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Discover the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
What are the benefits of chia seeds?
Chia seeds may seem like just your everyday seeds, but don’t let appearances fool you. Packed with nutritional goodness, the varied benefits of chia seeds have seen this little seed become the latest sought after ‘Superfood’. Chia foods are nothing new, in fact this nutritious seed dates back to Aztec warriors who ate the seeds as part of their preparations for battle. The health benefits of chia have been documented since the days of the Indians, who allegedly survived many forced marches, usually lasting 24 hours, on just one teaspoon of the seeds. Chia seeds, no doubt, have the Indians to thank for being nicknamed “race food,” although there are many other benefits of chia seeds as well.
Whether you want to improve your stamina in the gym or just want to have some extra energy for your work day, this amazing superfood has the perfect blend of nutrients to give it to you. Rich in carbohydrates, the seeds can absorb up to ten times their weight in liquid. Because of this super-absorbency, these seeds have little or no effect on a person’s blood sugar. This is what prevents the carbohydrates, which chia is full of, from being broken down quickly by the body. Not only does this prevent a person from experiencing the jitters of a sugar crash, but it also helps maintain a good energy level to help you get through the day.
One of the most popular food benefits of chia is the fact that they can help a person lose weight. Again this has a lot to do with the absorbency and nutrients of the seeds. The carbohydrates in seeds are absorbed slowly, this is due to the seed expanding in the stomach, as well as the soluble fiber found around the outer layer of the seeds. This not only helps suppress a person’s appetite, but also helps stabilize blood sugar for longer. A 2009 clinical study focusing on the food benefits of chia found that the average serving of seeds is enough to reduce a person’s appetite by up to 47 percent. Individuals given the highest recommended dose of chia seeds experienced at least a 33 percent reduction in their glucose level. Interestingly, chia products were used in refined white bread for the study, which is often too closely linked to weight gain and blood sugar imbalance.
It can be difficult to figure out how much calcium you’re getting and, more importantly, if you’re getting enough. If you’re not a big milk lover, chia seed products might be your answer because they actually contain more calcium than milk. Add to this the fact that the seeds improve calcium absorption and it’s fair to say that this is one of the biggest health benefits of chia. The calcium in chia seeds is much easier to digest than in milk, making the seeds an ideal alternative for those with lactose intolerance.
Mental health and brain power
Omega 3 has long been touted as a natural “brain food”. However, what is less publicized is the positive effects Omega 3 and 6 have on individuals suffering from mental health conditions such as depression. Chia food products support a person’s nervous system, which affects a person’s brain function. Better brain function leads to better nerve transmission, which leads to an improvement in a person’s mood. However, the benefits of chia seeds aren’t limited to boosting brain power and mood. The essential fatty acid present in the seeds has been linked to the improvement and maintenance of liver function, cholesterol, joints, stabilization of blood sugar levels and cognitive function.
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry completed studies linking chia seeds to building insulin intolerance, as well as helping prevent heart and liver disease. Chia superfoods make a great supplement, especially if your lifestyle means you’re not always getting the recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals. Chia seeds are said to contain more flaxseed and Omega 3 oil than salmon, so they’re a great substitute for those who don’t like eating oily fish.
If you are vegan or gluten intolerant, chia can also be an excellent source of protein. According to nutritionists, these amazing superfoods contain more protein than other grain alternatives. If you are looking to build muscle and need to increase your daily protein intake, chia superfoods are the best choice when you also consider the other benefits associated with them.
The benefits of chia food also extend to other medical areas. Because the seeds are gluten-free, people with conditions like Chrohn’s disease, gluten intolerance, and celiac disease will be able to take them without any negative side effects. Various studies have also shown that people with various nut allergies have not had any serious side effects from taking the seeds.
These amazing seeds are such little powerhouses that there is just too much to cover in this short article! I have written many more detailed articles about chia and have also made some great little videos showing you how to prepare the seeds and the best ways to use them in your diet!
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