10 Amazing Reasons to Eat Chia Seeds Daily
Salvia hispanica, or Chia, is an herb in the mint family. This small plant, is an absolute gold mine of nutrition; it yields the precious chia seed. I consider the chia seed one of nature’s most efficient super foods. Two tablespoons of the tiny seeds contain 138 calories, 9 grams of fat, 10 grams of fiber, 5 grams of protein and a relatively large amount of calcium. The seeds are jam-packed with omega-3s. Chia seeds contain the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-lipoic acid that your body can convert to EPA and DHA.
In fact, research from top tier universities in the United States have proven that chia seeds are an invaluable source of nutrition. In pre-Columbian times, chia seeds were a component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. Supposedly, 1 tablespoon of the seeds could sustain a person for 24 hours.
Where do Chia Seeds come from?
Chia seeds were first cultivated in 3500 BC by the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. These cultures realized the value of these seeds and used them as currency. At that time, chia seeds were consumed as a grain alone or mixed with other seeds. They were also used to create beverages when dissolved in water, crushed into flour, included in medicines, and pressed for oil and used as a base for face and body paints. Aztec rulers received chia seeds as annual tributes from conquered nations. The seeds were even offered up to the gods during religious ceremonies.
Why you should eat chia seeds
1. To Get Full and Get Better Sleep
Chia seeds do a fabulous job of satisfying your hunger and keeping you feeling full for longer. You know that feeling of wanting to take a nap after eating a Thanksgiving dinner? An amino acid called tryptophan, found in turkey, and chia seeds, is responsible for that. Chia seed is an excellent source of tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes good mood, good sleep and a sense of calm.
Further reading: find out more foods that promote better sleep in my post: Discover the Best Foods to Get Better Sleep
2. Packed with Protein
If you are a vegetarian and you don’t already pack chia seeds into your daily diet then you’d better start scoffing. One 28-gram serving (around 3 tablespoons) of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10% of the daily value.
3. Fat Fighter
Some people avoid eating seeds because they believe that they are fattening. Well, they believe wrong. Chia seeds are made up of good fats, which your body needs. Two thirds of the human brain is made up of fat. The fibrous content and omega-3 fatty acids present in chia seeds also reduce belly fat.
According to the Livestrong website, chia has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar, which is also helpful in fighting belly fat. So, don’t be a fat-phobe. I would also like to note that the seeds can absorb over seven times their weight, in water, and form a sort of gelatin. This gelatin causes a slow release of carbohydrate, facilitating an equally slow conversion of carbohydrates, into glucose (blood sugar), for energy.
Further reading: Read my post on the foods that fight belly fat and about 10 herbs and spices that will help you lose weight
4. Stronger teeth and bones
A serving of chia seeds has 18% of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which is wonderful for maintaining bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.
Further reading: discover better sources of calcium than diary products and if you are interested to prevent osteoporosis then you should read my post about the 4 steps to prevent osteoporosis
5. One word – Fiber
Fiber is essential for great digestion and for preventing constipation, and chia provides you with plenty. 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.
Further reading: learn more about how to improve your digestion by reading my other posts: 10 Eating Tips for a Healthier Digestive System, 8 Best Natural Methods to Treat Digestive Problems
6. Combat Diabetes
Chia is currently under research as a potential natural treatment for type 2 diabetes because of it’s ability to slow down digestion. The gelatinous coating that chia seeds develop when exposed to liquids can also prevent blood sugar spikes.
7. Gluten- Free and Grain-Free
Chia is gluten and grain free. If you are celiac disease or just following a gluten/grain free diet, then you will be delighted to know that you too, can enjoy eating chia seeds.
Further reading: 10 Symptoms of Gluten Sensitivity You Probably Didn’t Know About
8. Stock Up On Omega-3
Chia seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids (in the ALA form), with nearly five grams in a one-ounce serving. These fats are important for brain health and help to improve concentration.
Further reading: find out other reasons to consume omega-3 fatty acids here. Taking omega 3 is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.
9. Amazing Antioxidants
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants which are super for protecting the body against free-radicals, aging and cancer. Furthermore, the fact that they are so full of antioxidants means that they have a longer shelf-life, lasting for almost two years without refrigeration.
Further reading: Discover These 9 Amazing Antioxidants for Great Health
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18% of the RDI for calcium, 35% for phosphorus, 24% for magnesium and about 50% for manganese. These vital nutrients can help to prevent hypertension, maintain a healthy weight, keep energy levels up, and boost metabolism.
Further reading: magnesium deficiency is quite common – find out the top signs you have magnesium deficiency
How to Consume Chia Seeds
As stated above, chia seeds can be used for a range of great things, such as flour, as egg substitutes, in shakes/smoothies, puddings, salads, sprinkled over oatmeal, yogurt, cereal and more.
You can also soak them in water before you consume them. Chia seeds have the property of forming a sticky, gelatinous coating when exposed to liquid.
This property also makes them useful as a vegan, cholesterol-free alternative to eggs, because they serve as a binding agent. You can make your own chia gel by soaking 1/3 cup of seeds in 2 cups of water or juice and letting it sit in a sealed glass container overnight.
Here are just a few of my favorite chia recipes to help you gain the health benefits of chia seeds.
Mix ingredients for one glass of Mexican Fresca:
12 oz cold, fresh drinking water
1 large lemon (it should produce about 3 tablespoons of juice)
The zest of the large lemon
2 teaspoons of honey
one teaspoon, or more, of fresh chia seed
Chocolate Chia Pudding
Ingredients for one serving
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon coffee powder (optional)
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 cup milk (or milk substitute: see here – how to make your own milk substitutes)
2 teaspoons honey, or to taste
Mix cocoa powder, brown sugar, and instant coffee powder together in a bowl; stir until no lumps remain. Fold chia seeds into the mixture. Pour milk into the bowl and stir to incorporate; let the mixture sit a few minutes before stirring again. Repeat resting and stirring a few times over the course of 20 minutes.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.
Drizzle honey over the pudding to serve.
Chia seed is one of the superfoods mentioned in the e-book about superfoods which is part of the Natural Health Revolution Program. This program will help you to achieve your health, nutrition or weight loss goals: