Written by Trista from the “Health Team”
This article clearly define the health benefits of Chia Seeds. In my search to provide beneficial health information about Chia I discovered this article. I found several others, however, I feel this is clear concise and easy to understand. I hope that you will benefit from reading her article as I did.
Chia seeds are an ancient superfood – Aztec and Mayan civilizations used these seeds as a mainstay of their diets because of their nutritional value. They’re a concentrated protein source with a fibrous quality to keep you full and provide energy for a long time. The word “chia” actually means strength in the Mayan language and the seeds were known as runner’s fuel. You can easily incorporate chia seeds into your diet. They can be added to puddings and baked goods or sprinkled on cereal and rice. You can eat chia seeds raw or soak them in juice. In fact, adding liquid to chia seeds will make them transform into a gel-like substance. This is perfect for making thick sauces; chia seeds are a great substitute for eggs. Bear in mind when preparing chia seeds that they do have distinct gelatinous properties and that some find this texture unappealing.
1. Stimulates Weight Loss
Chia seeds are high in fiber and contain a substance called glucomannan, which is linked to weight loss. Fiber absorbs significant amounts of water, which causes your stomach to expand; in turn, you feel fuller, quicker. Fiber also helps your digestive system run smoothly and regularly – because it’s hard to digest, fiber moves your food more slowly through your gut, allowing more nutrients from the foods you eat to be absorbed in your bloodstream. Proteins found in the seeds can help reduce your appetite. However, keep in mind people lose weight differently. A healthy combination of diet and exercise is essential.
2. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Because chia seeds are packed with fiber, they stimulate digestion. In fact, eleven out 11 out of the 12 grams of carbohydrates in the seeds are fiber. However, unlike typical carbohydrates, fiber does not require as much energy to be used by the body because it doesn’t raise blood sugar or need the disposition of insulin. Chia seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber, 40 percent of your daily value. This is especially good for fighting constipation. As your food moves through your body, it’s absorbed into your bloodstream. Foods that are lower in fiber, or full of simple carbohydrates and sugars, move quickly through your gut, preventing valuable nutrients from being fully absorbed. A high fiber diet with slower digestion leads to more even blood sugar levels. This can also help with tummy troubles, as you’ll remain fuller, for longer.
3. Manages Blood Sugar Levels
Unhealthy eating habits may cause you to become susceptible to sugar cravings because of varying blood sugar levels. You already know chia seeds are a rich source of fiber, but they are also high in protein and omega-3s. The combination of these can help improve your metabolic health and stabilize your blood sugar levels. For those with pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or type 2 diabetes, controlling their blood sugar levels is a daily health concern. Choosing a high fiber, high protein diet, including healthy chia seeds, can help manage digestion to avoid the spikes and crashes that poor diets and empty calories can cause.
4. Maintains Cardiovascular Health
Health benefits of chia seeds reach all the way to your heart. An excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds can help reduce inflammation and decrease the chance of developing deep vein and arterial thrombosis or arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat). Choosing a heart-healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, including the complications like a stroke or heart attack that can result. Chia seeds can lower the amount of LDL cholesterol (the harmful kind) and triglyceride levels in your bloodstream. Omega-3 acids help reduce plaque in your arteries and improve your brain and cognitive function, too.
5. Increases Your Energy Levels
The carbohydrates in chia seeds have a slow conversion time, which means they fuel your body with energy for a long time. Because they take so long to digest, you can jumpstart your day with chia seeds. The small seed can boost your energy and fight against dehydration and reduce joint inflammation. Many endurance athletes, especially marathon runners, snack on chia seeds to improve their performances. Chia seeds are also added to energy bars and meal replacement bars for their sustained energy and high protein content.
6. Enhances Your Workouts
You should avoid workout drinks that are loaded with sugar and caffeine. Not only can they make you edgy or jittery, but you need to consume more plain water to stay hydrated. Instead of processed pre-workout beverages, you can give your body a natural boost that will enhance both your pre- and post-workout performances. All you have to do is take a spoonful of chia seeds and mix it with water and a splash of lemon, and you will be able to sustain your hydration and energy.
7. Rich In Protein
A single one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains about 5 grams of protein – about ten percent of an average daily requirement of this nutrient. They contain essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and growth. Chia seeds are ideal for people who do not eat red meat or other forms of animal proteins and who choose a vegetarian or vegan diet. Healthy proteins promote weight loss by keeping you feeling full and avoiding “carb crashes” or blood sugar dips that cause unhealthy cravings.
8. Boosts Your Mood
Remember those amino acids we just mentioned? Well, the amino acid tryptophan is found in chia seeds, a compound that will help you to feel happier in the most natural way. This amino acid helps your brain increase production, and reception of serotonin – the “happy hormone” – as well as regulates melatonin levels. Serotonin relieves anxiety while melatonin helps you sleep better.
9. An Excellent Source Of Antioxidants
Your body creates natural by-products known as free radicals, consequences of cells aging and breaking down. These molecules are dangerous to your overall health because they disrupt healthy cell repair and new cell generation. Free radicals can prematurely age you and contribute to cancerous growths and tumors. Antioxidants prevent the reproduction of free radicals and reduce the ratio of these to normal cells in your body. Chia seeds, high in antioxidants, give your body the helpful boost it needs to manage free radical concentration.
10. Builds Strong Bones
Calcium is an essential ingredient for building strong bones and preventing osteoporosis, brittle bones that break more easily. One one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains fifteen to twenty percent of your recommended daily allowance of calcium – a percentage is much higher than most dairy products. Chia seeds not only have calcium, which makes bones strong and healthy, but they also have phosphorus and magnesium, both of which are necessary to build bones and help your body make full use of the calcium you ingest.
11. Promotes Oral Health
Your teeth are constructed similarly to your bones. Thus, the vitamins and minerals found in chia seeds equally help build and strengthen your teeth. Besides calcium, Vitamin A and zinc are two more beneficial nutrients found in these little seeds. Zinc prevents plaque from building up on your teeth, which ultimately fights the onset of tartar, too.
12. Naturally Raw And Organic
Some seeds and foods claim to be healthy but are still grown under GMO conditions. Chia seeds are naturally organic. They are non-GMO, raw food. Unlike others, chia seeds do not need any pesticides or artificial supplements to grow. Through this production, they are one of the healthiest foods, free of many poisonous chemicals. For those who chose to follow a vegan raw diet, or otherwise wish to reduce their GMO intake, chia seeds are a very healthy substitution for many animal products.