Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from a relative of the mint plant, Salvia Hispanica. They grow natively in South America and were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans. The Mayans treasured chia seeds for their ability to provide sustainable energy. The word “chia” actually is an ancient Mayan word meaning “strength”.
Even though they have been a staple in ancient history, they are relatively new to todays society and they’re recognized as a superfood.
Chia seeds may be very small but they yield a massive amount of nutrients with a low dose of calories, making them among the top nutritious foods on our planet. They also deliver many health benefits making them among the most talked about super seed today.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Chia seeds are one of my favorite super foods! I love adding them to smoothies, granola (bars and cereal), salads, or pretty much anything I can throw a TBSP on. They excrete a gel-type substance when exposed to liquids, making them great for texture in drinks or soaking with almond/coconut milk for a porridge of sorts.
Here are some health benefits you may or may not have heard of.
A 1 ounce (28 grams or about 2 TBSP) serving of chia seeds contains:
Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
Calories: about 140
Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
1. Chia Seeds are high in quality protein.
Chia seeds are also one of the most digestible plant proteins, making them a great source for those who eat little to no animal foods.
By weight, they’re about 14% protein, which is considered very high compared to most plants.
Chia seeds contain a great balance of amino acids, which is superb for our bodies to make good use of the protein they contain.
They yield a high protein intake that can reduce appetite and has been shown to reduce cravings by about 60%.
2. Chia Seeds are Loaded with Antioxidants
The antioxidants present in chia seeds help protect sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid.
Whole foods are more effective than supplements, making chia seeds a great source.
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3. High in omega-3 fatty acids
Chia seeds contain 8 times more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon!
However, the Omega-3’s in chia seeds are mostly ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), which has to be converted to the “active” forms, EPA and DHA, before it can be used by the body.
Unfortunately, humans don’t convert ALA into the active forms very well. For this reason, fish and fish-oil are better sources when the goal is Omega-3 supplementation.
That being said, studies show that chia seeds can increase blood levels of ALA and EPA, but not DHA, which can be a problem.
4. Chia Seeds Promote Healthy Digestion and Elimination, and Wieght Loss
4.1. Due to their high protein and fiber content, chia seeds should be able to help individuals loose weight.
– Fiber absorbs large amounts of water, expands in the stomach, and slows down the absorption of food. This helps with rises and drops in blood sugar (energy) and increases sensations of fullness, which helps cut cravings, over-eating, and indulging on “junk” food.
– Chia seeds are about 40% fiber, by weight, making them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
4.2. Almost all the carbohydrates in chia seeds are fiber!
– Fiber isn’t digested by the body, not allowing for the carbohydrates to be stored as fat.
– Fiber doesn’t raise blood sugar and doesn’t require insulin to be excreted. This also helps avoid inflammation from building up.
– Although there is 11 grams of “carbs” in a serving of chia seeds, the true carb count is about 1 gram. You can thank fiber for this, making chia seeds a low-carb food.
– Fiber also helps feed the healthy gut bacteria in the intestines. This is important for our digestion and immune system.
5. Chia Seeds are High in Many Important Bone Nutrients
Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein.
The calcium content is about 18% of the RDA in a single serving size.
Gram for gram, this is higher than dairy products that are marketed as the best sources of calcium. Makes you think about the food politics that the majority of us are ignorant to.
6. Chia Seeds Can Improve Exercise Performance as Much as Sports Drinks
Chia’s superior hydrating capabilities, protein and fiber can keep you feeling full and satirized for hours.
Due to all the fiber, chia seeds can absurd up to 10 times their weight in water.
When exposed to water, they become gel-like and expand in your stomach.
This helps to increase fullness, slow absorption of the food and help you eat less calories.
7. Other Health benefits
Chia seeds improve certain blood markers, which can lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Chia seeds help maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
And many more.
Where to Get Chai Seeds:
Garden of Life-
“Garden of Life’s Super Omega-3 Chia Seed is specially grown for us on family farms. We have a project underway to convert U.S. family farmland into thriving businesses that employ the best Certified Organic, sustainable and Non-GMO agriculture practices.”
So to recap, chia seeds are one of the top super foods. They host a vast array of nutrients including fiber, protein, antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and many others.
They also posses many health benefits ranging from exercise enhancement to weight loss. They are a very versatile food and can be found in almost all health food stores in the form of raw seeds, puddings, in granola and granola bars, and even in some beverages.