Ch.. Ch..Ch..Chia.. Seeds?
These black seeds may have more nutrition benefits than just growing fake hair out of terra cotta clay heads and animal figurines. Five years ago, when I first heard about chia seeds, that is exactly what first popped into my mind, the popular chia pets dating back into the 1990’s and early 2000’s. I’ve gotta hand it to the creators of chia pets because without them, I probably would have never known about chia seeds, nor would I have ever tried to eat them.
But here I am, venturing into the unknown and eating chia seeds.
Chia seeds have so many wonderful benefits that might leave you wondering why you have never tried them before. Try changing up your regular routine and add some chia seeds into your cereal, oatmeal, juice, yogurt, or jam.
Let’s look at the B..B..B..benefits of chia seeds.
The History of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds or Salvia Hispanica originally comes from the mint family. The seeds date back to the ancient mayan and aztec cultures where they were considered a staple in the diet, sometimes even used for trading other specialty foods. The word itself translates to “strength”. These energy packed seeds are exactly why they are used excessively with runners and other professions who needed sustained energy.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
These tiny little black chia seeds have so many benefits to their weight. Just one (1) ounce or about 2 tablespoons provides quick releasing energy in the form of carbohydrates (12 grams), 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber and 9 grams of monounsaturated fat. Chia seeds also have one of the highest vegan sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to us because they help lower serum triglycerides. Among other nutrients and vitamins these little guys have, they contain iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and folate. In fact, they provide 6 times more calcium than cows milk. To top it all off, they fall into the gluten and grain free category. So whether your lifestyle is paleo, gluten free or celiac friendly, you could easily start incorporating these seeds into your diet for a yummy and healthy “change up”.
Chia seeds can help promote weight loss by absorbing up to 12 times its weight in water or other liquid in the stomach. When the seeds start to absorb the liquid, they become gel-like or “mucilaginous” in consistency. This absorbency stretches the stomach and tricks our satiety level to feel full. According to research, it has been shown to reduce hunger levels up to 2 hours after ingestion AND helps to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.
Furthermore, chia seeds promote cardiovascular health by improving lipid profiles and regulating blood pressure. In order to promote cardiovascular health, they lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. Research has also pointed out they might be a good source of carbohydrates for diabetics because they help to stabilize blood sugars and works to keep your body hydrated.
How to Use Them
Most recipes I have seen include the chia seeds with some form of liquid. The liquid base works best because they tend to absorb the liquid around them, causing them to become gel-like. Tossing them into yogurt, milk, juice, water or cereal are the most common ways to incorporate them into your diet. Other ideas include..
- Baking them into muffins or cookies
- Scooping them into smoothie bowls
- Making jam or jelly with chia seeds
- Adding a scoop to your oatmeal in the morning
Chia seeds make wonderful additions to any meal or snack. They help increase your daily intake of fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, folate and omega-3 fatty acids. What’s not to love about these little guys?
Stay on the look out for my homemade strawberry jam with chia seeds on Friday
As always… Happy Chewing, Friends and…
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. What Are Chia Seeds? www.eatright.org
WebMD. The Truth About Chia: Can chia seeds help you loose weight? www.webmd.com
Healing Foods. DK Books. Revised 2013 Edition.
Chia, Nature’s Perfect Food. By Michael Downey. January 1, 2015.
Are Chia Seeds the Answer to Weight Loss? By Jennifer Lea Reynolds. June 1, 2016
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