claim to contain these cofactors but they are an inactive form.

Secondly, when are minerals such as iron are eaten in a meal for example with red meat is eaten in a meal with vegetables the vitamins and minerals in those vegetables will also provide extra enzymes and cofactors to boost the absorption of iron. Vitamin C in particular in the presence of iron will capture it and store it in a more absorbable form which makes it easier for the body to absorb and boosts the absorption rate significantly.

Vitamin C enhances immune function by protecting the white blood cells (immune defence cells within the body) from oxidative damage. It actually enhances the absorption of iron from meat when eaten together which is really important when trying to increase iron levels or if you are anaemic (iron deficient).

The daily Estimated Average Requirements of vitamin C in different age groups is listed below, this data is retrieved from nrv.gov.au website linked. 

To put these values in perspective, if you consume 1 orange or 200ml of pure orange juice- no added sugar, this gives you approximately 50mg of vitamin C. Click here to check out my post on seeds to find out which ones contain the most vitamin C which is easy to add into the diet!

Age EAR RDI
All
1-3 yr 25 mg/day 35 mg/day
4-8 yr 25 mg/day 35 mg/day
Boys
9-13 yr 28 mg/day 40 mg/day
14-18 yr 28 mg/day 40 mg/day
Girls
9-13 yr 28 mg/day 40 mg/day
14-18 yr 28 mg/day 40 mg/day
Men
19-30 yr 30 mg/day 45 mg/day
Women
19-30 yr 30 mg/day 45 mg/day

EAR= Estimated Average Requirement, RDI= Recommended Dietary Intake

Studies have actually shown supplementing with vitamin C when you feel cold symptoms coming along can reduce the cold by 8% in adults and 14% in children. Some examples of high vitamin C foods are listed in my next post, released tomorrow!

Make sure to subscribe to the mailing list on the side of the post, so you don’t miss any future posts and as always if you have any questions related to anything nutrition/exercise be sure to contact me– I am always happy to help!

What are Antioxidants? Everything explained

Free radical damage can come from many things that put the body under stress. Things such as the sun, alcohol, toxins and pollutants, fatty foods, smoking and even exercise.

Essentially, free radicals can cause inflammation and typically causes ageing over time within the body, this is not something we can avoid but it something we can simply ‘slow down’. Apart from general ageing within the skin and bodily processes not working as efficiently as they used to, conditions caused by free radical damage can be cardiovascular disease, Type II diabetes, cataracts, macula degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Free radicals come in a few forms (reactive oxygen species): oxygen, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl molecules. These free radicals are unstable molecules which therefore makes them dangerous are they are then susceptible to reacting to enzymes, Low Density Lipoproteins and cell membranes within the body.

Antioxidants come in as they can stabilise free radicals by taking one electron away or adding one electron to the free radical molecule which makes it stable and therefore then unable to react within the body and cause damage.

Naturally we have antioxidant defence systems within the body and the reasons ‘antioxidants’ get promoted through food is because these antioxidant defence systems require co-factors for the enzymes to work and these cofactors can be taken in through food.

The endogenous antioxidant defence system is produced naturally within the body and has three enzymes which do require the following cofactors to work:

  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Selenium

If these minerals are deficient within the body, increasing the intake will boost your antioxidant capacity within the body.

The exogenis antioxidants which are provided from the diet consist of:

  • Vitamin A, E & C
  • Selenium
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Polyphenols

I hope this makes sense and can help you figure out why some things are marketed to have ‘antioxidants’, basically this is a marketing strategy and the food may contain some of these vitamins and minerals which mean they have co-factors that support our natural antioxidant defence system rather than containing antioxidants themselves.

In the next coming weeks I will be introducing these vitamins and minerals individually and talking about how we can increase these sources through our diet and why they are important. Any questions feel free to contact me!