While the usual suspects Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin and Villanova universities landed the top seeds in this year's March Madness, smart oddsmakers kept an eye out for a Gonzaga-type emergence of an unexpected seed. And you should do the same! The top unexpected seeds that deliver a slam dunk for your ongoing health and help you achieve a younger RealAge? Chia, flax and sunflower.
Chia seeds: Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 linolenic acid (heart-, skin- and romance-friendly!), more calcium (ounce for ounce) than milk, plus phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. For the most benefit, choose ground whole chia seeds. They can boost blood levels of omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid by 58.4 percent and eicosapentaenoic acid by 38.6 percent, compared with eating the whole seed. Sprinkle them over salads and add to soups and casseroles.
Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds deliver protein, fiber, phytonutrients, phytoestrogens and omega-3 fatty acids. Health Canada has verified the claim that ground whole flaxseed helps lower total and, specifically, lousy LDL cholesterol. They say 2 tablespoons a day supplies 40 percent of what's needed to bring it all down court! Bake into 100 percent whole-wheat bread and add to soups and smoothies.
Sunflower seeds: They're the third seed, because although they deliver healthy fats, protein, fiber, phenolic acids and lots of phytosterols, which block absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, they also contain choline, and we don't want you getting too much of that! These you can snack on whole.
Call it a slam dunk or swish - bet on these seeds, and you're moving up in your bracket!
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.