When it comes to healthy ‘superfoods’ there’s some great stuff out there, but there’s very little that tops chia seeds in the health rankings.
They are fantastically good for us and, thankfully, they are very easy to add to any recipe. The benefits of chia seeds are readily available to all of us!
Chia seeds are small and unassuming but they truly pack a very powerful punch when it comes to delivering goodness! They give a tremendous energy boost whilst also providing benefits in terms of addressing heart disease and diabetes.
Yet despite all this chia seeds are still and unknown quantity to many. So it’s about time we take a closer look at this tiny seed that offers so much.
Chia seeds are loaded with goodness and very nutrient dense. Most of the key nutrients our body needs to function optimally are contained in these seeds.
An average chia seed contains: 11 grams of dietary fiber, 4.4 grams of protein, 5000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids, and 1620 mg of omega-6 fatty acids. It also contains copper, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.
Chia seeds are wonderfully rich in vitamins: A, B, E, and D. And the minerals contained include: sulphur, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, niacin and thiamine. All of which adds up to ensure this is a superb source of antioxidants.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
A recent study from Mexico produced some striking revelations. This included the fact that chia seeds contain nearly twice the antioxidant content as was previously believed. Such levels have been shown to eliminate as much as 70% of free radical activity.
These antioxidants impact on the whole body and are particularly good for your skin. They free up the repair system, promoting collagen production. This will negate the effect of inflammation and damage caused by free radicals.
Chia seeds have a high fiber content and this means they are a great food source for improving the digestive system. Fiber balances out your insulin levels and blood sugar and also promotes the movement of food through your system, increasing the regularity of stool movements.
And another benefit or fiber heavy foods is that they make you feel more full. That’s because fiber expands in your stomach when it comes into contact with water. Therefore chia seeds are an excellent weight loss aid too. Chia seeds in your diet means that you are likely to eat fewer calories each day, you’ll have fewer cravings, feel less hungry and more satiated from the food you have eaten.
We can all do with improving heart health and chia seeds are a fine aid to this as well. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps your body to absorb Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Chia actually seeds contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
This high concentration means it is super efficient at helping reduce blood pressure levels, your LDL (bad cholesterol) and improving your HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Chia seeds can also lower inflammation which is an important heart health factor too. Inflammation places undue stress and pressure on the blood vessels, but chia seeds can help to remove this stress, making your cardiovascular system more relaxed and efficient.
Diabetes is on the rise around the world and this is a very worrying trend.
Excess fat in the blood (dyslipidemia) and insulin resistance are two major factors that contribute to diabetes. A recent study from Argentina looked at the impact of chia seeds on these contributing factors. The results were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
The study involved giving rats a 3-week diet that was high in sugar. Amazingly, the consumption of chia seeds in the study group prevented them from showing any signs of dyslipidemia or of insulin resistance.
A further examination was undertaken in which chia seeds were given to diabetic rats for eight weeks. Fascinatingly, at the end of the study period, the rats were shown to be completely free of their diabetic condition!
Numerous studies have indicated that consuming a handful of chia seeds before going to the gym will enhance your workout performance as effectively as taking an energy drink which is almost certainly filled with sugar and/or caffeine.
In a direct comparison study a control group took a bottle of Gatorade while the study participants ate only chia seeds before the workout. The chia group reported having more energy throughout their training session, despite taking in no sugar.
And when it comes to protein, chia seeds are full of it! They are in fact one of the best plant based sources to be found. They are around 20% protein by weight, which means about 4.4 grams per serving. That makes them a fantastic, fat free way to get your protein.
So adding chia seeds to your post workout protein shake will help you to build more lean muscle mass faster.
How to Take Chia Seeds
In a Smoothie
Chia seeds are a perfect smoothie ingredient. A massive boost to the nutrition content and so each to integrate. And to prove this point, here’s a great example of a wild berry smoothie that you can fortify with chia;
In your blender, combine a cup of wild organic blueberries, a scoop of your favorite protein powder and one whole banana. Pour in unsweetened almond milk to fill the cup half way. And now the ‘magic’ ingredient – a tablespoon of chia seeds. Blend and enjoy!
Make a Chia Pudding
Who says puddings are bad for you?
In a glass jar, blend a cup of almond milk, a quarter cup of chia seeds, a tablespoon of maple syrup and a touch of vanilla extract as a sweetener. Place the lid firmly and safely on the jar and shake vigorously to break up the chia seeds.
Then place the jar in the fridge overnight. Good things come to those who wait… In the morning, you’ll have a super healthy, super delicious pudding!
Make Vegan Eggs
For anyone who struggles with eggs or is actually intolerant, this is a really good substitute.
In a bowl, combine a tablespoon of ground chia seeds with three tablespoons of filtered water. Whisk it all up. This equates to one regular egg and you can now use this combination as a really effective substitute while baking.
So I hope the above information goes a long way to showing you a nutritious and versatile these amazing seeds are. If you haven’t yet adopted the chia habit I suggest you really think about doing so!
These days they are readily available at most supermarkets and health shop outlets and here’s some more good news – they’re cheap!
So really you have no excuse! Make them a part of your weekly shopping and sprinkle them in with your smoothies or on your cereals, your meals and even just on their own. It really could not be easier to eat more healthily!
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