Advertising
Advertising

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]

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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:

    Advertising

    • 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:

      Advertising

      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

        More by this author

        Jolie Choi

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

        11 Health Benefits of Cucumber Water (+3 Refreshing Drink Recipes) Put Down Your Pizza and Find Your Healthy Diet Challenge Buddy By Using “Foodstand” Ditch Your Banana and Kale! Use “The Blender Girl” To Find Your Fun and Tasty Smoothie Recipes If You Exercise but Sit a Lot, You’re Still Unhealthy Walk While You Work, You’ll Be 10X Healthier

        Trending in Physical Strength

        1 How to Quit Drinking for a Healthier Body and Mind 2 How to Burn Calories Effectively (the Healthy Way) 3 Why Am I Not Losing Weight? 7 Reasons Revealed 4 12 Best At Home Workouts (No Equipment Needed) 5 Why Can’t I Lose Weight? 8 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Fit

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on September 18, 2020

        7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

        7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

        Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

        Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

        1. Exercise Daily

        It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

        If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

        Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

        Advertising

        If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

        2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

        Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

        One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

        This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

        3. Acknowledge Your Limits

        Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

        Advertising

        Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

        Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

        4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

        Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

        The basic nutritional advice includes:

        • Eat unprocessed foods
        • Eat more veggies
        • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
        • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

        Advertising

        Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

          5. Watch Out for Travel

          Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

          This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

          If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

          6. Start Slow

          Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

          If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

          Advertising

          7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

          Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

          My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

          If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

          I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

          Final Thoughts

          Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

          Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

          More Tips on Getting in Shape

          Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

          Reference

          Read Next