Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) are a remarkable Superfood that can help support your joints, skin, hair, nails, cardiovascular system, nervous system and proper digestion which leads to less food cravings and better weight management. You’re about to learn the top 7 benefits of Chia Seeds and How to use them…read on!
Chia Seeds are an ancient food the MesoAmericans depended on for centuries to sustain peak endurance during times of war and peace. Today, science is proving these “super-seeds” contain massive amounts of nutrients that benefited the Aztecs and Mayans for centuries.
And you can experience the same benefits too!
You might be familiar with Flax seeds? Flax contains Omega-3 fatty acids and so does Chia. But Chia Seeds are far superior in the amount of nutrients they contain when compared with Flax. Plus you don’t need to grind them up or worry about harmful anti-nutritional factors such as cyanogenic glycosides (CGs) and higher levels of phytic acid, found in Flax seeds.
But that’s not all…
Chia Seeds contain the essential fatty acid called Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) which your body naturally converts to omega-3. The conversion of the plant-based omega-3 ALA to the long-chain EPA and DHA may be increased in vegans and vegetarians who do not eat fish, suggests results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to brain function and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Chia seeds and flax seeds contain roughly comparable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia is a more versatile source of Omega-3 in that it does not have to be ground.
Chia seeds contain 10 grams of dietary fiber per ounce. One ounce, the recommended daily dose of chia seeds, contains roughly one-third of your daily fiber intake goal. A high-fiber diet normalizes bowel movements, regulates blood sugar, and reduces cholesterol levels. According to Harvard School of Public Health cohort study published in JAMA, researchers reviewed fiber intake from 43,757 US male health professionals and found that for each 10 gram increase of fiber per day, lowered heart attack risk from fetal coronary disease by 55 percent!
By weight, these tiny seeds pack a serious punch when it comes to protein. One ounce of chia seeds contain 9% of the daily requirement of protein. Chia is a high-quality protein that is easily digestible and contains all the essential amino acids required for optimum health. The protein content in chia is higher than both meat or eggs.
Chia also contains large amounts of important minerals like calcium and magnesium. And they have more anti-aging compounds than Blueberries! These rich antioxidants and the omega-3 fatty acids can be pressed from the seed into Chia Seed Oil. This is the perfect oil for moisturizing and nourishing your skin because it contains polyphenols and compounds that protect cells, smooth dry skin and diminish wrinkles in the skin.
High fiber diets reduce the risk of developing diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels. The National Institute of Medicine found that diets with 14 grams fiber for every 1,000 calories resulted in a decreased risk of both Type 2 diabetes and increased cardiovascular health. The added Omega-3 also supports heart health, lowers blood pressure and ensures optimal levels of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) in the blood.
Evidence suggests that chia helps with weight loss. In 2014, Nutrición Hospitalaria published a study in which participants consumed chia flour for 12 weeks. The study group lost more weight and had a small reduction in waist size when compared to the control group. Harvard Medical School states unequivocally that eating more fiber will cause you to lose weight, and chia is high in dietary fiber.
The anti-inflammatory properties of chia seed oil alleviates acne and restores normal moisture levels to the skin. The antioxidants inhibit wrinkle formation providing younger, smoother skin. Chia is loaded with antioxidants like polyphenols, carotenoids and tocopherols. These are ninja fighters who combat free-radicals and protect your skin from signs of aging.
Chia seeds became popular with long distance runners after the book Born to Run cited chia seeds as the superfood of the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. The Tarahumara frequently make runs of up 200 miles at a time.
The Aztecs ate chia seeds to relieve knee and joint pain associated with long marches into battle. The anti-inflammatory properties of Omega 3 fatty acids and Quercetin, both found in chia seeds, are the reason for the reduction in pain.
Chia seeds help to fuel your body for longer periods of time. Long distance runners can add chia seeds to a pre-run smoothie for sustained energy or try some of these delicious energy balls!
You are probably wondering, “how do you eat chia seeds”? Unlike flax, which needs to be ground to release nutrients, chia seeds can be eaten whole. While you can cook with them, I recommend using pure organic chia cooking oil for that. The whole seed can easily be sprinkled on your favorite breakfast meals like oatmeal or cereal, yogurts, salads and more! My favorite way to use chia is with a green smoothie or chia pudding.
Chia Pudding is one of the easiest and fastest ways to incorporate this amazing superfood into your daily routine. In fact, all you need is a few ingredients and a few minutes to prep.
Here’s a few of my favorite chia seed pudding recipes:
You should also try some of these chia recipes:
Whenever possible, Nate is mindful at what he puts into his body and is always looking to nature to thrive, both physically and spiritually. On a daily basis you can find him sipping a tall glass of green smoothie or eating a vegan burrito. He loves sharing his knowledge and deep appreciation for natural healing with the world.