For years, all I ever knew about Chia seeds were they made for a goofy looking Chia Head, Bob Ross being the latest edition I have seen. But, there is so much more to them than this goofiness, they are actually quite good for you and are easily incorporated into different food items for extra nutrional benefits. I have found that I like to mix them into oatmeal as I cook it as their gelatinous nature improves the texture. I also love to mix Chia seeds into my greek yogurt along with Crystal Light sugar free beverage powder, and as an addition to PB2, and my protein pancakes as well.
Here are a few of the benefits which come from consuming these tiny seeds:
- Chia seeds deliver a large amount of nutrients from very few calories. One ounce provides: 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 18% of your RDI of calcium, 30% FDI magnesium, 27% RDI of phosphorous. They also contain zinc, vitamin B3, potasium, vitamins B1 and B2. All of this comes from a single ounce, equaling 28 grams or about 2 tablespoons which only supplies 137 calories and 1 gram of digestible fiber.
- Chia seeds are a whole grain food, usually organically grown, non-GMO and naturally gluten free.
- Chia seeds are loaded with anti-oxidants which fight the production of free radicals which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging along with diseases such as cancer.
- Almost all of the carbs in them are fiber. 28 grams contains 12 grams of carbs. However, 11 of those carbs are fiber. Fiber neither raises blood sugar nor requires insulin to be disposed of. Because of their high soluble fiber content, chia seeds can absorb up to 10 to 12 times their weight in water, becoming gel like and expanding in your stomach which can increase your feeling of fullness and and slow the absorbtion of your food to help you eat fewer calories. The fiber feeds the friendly bacteria in your intestine, which is important in keeping your gut flora well fed for good health.
- Chia seeds are a good source of protein. By weight, they are about 14% protein and provide a good balance of amino acids. Being high in quality protein is important as it is a weight loss friendly macronutrient and can drastically reduce your appetite and cravings.
- Chia seeds are a great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
- Chia seeds being high in fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids may help with reducing your risk of heart disease when combined with other beneficial life style and dietary changes.
- Chia seeds are high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and protein, all of which are nutrients essential to bone health.
- Chia seeds have been shown in studies to lower the rise in blood sugar after a high carb meal, possibly benefitting people with Type 2 Diabetes.
As you can see from my examples in the opening, chia seeds are quite easy to incorporate into your diet. Being as they have little flavor, you can add them to almost anything. Because of their ability to absorb both water and fat, they can even be used to thicken sauces and as egg substitutes in some recipes.
If you do not already eat them, you shoul consider giving them a try. They are a superfood worthy of that title.