Remember the Chia Pet? Those ridiculous clay figurine gift items, that sprouted grass-like fur or hair. They were all the rage years ago. Fast-forward to NOW, and the seeds from the same chia plant are being sold everywhere for health and weight loss, as they help control hunger while they enhance your diet with super-nutrients. Who would have thought?
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that's native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history shows it was a very important food for the Aztecs. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds (unlike flax seeds). One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals.
These powerhouses of nutrition come in white or a dark brown and black color and offer a huge nutritional profile. They contain calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, and are a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, that can be eaten whole or milled. When you're buying chia, both the white and black seeds are good choices, to make sure you're getting a good quality product by avoiding either red seeds (immature chia seeds), or black seeds that are smaller than regular chia seeds (weed seeds).
These seeds are tasteless so they won't affect the flavor of your food, which makes them easy to integrate into your meals. They can be sprinkled whole on top of salads or toast or added to smoothies or to ice cream. I bake them in bread as a vegan solution for eggs, and mix them with water, coconut, soy or almond milk or juice and turn them into a pudding or power gel. And yes, you can even sprout them through one of those horrible clay heads and eat them that way too.
Health Benefits Of Chia
Pack In The Protein
Chia seeds make a great source of protein for vegetarians and don't have any cholesterol. One 28-gram serving of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10% of the daily value.
Fights Belly Fat
Chia's stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat. This type of resistance can also be harmful for your overall health.
Get Full Faster & Boost Mood
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is also found in chia seeds. While tryptophan is responsible for that strong urge to nap after a big Thanksgiving dinner, it also helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.
Improve Heart Health
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol.
Chia helps as a natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion. The gelatinous coating chia seeds develops when exposed to liquids-can also prevent blood sugar spikes.
Rich In Fiber to Aid Digestion
Just a 28-gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fiber, which is about1/3 of the recommended daily intake for adults. Adding some chia to your diet is an easy way to make sure you're getting a good amount of fiber, which is important for digestive health.
Rich In Omega-3s
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, with nearly five grams in a one-ounce serving. These fats are important for brain health, and there is a better conversion of omega 3s into the plasma or into the food, than with flax seeds.
Stronger Teeth And Bones
A serving of chia seeds has 18 per cent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which puts your well on your way to maintaining bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.
Rich in Manganese & Phosphorus
Manganese isn't a well-known nutrient, but it's important for our health. It's good for your bones and helps your body use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin. One serving of chia seeds, or 28 grams, has 30% of your recommended intake of this mineral. With 27% of your daily value for phosphorus, chia seeds also helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also used by the body to synthesize protein for cell and tissue growth and repair.
At A Glance Guide To The Benefits Of Chia Seeds