Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years or so, you should have heard about the waves chia seeds have been making. Yes, these seeds, previously known for the green shrubs they produce in “Chia Pets”, are now used more much often as food, as they have been found to be nutritional powerhouses.
Records show that chia seeds have been used for centuries in Mexico and as far back as the Aztecs, and now it’s finally being enjoyed by people all over the world. Its versatility is currently unmatched, being able to fit well in smoothies, puddings or even consumed just as they are, just soaked in a little water. Regardless of how you choose to consume them, they are well worth the time.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, various vitamins and minerals, numerous phytonutrients, lots of good fiber and even omega-3 fatty acids. There is scarcely a person who would not benefit from incorporating chia seeds in their diet. Not sure what benefits you can see from consumption of chia seeds? Consider these 13 proven health benefits:
1. They Offer excellent Digestive Support
If you struggle with regularity, chia seeds can become your best friend. They are extremely rich in fiber, and make preventing constipation very easy. Plus, they offer pre-biotic nutrients to the healthy bacteria that live in your intestines are need nourishment.
2. They Are High In Protein
Chia seeds are among the richest sources of protein in the plant kingdom, by weight being composed of 14% protein. This makes them suitable for vegans or vegetarians, and for anyone else who needs an easy way to up their protein intake.
3. Chia Seeds Can Support Bone Health
If you’re looking for a worthy substitute to dairy in terms of calcium, chia seeds fit the bill. Compared on a per gram basis, chia seeds actually contain more calcium than many dairy based products, and are once again perfect for vegans.
4. Chia Seeds Are Useful For Diabetics
Chia seeds offer slow digesting carbohydrates, which are exactly what diabetics need. They also contain fats which further slow the absorption of sugars, and form a slow digesting gel in the stomach, which give insulin ample time to clear glucose from the blood stream.
5. They Promote Weight Loss
Chia seeds are an excellent diet food, because they are extremely filling and reduce cravings significantly. A large aspect of hunger is regulated by hormones, some of which are stimulated when the stomach is empty. This is why simple foods (especially carbohydrates) are not filling for a long time, whilst chia seeds form a slow digesting gel in the stomach. They are also rich in soluble fiber to add further bulk to meals.
6. Chia Seeds Are Heart Healthy
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed for optimal functioning of the heart. The way they promote heart health is by helping keep atherosclerotic blockages to a minimum, reducing inflammation and helping keep cholesterol and triglycerides levels in an optimal range.
7. Chia Seeds May Improve Athletic Performance
To be able to improve athletic performance, you need to optimize glycogen stores. And this is where chia seeds excel. Compared to the leading “sports drink”, chia seeds result in a greater increase in performance- measured by either distance or power output. Seeing that most of the chia based carbs are actually fiber, it would require longer term consumption to saturate glycogen stores.
8. Chia Seeds Boost Mood
Chia seeds are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which is necessary for the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Serotonin is an important regulator of mood, and is one of the brain chemicals that are abnormally low in individuals suffering from depression.
9. Chia Seeds Are Good For Nerve Health
Chia seeds contain magnesium and potassium, which are both important for nerve function. Deficiency of either of these minerals can result in neuro-muscular disorders, cramping or even nerve pain.
10. Promotes Health Of Teeth
Teeth, similar to bone, require many of the same minerals for its health and upkeep. Magnesium, calcium and phosphorus ensure that the bone matric is kept strong, and prevents loss of calcium for other purposes. In addition, chia seeds contain zinc, which help prevent development of plaque.
11. Chia Seeds May Boost Testosterone Levels
Testosterone levels can be negatively affected by nutrient deficiency, which chia can help remedy. In particular are the minerals zinc and selenium, which promote testosterone synthesis and boost fertility and male sexual function. Plus, the high content of fiber in chia seeds help in removal of excess estrogen.
12. Chia Seeds preserve Skin Health And Slow Down Markers For Aging
Chia seeds are extremely rich in phenols and anti-oxidants, which can slow down the ravaging effects of free radicals. Their content is so high, it is said to be able to buffer as much as 70% of the actions of these free radicals.
They also speed up repair of damaged skin, and can restrict premature aging as a result of DNA damage. If you want to maintain you skin’s youthful vigor as long as possible, chia seeds should definitely be part of your health diet plan.
13. Chia Seeds May Prevent Cancer
The benefits of chia seeds have been amazing so far, but what if you knew they could even reduce the risk of cancer? Chia seeds are well known for their high concentration of various anti-oxidants, which buffer free radical damage and prevent an abnormal cell mutation from occurring, but they also contain other compounds that can help prevent cancer.
The most important of these compounds is alpha lipoic acid (ALA), known for its role in managing diabetes and helping promote glucose utilization. However, ALA is also a potent anti-oxidant, enhancing the effect of the body’s super anti-oxidants such as glutathione and super oxide dismutase (SOD). By enhancing the actions of these natural anti-oxidants, the body’s immune system is better prepared to prevent cancer from the inception.