Chia seeds (pronounced [chee-uh]) are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain, they have become one of the most popular superfoods in the health community.
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, a member of the mint family. These seeds originally grown in South America and more especially in Mexico, are highly valued for their medicinal properties and nutritional value. In fact, they were even used as currency! Legend has it that ancient Aztec warriors had a ritual of eating a spoonful of chia seeds before a battle.They consumed this plant because it kept them satiated over a period of 24 hours, causing them to be full of energy for the next day. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, only recently did chia seeds become recognized as a modern day superfood. In the past few years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health conscious people all over the world.
Here are 10 incredible health benefits of Chia Seeds that will make you want to eat them everyday:
1. Deliver a massive amount of good nutrients with few calories
Don’t be fooled by the size… these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a 28-gram, or one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains:
- 11 grams of fiber = 42% of your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
- 4.4 grams of protein
- 9 grams of fat
- 4915 mg of omega-3 fatty acids
- 1620 mg of omega-6 fatty acids
- No sugar
Eating one ounce of chia seeds each day would provide 18 percent of daily calcium needs, 30 percent of Magnesium, 27 percent of phosphorus and 30 percent of manganese. Chia Seeds also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
2. Loaded with antioxidants (skin & aging)
Apart from many other potent nutrients, chia seeds also have a high amount of antioxidants in them. Antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems, and prevent further damage. Taking chia seeds can prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation free radical damage.
3. High in quality protein
One ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains 137 calories and 4.4 grams of high-quality protein. By weight, chia seeds are 14% protein. A high intake of protein reduces the appetite and draws attention from the compulsive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire to eat late at night by 50%.
4. Help to lose weight
Many health experts believe that chia seeds can help with weight loss. The fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach, which should increase fullness and slow the absorption of food (Chia seeds can absorb up to 20 times their weight in water).
5. Regulate blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes
High-fiber diets are associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes. Eating high-fiber meals helps to keep blood sugar stable.
6. Help with digestion and can fight constipation
A diet with adequate fiber prevents constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Regular bowel movements are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool. (You said glamorous?)
7. Boost your mood
Chia seeds can actually make you feel happier because of the amino acid tryptophan found in them. According to studies, tryptophan is responsible for producing hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin. And serotonin plays an important role in fighting anxiety, thus encouraging mood boosting and producing the sleep hormone melatonin. In short, chia seeds = happiness. QED
8. High in omega-3 fatty acids
Like flax seeds, chia seeds are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids (one ounce portion of chia seeds has 4900 mg of omega-3s). In fact, chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram. Needless to say that chia seeds also smell better than salmon. Chia Seeds 1 – Salmon 0
9. Boost your energy and improve exercise performance
According to legend, it was Mayans and Aztecs who first used chia seeds as an energy drink. Ever since, they have proved to fuel performance back in the day. Slow-digesting fibers and carbohydrates provide you with long-lasting and pumping energy. Because chia seeds also help for the slower conversion of carbohydrates into sugar (which means that the carbs you consume will fuel your body for a longer period of time), you will have less sugar cravings since you feel satiated.
10. Good for your bones
1 oz serving of chia seeds will provide your body with 18% of the daily recommended dosage of calcium, helping to strengthen your bones as well as your teeth. This ratio brings chia seeds to the top because it is more than most dairy products. Chia also contains boron which is another essential nutrient for bone health.
Chia Seeds are easy to incorporate into your diet
Due to their bland flavor, pretty much everything can be added to or mixed with chia seeds. Some of the great ways to include these seeds into meals are adding to porridge, making into pudding, using in baked goods or smoothies. The best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them (in water orany kind of milk).
Discover my delicious chia seeds recipes