Chia seeds are produced by a plant known as Salvia Hispanica which varies in color from brown to darker shades such as black. Historically, Aztec warriors used to eat only chia seeds leading up to combat with other tribes. The seeds fueled their performance and increased their chances of victory. They are rich in minerals and other essential nutrients that promote good health and help fight diseases. Below are some of the known health benefits of chia seeds:
7 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
1. Antioxidant Properties
Chia seeds contain powerful antioxidants which help fight free radicals which otherwise cause aging and increase the chances of contracting certain diseases like cancer. Though one can still take supplements that contain antioxidants, studies show that natural antioxidants are more effective than those which have been processed. These elements also keep fatty acids found inside the seeds from going rancid. Moreover, there are some who claim that chia seeds contain more antioxidants than blueberries, though this has not yet been scientifically proven.
2. Aids in Hydration
Chia seeds have unique hydrophilic qualities which help in regulating electrolytes and keeping the body well hydrated. They can absorb at least 12 times their own weight in water while also holding the moisture for extended periods of time. These fluids and electrolytes provide a healthy environment for cells to function normally, by fostering buoyancy. They provide the proper mineral supply to maintain a homeostatic constant. By consuming them, one will benefit from greater efficiency in utilization of liquids and electrolyte balance is also maintained.
3. Healthy Protein for Better Growth and Development
Studies show that chia seeds are higher in protein than most other plants. This macronutrient helps in fostering the growth of lean muscle tissue and also reduces food cravings and excess appetite. The seeds have an average protein ratio of 14% which is more than various other crops in the same category. They also contain a decent amount of amino acids which help in the repair and restoration of damaged tissue. Scientists have found that high protein intake can reduce food obsession by up to 60%, including the desire to snack at night by 50%. Chia seeds are a superb source of protein especially for individuals who eat no animal products.
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4. High in Fiber which Helps with Weight Loss and Proper Digestion
Chia seeds are high in fiber which is a known weight loss inducer. This ingredient helps in absorbing large portions of water and expands while inside the stomach which triggers a feeling of fullness and slows down the absorption of food. Studies have been done on a type of fiber which works similarly known as glucomannan, with positive results. Test subjects showed signs of weight loss throughout the experiment.
Nevertheless, shedding extra mass is about more than just subtracting or adding certain foods to your diet. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with sufficient sleep and exercise will also go a long way in boosting your chances of success. When combined with this routine, the chia seed diet will surely help to manage weight gain. Fiber also helps prevent constipation which occurs when food does not move properly inside the bowel. This ultimately causes poor absorption of nutrients by the body and also increases chances of contracting IBS, better known as irritable bowel syndrome. Eating sufficient amounts of chia seeds can help prevent this from happening.
5. Increases Bone Tissue Density
The seeds are high in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium compounds which are all essential in building stronger bones. Calcium content is particularly impressive at 18% RDA per ounce which is even higher than what’s typically found in dairy products. It can also be a great substitute for people who are allergic to dairy.
6. Boosts Endurance and Stamina for Athletes
A recent study shows that chia seeds can partially replace Gatorade as a better way of carb loading for building endurance in athletes. Those who use it report running on a treadmill for up to 1 hour without getting tired. Replacing half of your Gatorade with the seeds will deliver the same performance. But unlike sports drinks, these seeds increase overall intake of nutrients without increasing sugar intake.
7. Improves Eyesight
Those suffering from poor eyesight will find these seeds to be very useful. Chia seeds have been known to reverse macular degeneration in many populations around the world. This condition is characterized by a permanent spot that does not go away when one is looking around, making patients falsely believe that it’s lodged on the surface of their retina. However, this anomaly is actually taking place inside the eye and proper nutrition can help prevent it from happening. Beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E are all useful in avoiding this situation and they can all be found in chia seeds. Similarly, macular degeneration can be stopped by compounds that stop free radicals from circulating. These impressive qualities make chia seeds a must-have for those with eyesight problems.
Chia seeds are largely considered superfoods due to the numerous nutrients they contain. They can be an excellent choice for vegetarians even more so than flax seed since they can be stored for extended periods of time without getting stale or requiring any additional grinding. The seeds have a special type of oil that prevents staleness due to high antioxidant levels. Doctors also recommend adding them to your daily diet since they contain omega III fatty acids. These are essential fats which the body does not produce on its own but still requires them to function well.
In addition, they are ready to eat straight from the farm and do not require any cooking whatsoever. The only form of preparation that may be done is washing them to remove dirt and debris from the surface. Similarly, those who are on a gluten-free diet will find these seeds very useful as they don’t contain the protein. Unlike flax seed which needs to be grounded first before making a smoothie, chia seeds do not require that process and can be consumed as they are. These are just a few of the many health benefits of chia seeds.
Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Smoothie with Chia Seeds
Make sure to check out our recipe for a tasty smoothie that is dairy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO!
- Half a cup of blueberries
- Almond Milk (please get almond milk without carrageenan)
- 1 Banana
- 15 grams of L-glutamine powder
- 1 tbsp of chia seeds
- 1 cup of organic lactose free plain yogurt (optional)
Did we miss any important health benefits of chia seeds? If so, let us know below in the comments!