Photo: Mauricio Alejo

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"Big bang for your buck"—that's how dietitian Patricia Bannan describes seeds. "All the nutrients needed to nourish a new plant are bundled into each little kernel," explains the author of Eat Right When Time Is Tight. "So every seed is a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and essential fatty acids." Here are four seeds Bannan says are worth digging up to add flavor, texture, and a potent antioxidant kick to your meals. (Check your local grocery store or


Nutty-flavored seeds that provide the most nutrition when ground.

Some studies suggest that flaxseed may help prevent everything from heart disease to cancers (like breast and ovarian) that are sensitive to hormones; and a 2010 study in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that it may even help reduce belly fat. Two of flax's secret weapons: omega-3s and phytoestrogens called lignans (flax has more of these plant compounds than any other food).

For a nutritious breakfast smoothie, blend 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed, 1 Tbsp. flax oil, 1 cup carrot juice, 1 banana, 1 Tbsp. avocado, 1 kale leaf with the stem removed, and ice.