When you hear the word chia your mind probably goes to those commercials with the fuzzy green novelty items that would grow a full coat within one to two weeks. Well, chia seeds are the reason why those Chia Pets get their lush, green coating. Fast-forward a few decades, those same chia seeds are being sold online and health food stores. Chia seeds are becoming better known as a super food with a great source of healthy omega-3 fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants and calcium.
Chia is an edible seed that is derived from the desert plant Salvia hispanica. It is native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests that chia seeds were a vey important food crop for the Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as evidence have proven that chia seeds aid in digestion, lowering cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar.
Chia seeds also contain calcium, manganese and phosphorus. Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds, and unlike flax seeds, they can be eaten whole or milled. Integrating chia seeds in your food is easy; they’re tasteless and they will not affect the flavor profile of your food.
So once you got your chia seeds how do you add them? Well, that’s the fun part! You can sprinkle them whole on top of salads, toast or added milled to your smoothies. You can even add them to your ice cream!
Check out 10 reasons why you should add them to your diet:
1. Have a healthy heart
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total LDL and triglyceride cholesterol.
2. Balance blood sugar
Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion. Both the gelling action of the seed and its unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. If you eat chia with a meal, it will help you turn your food into constant, steady energy rather than a series of ups and downs that wear you out.
3. Don’t kill my fiber
Just a 28-gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fiber — about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults. Adding some chia to your diet is an easy way to make sure you’re getting a good amount of fiber, which is important for digestive health.
4. No more 2 o’clock feeling
Your energy levels have a lot to do with what you eat. Chia is one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein to raise your energy levels. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood sugar all work together to make sure you have steady, never jittery energy.
5. Mega manganese
Manganese isn’t a well-known nutrient, but it’s important for our health. It’s good for your bones and helps your body use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin. One serving of chia seeds, or 28 grams, has 30% of your recommended intake of this mineral.
6. Powerful protein
Chia seeds also make a great source of protein for vegetarians and has no cholesterol. One 28-gram serving of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 percent of the daily value.
7. Get full faster
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is also found in chia seeds. While tryptophan is responsible for that strong urge to nap after a big Thanksgiving dinner for example, it also helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.
8. Strong bones and teeth
A serving of chia seeds has 18 percent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which puts you well on your way to maintaining bone and oral health, as well as preventing osteoporosis.
9. Plenty of phosphorus
With 27 percent of your daily value, the phosphorous in chia seeds is also used to synthesize protein for cell and tissue growth and repair.
10. Age-defying antioxidants
Chia is extremely high in antioxidants and these helpful substances are what make chia seeds stay fresh for so long. At room temperature, they’ll stay fresh and ready to eat for over two years and that is without any chemicals or preservatives! Flax and sesame seeds couldn’t stand a chance. Antioxidants help prevent free radical damage in your body. Free radicals lead to problematic conditions such as premature aging of the skin and inflammation of various tissues. You can fight free radical damage by staying fresh and healthy with nature’s antioxidant powerhouse.
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