Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and minerals Chia seeds are the plant superfood of your dreams. Unlike flaxseeds, which have garnered a lot of attention in the health industry chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to obtain their nutrients. They are gluten-free and can help improve your cognitive performance and reduce inflammation and high cholesterol. There are numerous benefits to adding Chia seeds to your diet.
1. They Have Superfood Powers
Prized by the Mayans and Aztecs as a source of sustainable energy Chia seeds were a huge part of their diet. As a matter of fact ‘chia’ is the ancient Mayan word for strength and considering the fact that 2 tablespoons of seeds contains 4 grams of protein it lives up to its name.
2. They’re Loaded with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are important in fighting the production of free radicals, which damage your cells, contribute to aging and can cause different diseases like cancer.
3. Stay Full Longer
Chia seeds are chock full of fiber and can absorb 10-12 times their weight and expand once in your belly. This can lead to a feeling of being full quicker and staying full longer. They lower your calorie consumption while fulfilling 1/3 of your daily intake with just one tablespoon. Fiber is also good for keeping a healthy amount of bacteria in your gut which aid in digestion.
4. Can Be Used As an Alternative To Eggs
When mixed with liquids they swell to form a gel and can be a healthier alternative to eggs when cooking. Using them as a replacement is as simple as mixing one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water and letting it sit for 15 minutes.
5. Helps You Fulfill Your Daily Nutrient Intake
Chia seeds have loads of nutrients making it easy for them to help you fulfill your daily nutrient intake. They contain Vitamins A, B, D, E, calcium, protein, copper, iron, sulfur, potassium, zinc, manganese, thiamine, niacin, iodine and more. One ounce (two tablespoons) contains 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat and a whole slew of nutrients.
6. Help Maintain Your Weight
There is much debate about whether or not Chia seeds cause weight loss but there are a good amount of studies that show that they help slow the absorption of food since they expand in the stomach. The theory is that although they may not directly affect your weight loss they can help. Giving you the feeling of being full and satiated they help lower food cravings between meals Chia seeds make it easier to maintain a healthy weight and high energy metabolism.
7. May Lower Risk of Diabetes and/or Heart Disease
One successful study done on participants with type-2 diabetes who received 37 grams of Chia seeds for 12 weeks showed that along with improvement in several of their health markers their blood pressure went down by 3-6mm/Hg as well. They can also play an important role in regulating insulin levels and can reduce insulin resistance along with decreasing abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.
8. Builds and Maintain Strong Bones
Having levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein higher than most dairy products Chia seeds can also maintain healthy bones and teeth with its high amounts of calcium and manganese, a lesser known nutrient that helps your body use essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin.
9. Improves Your Physical Performance
Knowing that Chia seeds were used by Aztecs and Mayans as a fuel source has led to many studies being done to determine just how they can improve your physical performance. They are a great way for athletes to carbo load without increasing their sugar intake. In a study comparing participants who ran for an hour on a treadmill, followed by a timed run it was found that there was no difference in performance between the ones who had been drinking Gatorade and the ones who drank a mixture that was one-half Gatorade and one-half Chia seeds.
10. Huge Source of Protein
It is a great source of protein, especially for vegans who have a harder time of finding ways to incorporate protein into their diet, and can make up significant amounts of your daily intake values; 1/7 of your protein intake, over 1/4 of your phosphorus intake and 1/3 of your fiber.
Who would have known that these tiny black seeds native to South America could have such a huge impact on your health? With a long shelf life, lasting almost two years without refrigeration, and endless uses you should definitely make Chia seeds a staple in your diet.