Whether you’re a bodybuilder looking to gain weight and muscle mass with clean calories and protein in your shake or if you’re looking for plant based health benefits, adding seeds to your smoothie is a great way to sneak in vital nutrients to an already delicious shake.
Here’s a list of the best seeds for smoothie, pre- and post-workout. Plus, some of the reasons why these seeds are good for you.
What Are the Very Best Seeds for Smoothies?
Some of the healthiest seeds include:
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sunflower seeds
What Healthy Nutrients Do Seeds Have?
Seeds can provide a vitamin e boost for your skin or a healthy immune system during the winter.
These seeds are considered healthy because they contain essential nutrients like:
- Vitamin E
- Healthy fats
- Essential amino acids
- Monounsaturated fats
- Essential fatty acids
- Important antioxidant polyphenols
- Gamma linolenic acid
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Many other essential nutrients
What Are the Health Benefits of Plant Protein Sources?
The many health benefits of plant protein sources like seeds include:
- Reduce blood cholesterol levels
- Increase digestive health
- Contribute to a healthy diet
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Encourage healthy habits
- Reduce inflammation
- Have anti-inflammatory properties
- Reduce the risk of kidney stones
- Reduce the risk of breast cancer
- Reduce cancer risk
- Strengthen the immune system
- Stabilize blood sugar
Healthy seeds taste good in smoothies and bowls. Here are some seeds with favorite recipes.
After you add seeds, increase or decrease the liquids depending on if you prefer a thick bowl or a more liquidy smoothie:
Chia Seeds for Smoothies
Chia seeds are especially high in fiber, containing almost 10 grams per 1 ounce. They are also high in omega 3 fatty acids.
These seeds have a mild if not almost nonexistent flavor, which makes them pair well with a large range of other ingredients, and tossed in last, they give a satisfying crunch.
Since the chia seed has a natural gelling action, it can be used ground-up to thicken and add more bulk to smoothies and bowls.
Make a smoothie or bowl by combining all or any combination of the following ingredients with chia and a plant based milk (soy is delicious here):
- Soy milk
- Very ripe banana
- Maple syrup
- Frozen strawberries
- Frozen blackberries
- Frozen greens
Hemp Seeds for Smoothies
Hemp seeds have a nutty flavor and taste great with nut butter or nut milk to make a protein-packed smoothie or bowl. Or, balance hemp seeds with tart fruits, or with plain flavors for a deep, rich dessert.
Here are some delicious hemp seeds partners:
- Almond butter or milk makes a good hemp seed smoothie
- Frozen blackberries are reduced in tartness when combined with ground hemp seeds
- Frozen bananas can be combined with hemp seeds in smoothies or mashed frozen bananas and ground hemp seeds as a yummy dessert
- Cacao nibs add a deep flavor and fun crunch to the top of hemp milk-based smoothie bowls or can make a good cereal sprinkle mix with ground hemp seeds
Pumpkin Seeds for Smoothies
Pumpkin seeds are one of the largest seed sources of protein and magnesium. They ring in at 9 grams of protein in 1/4 cup, plus 45 to 60 percent of the daily recommended amount of magnesium in the same cup of pumpkin seeds.
Pumpkin seeds can be deliciously roasted (buy raw and roast yourself for a few minutes over dry heat), and add a smokey crunch to the top of smoothie bowls.
Or, use raw pumpkin seeds as a big protein boost by tossing a handful in a smoothie and blending the smoothie.
The seeds taste nutty and are often combined with cinnamon, mace, and other autumn foods.
Here are some fall combinations for a deep-flavored, post-workout breakfast on a cold morning that combine well with pumpkin seeds:
- Almond milk
- Cacao powder
- Wheat germ
- Frozen bananas
- Frozen butternut squash
Sesame Seeds for Smoothies
Sesame seeds are super high in zinc (22 to 31 percent of our daily recommended needs in 3 tablespoons), and the same 3 tablespoons also have 23 percent of our needs in iron.
Sesame seeds taste bright and nutty. They’re well known in Middle East cuisine, and you’ll likely find them paired with coconut, curry, turmeric, and seaweed.
Here are some exotic smoothie and smoothie bowl ingredients to combine with sesame seeds:
- Frozen banana
- Seaweed powder
- Coconut milk
- Shredded coconut
- Lemon zest
- Orange juice
- Sesame seed butter
Flax Seeds for Smoothies
Flax seeds are high in ALAs, lignans, fiber, and antioxidant properties. Grind the seeds before blending them to ensure they break open completely so your body absorbs the best of them.
The seeds hardly have any flavor, and they combine well with a range of proteins, vegetables, and fruits. You can choose yellow flax seeds or brown for the dark color.
- Almond milk
- Hemp or flax milk
- Frozen pumpkin
Flax seeds and blood pressure
Flax seeds are a big player in reducing high blood pressure. An interesting study showed that the consumption of flax seeds helped to reduce cardiovascular disease and other diseases, and the greatest effect took place when this seed was consumed over a long period of time, and in its most complete form.
Ground flax, for example, is a good way to reduce your chances of heart disease, but you should grind the seed at home rather than buy it ground in order to reap the most benefits.
Sunflower Seeds for Smoothies
Sunflower seeds are low in calories and high in fats, protein, and vitamin e. Some bodybuilders love these little seeds in their fibrous outer shell as a fun and protein-rich snack.
Where to Buy Seeds
Most commonly consumed types of healthy seeds are usually available at most grocery stores. Look in the bulk section for quantity freedom and lower prices, or check the snacks aisle.
The best seeds for smoothies are raw seeds. These have the highest nutritional value. You should read the labels well so you don’t accidentally buy funny-flavored mixes!
What Kinds of Nuts Are Good in Smoothies?
The best nuts to put in smoothies are fresh, unroasted, and unsalted. Choose walnuts to balance out super sweet fruits like bananas, pecans with creamy fruits like bananas and squash, and almonds with just about anything else.
What Are Good Smoothie Bases?
The best bases for smoothies are liquids with light flavors. Water works best with already super-flavorful smoothie ingredients and green smoothies, milks work well with fruits and vegetables with rich, creamy flavors, like squash.
Combining greens and water-dense vegetables with milk might make your smoothie taste bitter or unbalanced.
What Are Super Seeds?
Super seeds are seeds that contain a large number of nutrients. Some of the most nutrient-dense seeds include chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
How Many Seeds Should You Eat?
You should eat little seeds by the spoonful several times per week, and mixed with other ingredients or sprinkle them over meals.
Large seeds, like sunflower seeds, can be eaten in small handfuls several times per week.
Remember to vary the variety of seeds you consume to vary your nutrients.
Fiber-rich seeds like chia seeds should be consumed in moderation. You should also eat flaxseeds in moderation, as these little seeds can have big effects on bowel movements in some people.
Listen to your body and follow your bowel movements to know whether you could do with more, or if you’ve had a few too many of one type of food, and alter your intake based on how you feel and your fitness goals and personal diet.
Foods to Combine With Seeds
Foods to combine with this list of best seeds for smoothies include fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and meats like chicken and fish.
Foods that help bodybuilders lose weight and build muscle mass include plant and animal-based foods that are high in protein and nutrients.
Other Recipe Ideas With Seeds
Here are some other ideas for using seeds in your diet, both in bodybuilding, and to lower cholesterol levels or blood pressure, reduce your chance of heart disease, and to embrace these wonderful plant compounds in general:
- Chia seeds pudding: combine ground chia seeds with a sweetener like honey or maple syrup, and your favorite milk. You can even top with ground flaxseed or wheat germ if you’re looking for extra nuttiness and protein
- Fried chicken or fish: combine ground flax seeds or ground chia seeds with milk and egg whites for the batter
- Blend up a delicious smoothie with hemp seeds and acai berries
- Sprinkle little seeds or wheat germ over salad and soup
- Make a plant based protein powder or anti inflammatory, vegetarian protein with a blend of seeds and nuts and store it in the fridge and add to smoothies and cereal
- Sprinkle seeds over frozen fruit for a snack
- Add chia seeds to baked goods to replace egg
- Grind your own seed butter: sunflower seeds, whole chia seeds, and almonds make a tempting combo. Add a sweetener if you prefer, like honey, but avoid processed sugars to reduce inflammation and high blood pressure, and to reduce cholesterol and keep blood sugar levels low
Time To Make A Smoothie
It’s fun to play with plant-based protein sources and combine them with other plants, and there are an unlimited amount of combinations that you can create in your own kitchen to amp up your post-workout routine.
Remember that most nutrients are found in raw, recently harvested plants. Look for unsalted, un-roasted nuts and seeds when making smoothies with seeds.
We’d love to see what your favorite smoothie looks like, snap a photo and let us know on twitter.