Store-cupboard staples

October 27, 2011

Nuts, seeds and grains make the basis for sustaining breakfast bowls. They are rich storehouses of nutrients and slow release fuel, which provide the energy source for your daily activities. Here is a list of my regular selection. I always rotate them, having at least four different kinds in any one week, and suggest you do likewise. Variety is important for a decent spectrum of nutrients; besides which, it keeps things interesting.

Almonds – contain a wide range of minerals and has excellent cholesterol-lowering properties. Great flavour.

Brazil nuts exceptionally high levels of selenium. Also good for vitamins B and E.

Buckwheat (actually a fruit seed) – gluten-free and alkalising. Rich source of iron and rutin for building blood and strengthening capillary walls. High in Omega 6, protein, fibre, B vitamins, and minerals especially boron which helps to harden the bones, protecting against osteoporosis. Can be good for managing blood sugar and cholesterol.

Cashews – a very rich source of minerals and essential vitamins such as the B complex. Can help prevent age related macular degeneration. Very soft and creamy.

Chia seeds – gluten-free and hydrophilic. An exceptional source of Omega 3, anti-oxidants, fibre and a range of minerals notably calcium and protein (in fact, 5 times that of milk). Good for regenerating body tissues and building endurance.

Flaxseeds (aka linseeds) – gluten-free. A rich source of vitamin B, folate, and lignan phytonutrients. Excellent source of both Omega 3 & 6, protein and fibre (often prescribed to ease constipation). Has cancer protecting properties, and will benefit your heart, brain, and lower cholesterol. Grind them first.

Hemp seeds – are a distinct variety of the cannabis plant. Rich in Omegas 3 & 6. High in protein, vitamins and minerals. Will boost your immune system.

Oat grouts (the whole grain with unpalatable outer shell removed) – less likely to affect those with mild gluten-intolerances if soaked beforehand. A fabulous source of minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, selenium. Contains vitamins B & E, high in fibre. Good for lowering blood pressure, has slow-release carbs., and helpful for managing diabetes.

Pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)good source of essential fatty acids, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, and copper, protein, and vitamin K. Anti-inflammatory benefits for those with arthritis, and can help lower cholesterol. May promote prostate health, and protect bones.

Quinoa – a seed related to the spinach family. Gluten-free. Full of protein, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Is cancer protecting and can help balance your blood sugar levels so is helpful to diabetics.

Sesame seeds – very good source of manganese and copper. Also of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1 (thiamin), zinc, fiber, and healthy fats. Contain lignans, which are anti-carcinogenic, and phytosterols, which block cholesterol production. Provides relief for rheumatoid arthritis, supports vascular and respiratory health. Like flax, the nutrients are better absorbed if seeds are ground or pulverized.

Sunflower seeds – excellent source of vitamin E and linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid), fiber, protein, and minerals such as magnesium and selenium. High in cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. May help provide anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits.

Walnuts – ranks above other nuts in nutrition with almost twice as many antioxidants. A fabulous source of protein, and fibre.

For additional information on the nutritional values of nuts, grains and seeds, please look at this chart from Dr. Decuypere. I also recommend this article by Amie-Sue, with useful pictures about the common oat: Raw oats vs. standard oats. Finally, here’s an early video of me making up a flaxseed porridge.


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