18 Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are among the most nutritious and wonderful super foods available on the market today. No cooking is required and the cost of these amazing seeds is quite cheap thus making it a "must have" on the table of every human being in the world today.
Preparation is so easy. Just soak them in clean water and watch as they swell up within a few minutes. Blatantly tasteless by itself, but packed with valuable nutrients, and can be added to both foods and beverages, without altering the taste of the dish you add it to.
In recent times, chia seeds have risen sharply in popularity as more and more people learn about its health benefits and low price in the markets. The fact that no cooking is required makes this a quick "low cost" meal even by itself.
Let us examine why these little seeds are being called the new "super" foods by taking a look at the incredible array of benefits they provide to the human body....
1. A tiny food full of power and strength - "Chia" means "strength" in the ancient Aztec dialect and for good reason. You receive a bunch full of nutrients while providing very few calories per ounce thus making this one of the lightest yet highly nutritious foods on the planet. Just an ounce of these seeds contains bits of Zinc, Niacin, Potassium, Thiamine and Vitamin B2. 11 grams of fiber are packed into an ounce, 5 grams of Omega-3 fats, 4 grams of protein, while giving you the required daily allowance of Calcium (18%), Manganese (30%), Magnesium (30%) and Phosphorus (27%). In addition to this, these seeds are gluten-free and give just 137 calories along with a single gram of digestible carbohydrates.
2. Awesome for losing weight in a healthy way - The characteristics of these seeds are such that they can easily absorb 12 times its weight in the form of liquids such as water and juices. Consuming them leads to them swelling up inside your stomach thus leading to the feeling of being already full despite eating just a few calories. Anyone looking to lose weight quickly should seriously consider adding a couple of ounces of these tiny super foods to their daily diet.
3. Keep the gut bacteria happy - Chia seeds contain more than 40% fiber which helps in feeding the friendly bacteria in our intestines. This process of feeding the gut bacteria is important for our overall health.
4. Amino acids and proteins galore - The protein content in these super seeds is over a dozen percent. Essential amino acids are also present inside them. These proteins ensure that we feel fuller faster and makes certain that we don't over-consume food during the day or at night before going to bed. The high protein content makes this an ideal and economical alternative to vegans all over the world.
5. Fight off cancer and many diseases - These little seeds are full of healthy antioxidants which effectively fight against the free radicals which damage cell molecules thus helping in preventing cancers and similar diseases.
6. Look younger while you grow older - Consuming chia seeds on a daily basis ensures that you grow older with grace. The antioxidants ensure slow ageing since it helps fight against the free radicals as mentioned in the earlier point. No more expensive cosmetic surgery required. Just eating a bowl full of chia seeds soaked in plain water, tomato juice or orange juice shall do the trick.
7. Get high on Omega-3 Fatty Acids - These seeds certainly carry loads of benefits because of the large amounts of Omega-3 fats present in these tiny foods gram for gram. In fact, there are more Omega-3 fats present in chia seeds as compared to salmon. Unfortunately, most of these fats are Alpha Linolenic Acids which cannot be easily converted into DHA (most essential Omega-3 fat) thus these seeds may not be as effective as food sources high in DHA.
8. A rich source of calcium and manganese - An ounce of the wonder seeds give more than 18% of the daily requirement of calcium. Added to this, good amounts of manganese, zinc and phosphorus are also present. All these substances are extremely important for our bones and those suffering from weak bones and similar conditions will do well by consuming a bowl or two of these super seeds every day.
9. Effective in lowering blood pressure and treating Type 2 Diabetes - A few studies have shown that chia seeds are highly effective in (slowly) treating Type 2 Diabetes while lowering the blood pressure of the patients who consumed them every single day for 12 weeks. Blood pressure was lowered considerably by 3-6 mm/Hg and an inflammatory marker (hs-CRP) was lowered by a massive 40%. Another substantial risk factor (vWF) decreased up to 21%. This leads us to believe that consuming these super foods in your diet on a daily basis can definitely help lower blood pressure while reducing some markers that cause inflammation.
10. A healthy beverage to enjoy everyday - Drinking juices and milk full of chia seeds is an excellent power booster and performance enhancer for fitness freaks, bodybuilders and sportsmen. An average human being can drink a cup full of chia seeds in milk and feel full for a few hours. You can practically add these seeds to any beverage on the face of the earth without destroying the taste of the same since these seeds are essentially tasteless. However, what it lacks in taste, it makes up for in nutrient value. Packet with fiber, protein, essential amino acids, antioxidants, and less carbohydrates making this food a very important need for all humans everywhere.
11. Make food more exciting to eat - The major advantage of chia seeds is that it is light in weight (less calories), high on nutrients and fiber, while being practically tasteless. No cooking or grounding of the seeds are required thus one can easily add chia seeds to puddings, porridge, milk, juices, yoghurt, ice-cream, salads, rice items or any other dishes that you prepare everyday.
12. Get high on Niacin, Thiamine and Selenium - You get 15.5 micrograms of selenium along with 12% of your daily requirement of thiamine and niacin. These 3 nutrients help in boosting your brain power while keeping your nervous system functioning properly. They also assist in turning the food you consume into energy much faster than most other foods. Selenium helps in fighting free radicals that cause cell damage and also aids in absorbing Vitamin E into our bodies.
13. Add Iron, Manganese and Phosphorus to your diet - Get 2.2 milligrams of iron, 0.8 milligrams of manganese, and 240.8 milligrams of phosphorus from every two tablespoons of chia seeds. Iron helps in carrying oxygen throughout our bodies while aiding in the forming of red blood cells. Manganese intake helps in regenerating red blood cells, building bones, and metabolizing carbohydrates. Phosphorus helps store energy in our bodies, aids in the formation of our DNA and building stronger bones.
14. Effective egg substitute - Chia seeds swell up in water and most liquids. This gel can then be used instead of eggs in baked goods thus greatly lowering the cholesterol content of the baked items while packing in a whole new bunch of extra nutrients into the same.
15. Eat 'em up whole - No cooking or grounding is required for our favorite "new" food item. You save on food preparation costs plus you can eat chia seeds whole without losing out on the enormous amounts of fiber and nutrients that are held within them.
16. Increase good cholesterol - British Journal of Nutrition's study on these super seeds revealed that they helped lower triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels on daily consumption over a few weeks. In addition to this, central obesity was lowered and HDL or "good" cholesterol decreased. This proves that every single one of us can greatly benefit by consuming a bowl of these seeds daily.
17. Regulate insulin levels - Chia seeds help reduce abnormally high levels of insulin in our blood while also decreasing insulin resistance in our bodies.
18. Great body hydrant - Imagine not having to drink water all the time. Yes, it's now possible to do so. Chia seeds when added to plain drinking water swell up more than 10 times its initial weight. This gel is highly essential in keeping our body hydrated for long spells. Consumption of "Chia Gel" once every few hours is enough to keep us hydrated on sunny days. Sportsmen and those who work in the outdoors should add Chia Gel to their daily liquid diet so that they are better hydrated throughout the day.
These are some of the most important benefits of Chia Seeds. It's easy to add these tiny super foods to your diet starting today itself. Be careful not to consume more than 4 tablespoons of these seeds as it may lead to stomach upsets.
I am outlining some simple ways to add a healthy dose of nutrients to your daily diet....
a) Chia seeds can be eaten raw. No cooking required. However, they taste a lot better when left to swell up and form a gel in a bowl of water, milk or juice. In Mexico, soaking and swelling the seeds in juices is called "Chia Fresca".
b) As mentioned earlier, chia seeds are an effective egg substitute in baked goods. Add them (Chia seeds soaked in water for 5 minutes) instead of eggs to cakes, breads, puddings and custards.
c) Make a smoothie or cold concoction with them. You can add chia seeds to any beverage and ensure that you get all the rich benefits that they have to offer. Since these seeds are tasteless they don't ruin or change the taste of any beverage to which they are added.
d) Add some punch to your yoghurt and cereals. You can add chia seeds to yoghurts, cereals, milk products, etc. and pack in more nutrients into them.
e) Sprinkle on salads, rice, soups and starters. You can sprinkle raw chia seeds onto a salad, rice, soup or appetizer of any kind.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy chia seeds is to simply soak them in milk for a few minutes. Then I keep it in the refrigerator for an hour, then add a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice-cream on top of the thick milk mixture, and relish eating it spoon by spoon thereafter.
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