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Amazing Benefits Of Chia Seeds (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Chia Seeds (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

“Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”. It is little wonder that these seeds were given this name by the Mayans, as there are many amazing benefits of chia seeds that do indeed give your body strength. Although the Mayans and the Aztecs regarded chia seeds as an important food source their unique properties as a food was only rediscovered in recent times.

What is this unique seed comprised of?

A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of Chia seeds contains: 11 grams of fiber; 4 grams of protein; 9 grams of fat (5 of which are Omega-3s); 18% of the RDA of calcium; 30% of the RDA of manganese; 30% of the RDA of magnesium and 27% of the RDA of phosphorus. They also contain potassium, zinc, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 and vitamin B3 (niacin).

As we can see chia seeds contain a high percentage of fiber, protein, and Omega 3 fatty acid. Chia seeds are 40% fiber, by weight and this makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the world. By weight, they are about 14% protein, which is high in comparison to other plants. As Chia seeds also contain amino acids the human body is able to use the protein they contain efficiently.

Chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram, however, the fatty acid chia seeds contain is ALA and humans are not good at converting this into DHA (the most important Omega-3 fatty acid).

Let us take a closer look at the amazing benefits of chia seeds and see how incorporating them into our daily diet can be of great benefit.

The benefits of chia seeds

1. Digestive Health

The high fiber component of chia seeds helps promote bowel regularity. When they are eaten chia seeds create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach due to the soluble fiber found in the seed. This gel-forming action can act as a prebiotic, which fosters the growth of probiotics in the gut.

2. Heart Health

Studies have shown that a diet that includes chia seeds, soy protein, oats and nopal, can lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increase HDL cholesterol and reduce inflammation. However, a separate study that just looked at just chia seeds did not find any improvements to cholesterol readings or inflammation. This does not necessarily mean that chia seeds do not have a positive effect on heart health it may simply suggest that chia seeds need to be one part of a diet that is geared towards heart health.

3. Cure Diabetes

Chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, which indicated to researchers, from the University of Litoral in Argentina, that they may be useful in preventing metabolic disorders (like dyslipidemia – excessive fat in the blood – and insulin resistance). Such metabolic disorders are can be part of the cause of diabetes. The studies which were published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that chia seeds were proven to stop diabetes and even reverse it.

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4. Boost Your Energy

A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning came to the conclusion that eating chia seeds can help improve exercise performance. Using chia seeds as a performance enhancing food finds its precedent; legend has it, in Aztecs and Mayans cultures.In the study half of the athletes drank only Gatorade. The others drank half the amount of Gatorade and made up the remaining amount of Gatorade with a chia drink. The workout lasted for 90 minutes.

The result was that consuming half Gatorade and half chia drink was just as beneficial as drinking the full amount of the Gatorade drink. The study thus suggests that the chia seeds provide athletes with extra carbs they need for endurance events while decreasing their intake of sugar.

5. Stronger Bones

One ounce of chia seeds has 18% of the recommended daily amount of calcium. Calcium aids in the maintenance of bone strength and mass and is thus fundamental to bone health. Boron, another essential nutrient for bone health, is also found in Chia. Boron helps metabolize calcium, manganese, phosphorus and magnesium all of which are essential in the growth of healthy bones.

6. Lose Weight

The high protein and fiber content of chia seeds means that they are very useful in helping you lose weight. The fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach, which gives a feeling of fullness. It also slows the absorption of food. Protein often acts to reduce one’s appetite, thus the protein found in chia seeds may help you feel less hungry.

Studies that have looked at the effects of chia seeds on weight loss have not found any relationship between the intake of chia seeds and weight loss. Nevertheless, adding chia seeds to an overall healthy diet may prove to be a useful addition.

We have seen many of the amazing benefits of chia seeds. A lot can be said for this nutrient packed seed and it is clear that adding chia to your daily diet can prove to be of great benefit to your overall health. Let’s take a look at some great recipe ideas that will show you ways to incorporate chia seeds into your daily foods.

Chocolate Pistachio Chia Shake

chia recipe Chocolate Pistachio Chia Shake

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, plus more to thin if desired
    2 tablespoons black chia seeds
    3 whole medjool dates, pitted
    1/3 cup roasted + shelled pistachios, plus more for topping
    3 frozen medium + very ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or use coconut milk yogurt for a vegan option
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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    Instructions

    In a small bowl mix together the milk and chia seeds. Let this sit for 10-15 minutes.

    Meanwhile add the pistachios and dates to the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender. Blend until the mixture becomes finely chopped and almost butter like, scraping down the side as you go. You want to get it as smooth as possible. I let the mixture blend for about 5 minutes.

    To the blender add the chia seeds + milk mixture, the frozen banana chunks, cocoa powder, greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Blend until thick, creamy, and smooth, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the blender as needed. If the shake is too thick add more milk to your liking.

    Chia Oat Pitaya Super-Bowl

    chia recipe Chia Oat Pitaya Super-Bowl

      Ingredients to Blend

      1/3 cup oats
      3 tbs. chia seeds
      1 cup coconut water (filtered water will work, too)
      1 banana (fresh or frozen)
      1 dragonfruit smoothie pack
      1/2 cup frozen raspberries and blueberries
      1 kiwi
      1 tbs. maca powder (optional, energy boost)
      1 tbs. psyllium husk (optional, helps digestion)
      1 tsp. spirulina

      Toppings: Handful frozen blueberries and raspberries, handful goji berries, 1 tsp. flax seeds.

      Instructions

      Soak oats and chia seeds in water or coconut water overnight. In the morning, blend with all other ingredients. Top with frozen berries, goji berries and flax seeds. Soaking chia and oats adds nutritional value to the bowl, however you can still make it without pre-soaking!

      Banana cake with chia seeds

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      chia recipe banana cake with chia seeds

        Ingredients

        2 cups almond flour
        ¼ cup tapioca flour
        ¼ cup flaxseed meal
        1 teaspoon baking soda
        ½ teaspoon salt
        1 tablespoon chia seeds
        1 cup bananas, mashed
        2 eggs, room temperature
        2 teaspoons vanilla extract
        ½ cup coconut milk
        ⅓ cup honey
        4 tablespoons coconut oil

        Instructions

        In a large bowl mix the almond flour, tapioca flour, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt and chia seeds. In a separate bowl, cream together coconut oil (not melted) and honey with a hand mixer. Add in eggs one at a time and continue mixing. Add in mashed banana, vanilla extract and coconut milk, mix until fully incorporated. .Pour wet ingredients in with dry ingredients and mix together with hand mixer to form batter.

        Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, covering two sides. Leave extra long so you have a handle to pull cake out. Pour the mixture evenly in the pan. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack when removing it from the oven and allow it to cool.

        Lemon Poppy and chia Seed Loaf

        chia recipe lemon poppy and chia seed loaf

          Ingredients

          Makes 1 loaf
          160 g flour
          12 g baking powder
          4 g baking soda
          2 g salt
          170 g coconut oil
          85 g sugar
          2 eggs
          1 yolk
          170 g yogurt
          30 g poppy seeds
          25 g chia seeds
          Zest of 2 lemons
          Vanilla to taste

          1 1/2 lemons juiced (about 70 ml)
          60 g sugar

          Instructions

          Preheat oven to 350 degrees F or 175 degrees C. Butter and flour a loaf pan.

          Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cream the coconut oil and sugar together until fluffy. Slowly add the eggs one at a time. Add the lemon zest, poppy seeds, chia seeds, and vanilla. Beat in half the flour, then add the yogurt. Last, add the rest of the flour and mix until just combined. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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          While the loaf is baking make the lemon syrup. Heat the lemon juice and sugar together until it comes to a simmer. As soon as the loaf is taken out of the oven, spoon the syrup on top. Leave the loaf in the pan for several hours, or overnight.

          Sticky Chia Brown Rice with Fried Egg Recipe

          chia recipe Sticky Brown Rice with Egg and Chia

            Ingredients

            1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
            1 green onion, sliced on diagonal, green and white parts separated
            2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon black or white chia seeds
            2 cups cooked, chilled short-grain brown rice
            1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
            2 large eggs
            1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

            Instructions

            In a small saucepan, stir together the broth, white parts of green onion, and 2 tablespoon of the chia seeds and let stand for about 20 minutes. (Makes about 2/3 cup green onion-chia gel.)

            Bring the green onion-chia gel to a boil over high heat. Add the rice and stir for about 30 seconds. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until rice is steaming hot and has a sticky consis­tency, about 4 minutes.

            Meanwhile, heat the oil in a nonstick (PFOA-free) skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook until desired doneness, such as sunny-side-up, about 4 minutes.

            Divide the sticky rice mixture onto plates or into bowls and top each with an egg. Sprinkle with the tamari, the remain­ing 1/2 teaspoon of chia seeds, and the green parts of green onions. Serve immediately.

            Featured photo credit: ecochiclife.net via ecochiclife.net

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            Last Updated on May 22, 2019

            10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

            10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

            There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

            One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

            In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

            Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

            1. Cat Camel Stretch

            Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

            Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

            Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

            Here’s a video to guide you through:

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            2. Go for a Walk or a Run

            This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

            Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

            The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

            Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

            Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

            3. Jumping Jacks

            Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

            Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

            4. Abductor Side Lifts

            Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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            Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

            5. Balancing Table Pose

            This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

            Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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              6. Leg Squats

              Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

              Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

              The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

              7. Push Ups

              You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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              An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

              Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

              This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

              8. Bicycle Crunches

              There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

              Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

              9. Lunges

              Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

              Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

              This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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              10. Bicep Curls

              You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

              Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

              Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

              Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

              Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

              These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

              You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

              Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

              More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

              Reference

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