It may seem like a strange question to ask ‘what is chia seeds good for?‘ but people are asking it. They bring many different health benefits, and are becoming a key part to many people’s diets. These seeds are good for things like:
- Supporting bodily functions through providing a high source of nutritional value
- Preventing cellular deterioration through free radicals as a great source of antioxidants
- Helping with weight loss as thy are low GI
- aiding digestion as a great source of fiber, and so much more
So, how did I come to put this article together? Recently, I was asked by a reader via our Facebook page ‘what is Chia seeds good for?’ (or what are Chia seeds good for?).
There are some impressive health benefits of these miniscule Seeds, which we will look at closer in this article. Chia seeds are these tiny seeds are nutrient dense and really healthy for you.
Known as Salvia hispanica, they contain good fats, fiber, vitamin, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants.
Where do Chia seeds come from?
The use of these seeds dates back to the pre-Colombian Aztec times. They originated from Guatemala, and Central and South Mexico.
They come in either white, grey, brown or black. Regardless of the color, the benefit seems almost endless. Flowering Chia grows edible seeds are related to the mint family.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
What’s the health benefit of Chia seeds? Oh my gosh, where do I begin? These amazing seeds have been dubbed a “Super-food” because they are among some of the healthiest foods on the planet.
They are nutrients dense which is important for our body and brain. So, what is Chia seeds good for, you ask. They are:
- Nutrients dense and low in Calories.
Recently, they have become very popular with the Health Food communities and are now consumed by health conscious people all over the world. For every 28 grams, or 1 ounce serving of Chia seeds, they contain:
- Fatty acids like Omega-3’s
- Vitamins B, D and E, and
- Rich in Antioxidants.
The fact that they are rich in antioxidants, the health benefit of seeds like these are nothing short of impressive. The antioxidants present in the seeds prevent the fats in the seeds from decomposing and going rancid.
Most importantly, these antioxidants fight free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. When considering what is Chia seeds good for, these surely come up high on the list.
The carbohydrates found in Chia are mostly fiber. Fiber assist with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. They shouldn’t be considered as a carbohydrate because they don’t require insulin to break them down.
The true carbohydrate content of Chia is about 1 gram per ounce, which is very low. The fiber in Chia feeds the good bacteria in the bowels, which is important because good bacteria are crucial for a healthy gut.
- High in protein and amino acids.
They are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants. Another health benefit of Chia seeds is that they are a great alternative source of protein for Vegetarians and Vegans.
- Good for weight loss.
Chia is able to absorb large amounts of liquid and expands in the stomach and makes the stomach feel fuller for longer. They are low GI (glycemic index), meaning that they digest slowly into the body. Then the protein they have could help to reduce appetite and food intake.
- High in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Gram for gram, they contain more Omega-3s than salmon. Omega-3 supports brain function, helps lubricant the joints, improves joint mobility and is natural anti-inflammatory.
Chia supports insulin resistance, and helps to improve circulation, and lower the risk of Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes by stabilizing the blood sugar levels. Warning: Chia seeds do not react well with blood thinners and or blood pressure medicines.
- High in calcium and protein.
This is good for teeth and bones. This includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein. In addition, the calcium content is particularly impressive… 18% of the RDI (Recommend Daily Intake) in a single ounce.
For people who don’t eat dairy, these are an excellent source of calcium. Note: research shows that collagen is more important than calcium in a healthy bone structure.
- High in fiber.
This is particularly good news for Type 2 Diabetics. The fiber from Chia seeds are low GI (glycemic index) and slowly release glucose into the bloodstream.
Therefore, consuming them reduces the blood sugar spikes when they are a staple in a meal.
The fiber also assists the bowels in removing toxins from the body, and increases the population of good gut bacteria and therefore, improve metabolic health and helps with digestion.
- Used as a natural energy/sports drink.
These seeds have been used to help with improving exercise performance. Amazingly, they can absorb between 9 and 12 times their weight in fluid.
To get the most out of these, try mixing 1-2 tablespoons of Chia seeds with 1-2 tablespoons of fresh lemon, 1-2 Cups of water/fruit juice and 1-2 tablespoons of honey.
Ancient Aztecs and Mayans warriors consumed these seeds to give them energy, stamina and to help improve performance.
- 100% Gluten free.
Now you know how beneficial Chia seeds are, I’d bet you’re wondering what to eat them with or maybe, what to put them in. The short answer is; lots of things. It is incredibly easy to incorporate this super-food into your diet. You can even add them to a colon cleanse mix to help get some good fats into your system.
Sprouted Chia seeds can be mixed through salads. Try sprinkling raw or toasted Chia seeds over salads raw. You could also add them to salad dressings.
They also work well in baking where you can add them to bread, muffins, or cakes. For a quick breakfast option, try adding them to porridge, or use them in your smoothies. Seriously, with all of these options anything goes.
And because Chia seeds form a gel-like consistency when mixed with liquids, they can also be used as an egg substitute in recipes. Apparently, the Aztec and Mayan cultures added them to Kombucha. The Chinese cultures add these seeds to sweet tea.
Now that you are aware of what is Chia seeds good for, you can include them to your foods and drinks to start benefiting from all these amazing seeds have to offer. Oh, and before I go, if you’re wondering ‘where can i get these seeds from’? Most organic health food stores sell them. Enjoy!