Don’t judge a food by its size. These tiny black seeds from the Salvia Hispanica plant, are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They’re loaded with essential nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain.
While they were revered by the Aztecs and Mayan in ancient times, who used them as their main source of energy, they have only just exploded to popularity in the modern times. Jumping on the bandwagon, food companies are adding these seeds to cereals, bars, puddings, drinks, breads, and many other foods you throw into your shopping cart.
If you haven’t yet hopped on board and started chucking them into everything from your breakfast smoothies to your evening salads, continue reading how they’re chock full of health and why people can’t seem to stop raving about this amazing superfood.
They Are Nutritionally Dense
The more research we conduct on these little pearls of goodness, the better we understand why chia seeds were so important to the Mayans and Aztecs, who capitalized on these superfoods as their sustainable source of energy. Don’t let their rather tiny size fool you; they may look insignificant but even a small one ounce serving of chia seeds packs a powerful nutritional punch with 11g of fiber, 4g of protein, 9 grams of fat, 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 30% of manganese, 30% of magnesium and 27% of Phosphorus.
Not to mention, they are also a treasure trove of many vital minerals and vitamins, such as Vitamin B12, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, potassium and zinc. It’s quite impressive how a mere two tablespoon portion can offer one gram of digestible carbohydrate and 137 calories. This is why they are one of the most nutrient dense superfoods on the market. To top it off, Chia seeds are gluten free, Non-GMO, and organically produced. Couldn’t get better than this!
Loaded With Fiber
Each one ounce serving of chia seeds incorporates 12 grams of carbohydrate, of which 10 grams come from fiber; coming up to about 40% of the daily recommended intake of this nutrient. Chia fiber not only supports digestive health, but also flourishes the gut bacteria responsibility for boosting immunity and mood. Dietary fiber also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases by inhibiting blood clots, lowering blood pressure, increasing the good cholesterol, and reducing the number of triglycerides and cholesterol.
Abundance Of Heart Healthy Fat
While we are on the subject of cardiovascular diseases, Chia seeds are especially rich in a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, that is scientifically linked to improved circulation and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, a single serving of chia seeds has been linked with a 40% reduction in a blood marker for inflammation. In addition to ensuring heart health, its anti-inflammatory action has also been linked to improved skin conditions.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants that have been proven to combat oxidative stress, or in simpler words, it supports your body to counter the harmless effects of cell-damaging free radicals. This is why chia seeds protects your brain against neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and also fends off aging.
Are High In Quality Protein
Chia seeds are loaded with protein. When compared to other superfoods, chia seeds are 14% protein by weight. They also incorporate a decent balance of amino acids, helping your body utilize their protein content. Chia seeds are an excellent protein source for those on the vegetarian or vegan diet. Not to mention, Chia seed’s high protein content makes it an ideal weight-loss friendly food, because protein curbs appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60%.
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are also a rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than Salmon. However, chia seeds contain omega-3s in the form of alpha-linolenic acid. Unfortunately, ALA needs to be converted into the active forms, docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, before your body can make use of it, and our bodies are not adept at converting ALA into these active forms. Even when milled, chia seeds have been known to increase the levels of eicosapentaenoic acid but not docosahexaenoic acid, which is why they are considered a lower-quality omega-3 source.
Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Chia seeds contain a heady combo of unsaturated fats, protein and fiber– all of which are known to support a stable blood-sugar levels. Chia seeds are proven to improve insulin sensitivity and stabilize post-meal blood sugar levels, which ensures a continuous supply of steadier, sustained energy. When compared to other superfoods, Chia seeds are better able to convert glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate and make you feel fuller for long. This helps curb appetite and staves off redundant cravings.
Some research has suggested that chia seeds may be beneficial for overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes, and its regular consumption may even reduce the risk of diabetes.
High-fiber diets, such as chia seeds, have been to a decreased prevalence in flare-ups of diverticulitis, since fiber aids in the absorption of water in the colon, facilitating regular bowel movements. Eating a well-balanced diet, high in fiber, is known to lower assuage inflammation and reduce pressure in the colon. The exact causes of diverticular disease are not known, but a low fiber diet may be to blame.