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11 Facts About Chia Seeds That Will Surely Impress You

11 Facts About Chia Seeds That Will Surely Impress You

Despite being a staple in South American diets for several millennia, chia seeds have only really gained popularity in the Western world in recent years. But why are chia seeds deemed a super food, and how will they benefit your health?

1. Diabetes Combatant

At the present time, studies are being undertaken to determine whether chia seeds are a natural treatment for type-2 diabetes due to their ability to slow down digestion. Furthermore, when they are exposed to liquid, they form a gelatinous coat which stops your blood sugar from spiking.

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2. Digestion

Chia seeds are high in fiber, which is fantastic for your general digestive health. In addition, it can be a natural remedy for constipation and helps to reduce inflammation and keep cholesterol low. A mere 28 grams of chia seeds will provide you with roughly a third of the required daily intake of fiber for adults.

3. Weight Loss

These seeds may be tiny, but they can rather miraculously make you feel satiated for longer. This is for two reasons. Firstly, because they bind together and form a kind of jelly when they get wet, they expand in your stomach, much like rice. As such, you feel fuller for longer. Secondly, they contain tryptophan, which is known for regulating ones appetite, as well as improving your mood and sleeping patterns.

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4. Healthy Teeth and Bones

Calcium can be found in high percentages in chia seeds, which makes them incredibly beneficial for the strength and health of your bones and teeth. A single serving of chia seeds can provide you with an impressive 18% of your recommended daily intake of calcium.

5. Egg Replacement

This is a health benefit for vegans or anyone allergic to eggs. Due to the aforementioned gelatinous nature of chia seeds, once they come into contact with liquid, they make a fantastic replacement for eggs (in baking recipes). To create this replacement, simply mix a tablespoon of chia with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for fifteen minutes. Voila!

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6. Gluten Free

Gluten intolerance is becoming an increasing problem in 21st century society. Luckily, chia seeds provide the texture and benefits of grains whilst being completely gluten free!

7. Packed with Protein

Chia seeds contain a high level of protein, with none of the nasty cholesterol. Protein should be a dietary priority because it helps your body to build and maintain tissue and create new cells–all of which are imperative for it to perform ordinary functions. One serving of chia seeds contain roughly 10% of your daily protein requirements. This is impressive, as the majority of protein rich foods are usually meat based products.

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8. Disease Prevention

Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, which means they can help prevent cancer and heart disease. On a slightly less important note, they also help to keep your skin looking young and healthy. People with a high antioxidant intake are roughly 40% less likely to develop pancreatic cancer and reduce their risk of heart attack by 29%.

9. Healthy Heart

I know we just mentioned lessening heart attack rates, but chia seeds can also keep your heart healthy for a different reason. This super food is incredibly beneficial to your blood pressure, again due to its high level of antioxidants. In fact, people whose have a high intake are 46% less likely to develop high blood pressure.

10. Brain Health

Chia seeds also contain a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. This should be an important part of your diet because it assists in the function and general well-being of your brain. In addition, it also works as an anti-inflammatory and can help to combat depression, diabetes, obesity and arthritis.

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Tegan Jones

Commercial editor for global publications Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker & Business Insider.

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

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:

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.

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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.

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.

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

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!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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