Although they have become very popular in the last few years, chia seeds are not a new food. For centuries they been used for their health and nutritional benefits. In fact, both the Mayans and Aztecs have used these seeds in their diets for generations.
Small but powerful, chia seeds are full of vitamins and minerals plus they are easy to add to an everyday diet. They can be used in cooking, added to drinks, used in baked goods, tossed in salads, and so much more.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of nutrients and antioxidants. They come with a variety of superpowers that target many different health problems. Let’s take a look at some nutrition facts and the health benefits of eating chia seeds.
Nutrition Facts of Chia Seeds
Loaded With Essential Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are vital polyunsaturated fats.
The lipid profile of chia seeds is around 60% omega-3. This makes them one of the richest plant sources of essential fatty acids. Specifically, they’re a great source of alpha linolenic acid, also known as ALA.
The omega-3s in chia seeds are great for helping to reduce inflammation and high cholesterol. They can also improve cognitive ability and performance. In fact, many students add these seeds to teas and water to help them stay focused and alert for study.
Omega-6 fatty acids make up around 20% of the lipid profile for chia seeds. This means they offer a wallop of goodness for heart health too.
Good Antioxidant Source
As a good source of antioxidants, chia seeds help to protect the body from free radicals, cancer, and the negative effects of aging.
Due to the volume of antioxidants found in chia seeds, they are incredibly durable and have a long shelf life. Chia seeds can last up to two years without refrigeration, although it’s highly unlikely they will last that long.
High In Fiber
Fiber is great for keeping the bowels regular, lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and keeping you full after a healthy meal.
With about 10 grams of fiber in just 2 tablespoons, chia seeds contain a lot of fiber. Many people find it hard to get the recommended amount of fiber into their daily diet. Chia seeds are an easy way to add this nutrient in healthy doses.
Lots of Minerals
Two tablespoons of chia seeds include up to 18% of the DRI for calcium, 24% for magnesium, 35% for phosphorous, and up to 50% for manganese.
These nutrients are important to help the body fight hypertension as well as maintain a healthy weight. They are also critical for a part of DNA synthesis and energy metabolism, ensuring that you have enough energy to get through your day.
The Health Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds
Besides the nutritional value of chia seeds, they also come with many health benefits. These include the following:
Regulate Blood Sugar
Blood sugar controls your energy. When blood sugar is low, you can feel lightheaded, sluggish, and very weak. On the flip side, when blood sugar is high, it can also lead to serious problems.
Chia seeds are great for regulating the body’s insulin levels. They reduce insulin resistance as well as decreasing high levels of insulin in the blood. This leaves you feeling alert and energized.
Easy To Digest
Unlike other high fiber, high omega-3 seeds such as flaxseed, you can digest chia seeds whole. This makes them much more versatile and able to be added to different dishes in many ways.
To get the full health benefits of flaxseeds etc, you must grind them first. In contrast, you can eat, drink and digest chia seeds whole and get the same amount of nutrients and minerals.
Keep You Full
One of the main problems of dieting is not feeling full or satiated. Many people cheat on their diets or struggle because the foods they’re eating don’t contain enough protein or fiber to keep them full and focused. As a result, they find themselves feeling hungry and experiencing cravings.
Chia seeds offer satiety, which helps lower food cravings between meals. Due to the “gelling” effect of chia seeds when mixed with water, tea, or other liquids, they help you to feel fuller for longer.
For those who are on a strictly gluten-free diet, there’s no need to miss the amazing health benefits of chia seeds. Chia seeds have no grains or gluten, so you can include them in your gluten-free diet without worry.
Chia seeds have definitely earned their place as a superfood. The nutrition and health benefits listed above show this. If you haven’t already, try adding them to your daily diet and enjoy the benefits they have to offer.