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10 Amazing Benefits Of Chia Seeds and How To Eat Them

10 Amazing Benefits Of Chia Seeds and How To Eat Them

Chia seeds are a tiny superfood that pack a big punch. These small, mildly-flavored seeds are packed with antioxidants, support a healthy digestive system, and lower cholesterol. They can even help you shed pounds!

Chia seeds have been part of pop culture since the 1980s

My first interaction with chia seeds was actually through Chia Pets, terra cotta figurines that sprouted the seeds to give the effect of hair or fur. The seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant, a member of the mint family.[1] The plant is native to Central America, and the Aztecs and Mayans regularly consumed the seeds as an energy booster.[2]

Today, the humble chia seed has taken on a life of its own. Though people still know the seeds in the context of that Chia Pet they bought back in 1982, we now think of them primarily as a health food.

Chia seeds have maximum nutritional effect in minimalist packaging

Unlike some of the more ostentatious superfoods on the market –the avocados, acai, and cacao– chia seeds outward appearance and flavor is understated. The small grayish seeds have a light nutty flavor that is virtually undetectable.

Just because chia seeds don’t have a bold flavor or flashy outward appearance, doesn’t mean that their nutrition profile is any less amazing. According to the USDA, chia seeds are good sources of protein and fiber, and they are rich in calcium, Vitamin A, Iron, and Omega-3 fatty acids.[3]

Each tablespoon of chia seeds is roughly 70 calories, but because these are low in carbohydrates, most of the energy that comes from a serving of chia seeds is quickly metabolized.[4]

10 Reasons to add chia seeds to your diet

1. Chia seeds improve digestive function

The high fiber content of these tiny seeds means that they’ll help you stay regular and reduce bowel irritation. Gut flora love high-fiber foods, which means that chia seeds support the good bacteria in your digestive tract.[5]

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2. Get enough essential minerals

Getting enough calcium into your system is a challenge–especially for those of us who don’t consume dairy. Chia seeds contain a high percentage of your daily recommended intake of calcium. They’re also loaded with magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese.[6]

3. They’re a great source of antioxidants

These antioxidants not only make chia seeds extremely shelf-stable[7], they also reduce free radicals.[8] Free radicals cause cell damage, which can lead to everything from aging to cancer.

4. Meet your weight loss goals

While the jury is still out on whether chia seeds make your body better at burning fat, they can definitely help you in your weight loss journey. When swallowed or allowed to soak, the seeds produce a gel-like substance that can make you feel full faster.[9]

5. Get stronger bones

Since a serving of chia seeds contains a whopping 18% of your daily recommended intake of Calcium, consuming them is bound to have a positive effect on bone health.[10] To be clear, a serving of chia seeds contains more calcium than a serving of milk.

Trace minerals such as magnesium and boron, both of which can be found in chia seeds, make it easier for your body to absorb Vitamin D. Vitamin D, in turn, enables your body to make use of all that calcium.[11]

6. Prevent and manage type 2 diabetes

Diets high in fiber prevent the insulin roller coaster that can trigger diabetes. A high fiber diet not only prevents diabetes, but also makes it easier to manage the illness.[12]

7. Detoxify your body

Since chia seeds support your digestive health, they help you get rid of toxins naturally. Their anti-inflammatory qualities enable them to prevent and repair damage that takes place at a cellular level. The result is less waste from your body, and more effective elimination of waste that you do produce.[13]

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8. Enjoy those Omega-3s

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, prevent cancer, and support health overall, but they aren’t always easy to incorporate into your diet. Flax seeds are a common source of omega-3 fatty acids, but your body can’t break flax seeds down on its own.

On the other hand, you can fully digest chia seeds, which gives you access to all their inflammation-fighting powers.[14]

9. Keep your heart healthy

Those amazing Omega-3s support cardiovascular health. Chia seeds’ incredible combination of Omega-3s, trace minerals, and anti-inflammatory properties lower blood pressure, and even prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).[15]

10. Lower your cholesterol

The omega-3 fatty acids and high fiber content of chia seeds can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.[16]

Adding chia seeds to your diet is a cinch

Since chia seeds have such a mild flavor, you can easily incorporate them into a number of dishes that you already make. They pair well with sweet and savory dishes. Whether you sprinkle a serving onto your salad, use the seeds in a smoothie, or add them to baked recipes, you’re in for a treat.

Try these delicious chia seed recipes

Coconut Chia Protein Pancakes[17]

    You need:

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    • 1⁄4 cup gluten free all purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
    • 3 tablespoons vanilla whey protein powder
    • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
    • sea salt (a pinch)
    • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
    • 1 tablespoon coconut flakes
    • 1 egg
    • 4 tablespoons almond milk

    To make this:

    1. Mix dry ingredients into a bowl. Gradually add wet ingredients and stir thoroughly.

    2. Heat and grease a frying pan or skillet. Use 2 Tbs. of batter per pancake.

    3. After the top of the pancake starts to bubble, flip it and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

    Blueberry-Chia Smoothie[18]

      You need:

      • 1 large banana, cut into 1-inch pieces, frozen
      • ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks
      • ¼ cup Blueberry–Chia Seed Jam
      • 1 cup coconut water or unsweetened almond milk
      • 1 tablespoon golden flaxseed oil (optional)

      To make this:

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      Blend these ingredients together until you have a smooth mixture. Enjoy!

      Grain-Free Chia Buckwheat Pizza ((NYOUTRITIOUS: Grain-Free Chia Buckwheat Pizza))

        You need:

        PIZZA BASE

        • ¼ cup chia seeds (whole)¾ cup water
        • 3 tbsp unrefined whole grain buckwheat flour (gluten free)
        • 1 tsp oregano, dried
        • 1 tbsp pine nuts, chopped
        • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, chopped
        • 1 tsp sea salt

        TOPPINGS

        • ¼ cup tomato paste
        • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
        • 4 mushrooms, sliced
        • 4-5 slices bell pepper, sliced
        • small handful fresh basil leaves
        • 1-2 tsp oregano, dried
        • ½ Spanish onion, sliced
        • salt & pepper to taste
        • 1 oz goats cheddar cheese, grated
        • handful arugula leaves (rucola)

        To make this:

        1. Combine chia seeds, water, buckwheat flour, oregano & salt and mix well until the mixture starts to thicken up.
        2. Add chopped pine nuts and pumpkin seed.
        3. Spread out the crust mixture on a piece of parchment paper and form the dough in a round shape. Flatten to about 1 cm for a firm thin crust.
        4. Bake at 175°C (350°F) for 30-40 minutes until firm.
        5. Remove from oven and add toppings of your choice and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
        6. Grate goat’s cheese on top and sprinkle with fresh arugula before serving.

        Dynamite comes in small packages

        Though small in size, chia seeds have a lot to offer us. Add them to your diet to reap the many benefits of enjoying this super-food.

        Reference

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        Jolie Choi

        Having experienced her own extreme transformation process, Jolie strongly believes that staying healthy takes determined and consistent action.

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        Last Updated on August 12, 2019

        12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

        12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

        Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

        But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

        I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

        Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

        1. Nuts

        The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

        Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

        Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

        Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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        2. Blueberries

        Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

        When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

        3. Tomatoes

        Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

        4. Broccoli

        While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

        Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

        Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

        5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

        Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

        The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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        Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

        6. Soy

        Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

        Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

        Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

        7. Dark Chocolate

        When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

        Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

        8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

        Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

        B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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        Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

        Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

        To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

        9. Foods Rich in Zinc

        Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

        Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

        Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

        10. Gingko Biloba

        This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

        It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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        However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

        11. Green and Black Tea

        Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

        Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

        Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

        12. Sage and Rosemary

        Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

        Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

        When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

        More About Boosting Brain Power

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

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