• Jamie McDermott, MS, RD

There's a New Seed in Town

Updated: Apr 18

First flax, then chia, and now, basil seeds are getting lots of attention.

You've probably heard of the health benefits of flax and chia seeds. They are touted as superfoods, and rightfully so. Each of them are unique in their own way, but both offering high levels of antioxidants, protein and fiber.


Recently, the new seed in town that's garnering the attention of many health conscious folks, is derived from the sweet basil plant. Basil seeds, also known as sabra seeds, are actually not a new food. They have been used in Western medicine for thousands of years.


Upon first sight, one may confuse them for chia seeds. But take a closer look, and you will notice that basil seeds are smaller, rounder, and almost black in color. Like both chia and flax seeds, they form a gel like consistency when submerged in water. This "gel" is indicative of the high levels of soluble fiber, which is used not only as a thickening agent, but also to help with regularity, appetite, and to lower cholesterol levels.


Foods containing soluble fiber like basil seeds are stars in the weight loss arena. The bulk and fiber provided by basil seeds (after they are soaked and swell) helps to increase fullness, decrease appetite, and delay stomach emptying. When we eat foods that make our stomachs full, a signal is sent to the brain that tells us to stop eating. The calories from fiber are also not digested or absorbed - basically, they fill us up without filling us out. Ounce per ounce, basil seeds have almost double the fiber as chia seeds.

Basil seeds are also loaded with potassium, iron, antioxidants (which increase immunity) antiinflammatory compounds, and omega-3 fatty acids which can improve heart health. Unlike chia seeds, which can be eaten raw or soaked, basil seeds must be soaked before consuming.


Personally, I love to use basil seeds in my morning protein smoothie. I soak 1 tbsp in 1/2 cup of water for about 30 minutes (or overnight), then simply add to my blender along with my protein powder, PB2, almond milk, and ice for a extra thick and rich protein and fiber filled treat! Here is the link to the brand that I buy and recommend to my clients.


I'd love to know if you have tried basil seeds and what you think of them! Please let me know in the comments. Have a lovely week, friends!