Chia seeds may be small but they are big in nutrition. These little seeds are apparently rich in nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and omega-3s.
They are also packed with fiber, iron, antioxidants, and protein. Since they contain these essential nutrients, they can help improve your health and wellness.
But the thing is, these benefits are often taken for granted because not a lot of people know how to add chia seeds to their diet.
So, if you want to find out more about chia seeds and how they can make you healthy, this ultimate health guide is for you.
We’ve also included some tips on how you can incorporate chia seeds into your regular nutrition so you can savor its perks!
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia is an edible seed that is derived from the plant called Salvia hispanica in the mint family. They are usually ground to create supplements to provide fatty acids and fiber.
While they help boost your energy, they won’t keep you up all night. Chia seeds are also known to be beneficial for weight loss and preventing dehydration.
Chia Seeds: Interesting Facts
Chia seeds are gluten-free! But while they don’t contain gluten, they still offer the benefits of grains. This is an amazing discovery, especially if you don’t know this yet since many people are suffering from gluten intolerance around the world today.
As early as 3,000 B.C. chia seeds were consumed by the Maya peoples and Aztecs for strength and healing powers.
You can make a chia seed face mask! Yep, you read it right. Chia is good for you, inside and out! To do this, simply combine half a cup of coconut oil, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and two tablespoons of chia seeds. Voila – instant addition to your beauty routine!
What are the Uses of Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds possess a mild, nutty flavor, making them a great addition to foods and drinks to boost their taste and texture. When mixed with water or other fluid, chia seeds become gelatinous.
You can use them in various ways! They make a good substitute for eggs, thickener for soups, and surprisingly, they can be a part of your beauty routine, too! Yep, you can create your own chia scrub as well.
What are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?
Since they are loaded with important nutrients, it comes as no surprise how chia seeds can benefit your health. Here's a list of what these powerful seeds can do for your body and wellness:
Chia seeds are rich in protein
Chia seeds are a rich source of protein. Compared with other plants, chia seeds contain more protein with 4.7 grams for every ounce. They are also packed with all the eight essential amino acids.
And while the protein content of animal-based sources is richer, chia seeds are still worth adding to your diet considering the other benefits you can gain from them.
Chia seeds are a great source of other essential nutrients
They may be small in size but chia seeds are great in nutritional value. Compared with an ounce of walnuts, the omega-3s contained in chia seeds are 10 times more with an equal serving.
These little seeds, in fact, have the highest omega-3 content among all the other plants. They also contain more iron than spinach and are a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, and healthy fats as well.
Chia seeds help build stronger teeth and bones
One of the most essential chia seeds benefits is its ability to help you have stronger teeth and bones.
Apparently, these tiny seeds are also a rich source of calcium, providing you about 18 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium per serving!
It has six times more calcium than milk! Now that’s something to convince all of us to add these powerful seeds to our diets.
Chia seeds support your digestive system
Chia seeds are also prized for their ability to support digestion. Chia seeds, containing 11 grams of fiber in an ounce, also help promote gut health.
Dietary fiber is essential in weight management and disease prevention, making chia seeds a smart choice for people who want to shed pounds and prevent their risk of various illnesses.
Here's the thing:
Consuming foods or drinks with chia seeds are also filling since they are able to turn itself into a gel when mixed with liquid. Essentially, you will feel fuller and more satisfied, lessening your food cravings.
Researchers also believe that this gel action happens in the stomach, which creates a blockade between enzymes and carbohydrates.
This then weakens the carbohydrates’ conversion into sugar, which is believed to contribute to the noted benefits of chia seeds to one’s endurance.
Chia seeds can help suppress your appetite
Chia seeds are highly recommended for those who want to lose weight.
Clinical studies have shown that their ability to become gelatinous and reduce digestibility contributes to making a person feel fuller for longer, helping to suppress your appetite and reduce your hunger levels.
Chia seeds are also a rich source of antioxidants and dietary fiber, which are known to promote weight loss. They also contain hydrophilic properties, helping to keep you hydrated, a key factor in sustaining a healthy weight.
Take note, though:
Studies show mixed results on chia’s ability to encourage weight loss, and further research is still needed to support such a claim.
But while it is yet to be verified, experts seem to believe that chia seeds still make a great addition to a nutritious diet. Chia seeds are also recommended for kids who often feel hungry, usually in the form of chia pudding.
Chia seeds help boost energy and endurance
The Aztecs and Mayans primarily used chia seeds as an energy booster. Before their events, athletes and warriors take chia seed gel, which was once referred to as “Indian Running Food”, to boost their stamina.
Today, chia seeds prove to offer just the same benefits. In fact, one study confirmed that chia seed does help enhance athletic performance.
An increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids and reduced dietary intake of sugar were said to contribute to this.
Chia seeds are a versatile “superfood”
Since they don’t have a strong flavor, you can add chia seeds to various recipes and drinks.
You can use them whole or ground them, or even utilize them as a substitute for eggs in dishes. You can also add them to your smoothie as they won’t affect its flavor in any way!
How Can You Add Chia Seeds to Your Healthy Diet?
Since chia seeds are highly versatile, you can incorporate them into various recipes, beverages, and even your beauty routine! Here’s a list of ideas on how to use chia seeds in your healthy diet.
Add chia seeds to your water
Probably the easiest way you can add chia seeds to your diet is by mixing them with water. This drink, known to many as chia detox water, is simple and easy to do.
Fill a jar with water, add chia seeds, close the jar, shake it well and let it sit for about ten minutes. You can add lemon or lime juice and a bit of honey to taste.
This drink is regarded as a "fat-burning" drink, ideal for those who want to lose weight!
Make a chia pudding
Chia pudding makes a great beginner recipe because it’ll help you understand the seeds’ absorption power and its ability to keep you feeling full.
Chia seeds absorb liquid when you mix them with water or milk. Soaking them in these liquids will give you a creamy tapioca-like texture.
With some spices and a little sweetener such as maple syrup or honey, you’ll surely get yourself a healthy and yummy chia pudding!
Incorporate them into your baked goods
Chia seeds can add texture to your baked goods as well. You can toss them into your muffins, waffles, granola, and pancakes! Their neutral flavor allows them to complement any recipe.
You can replace flax seeds with chia seeds in your homemade granola bars or replace the poppy seeds in your muffin by using them instead. Your baked goods are sure to have that extra crunch with chia seeds!
Sprinkle them on top of your oatmeal or yogurt
Give your oatmeal or yogurt that added texture by sprinkling them with chia seeds.
If you don’t like their gelatinous texture (which happens when they sit on liquid) and prefer them crunchy, sprinkle them just before you eat.
Use them as a skin exfoliant
Don’t you just love it when superfoods work as beauty items, too? Apparently, chia seeds won’t only make you feel good on the inside but on the outside as well!
You can make a chia scrub and use it as a buffing agent or exfoliant to help your skin look brighter and feel smoother.
Chia seeds are indeed beneficial for our health and wellness. And we’re lucky because unlike our ancestors, we now have easy access to this nutrient-dense superfood!
Most health food shops and various grocery stores have chia seeds for sale. You can also find quality ones online.
So, if you haven’t tried chia seeds yet, now’s the best time to do it. Take your meals up a notch with this amazing superfood!