Submitted By: Dana Hawthorne, MScFN, RD
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

With the start of the New Year, we can expect to see new trends in food and nutrition throughout 2017.

Trend 3: Seeds
Seeds are the third trend in food and nutrition for 2017. This includes chia, flax, hemp, poppy, sesame and sunflower seeds, just to name a few. These small but mighty seeds are packed full of nutrients like essential amino acids, calcium, zinc, copper, magnesium, fibre and phytochemicals. Seeds may help to improve cardiovascular, digestive, immune and bone health.

Recently there’s been a lot of emphasis on heart health and meat alternatives. Credible sources of health information are recommending that we lower our intake of saturated fats, which are found in fatty cuts of meat and poultry skin, and to also avoid trans fats that are in commercially baked goods and fried foods, for example. We’re encouraged to opt for more heart healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Examples of monounsaturated fats are canola and olive oils, and polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 fats which are in fatty fish. Along with the nutrients mentioned above, seeds are a good source of these heart-healthy fats, which makes them a perfect addition to a variety of meals and snacks!

Get creative with seeds when adding them to meals and snacks, they’re very versatile. You can sprinkle seeds in cereal or yogurt; add them to a smoothie, salad, soup or homemade muffins and breads. You can also try adding seeds to stir-fries, casseroles or use them to make vinaigrettes.

Trend 4: Ancient Grains
Ancient grains are exactly what their name implies. They are grains that have been planted and harvested for thousands of years. Certain ancient grains are not grains at all but are actually seeds or grasses. Some examples of ancient grains are: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and spelt. The connectedness of the world today allows us to learn more about other cultures and different foods, so consumers are looking for more diverse food choices, such as ancient grains. These ancient grains are becoming more common in grocery stores and in prepared products like bars and cereals.

Whole ancient grains are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. People who eat more whole grains, including ancient grains, may have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Certain ancient grains, like barley and quinoa, have additional health benefits. Barley has soluble fibre which may help lower cholesterol levels, and quinoa is a complete protein as it has all 8 essential amino acids.

Some tips for using ancient grains might be:
Use barley or quinoa instead of rice in recipes
Add barley to soup
Replace half the flour in a recipe with barley or quinoa flour
Eat these grains like a hot cereal and top with fruit, cinnamon, nuts or seeds
Use them to make a creative salad or side dish

For more information, visit our website at, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter, or call the Health Action Lines at 1-800-660-5853.


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