Health Benefits of Chia Seeds: How to Eat Them

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Health Benefits of Chia Seeds: How to Eat Them

Today, chia seeds are widely recognized as the health food they are and are no longer dismissed as a mere fad in the beauty industry. They are rich in proteins and packed with nutrients like iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, which is why they are often considered as protein.

These seeds are native to the South American lands of Mexico and Guatemala. Still, they are commercially grown in several other countries like Peru, Argentina, Australia, and the United States of America. Chia seeds are exported to almost all countries in the world.

They are proven to be a nutritious dietary addition for most people and have been used since time immemorial due to their multiple health benefits.

Amazing Nutrition Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They contain about 10 grams of dietary fiber per ounce i.e. about 2 tablespoons. Chia seeds are also a rich source of protein and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Despite this, they have an extremely low calorific value. You’ll hardly find about 137 calories per ounce, which equals about two tablespoons of chia seeds.

Nutritional Value

Here is a break-down of the nutritional value of 100g of chia seeds:

  • Calories: 486
  • Water: 6%
  • Proteins: 17 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 42 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 35.4 grams
  • Fat: 30.7 grams (Saturated: 3.33 grams, Monounsaturated: 2.31 grams, Polyunsaturated: 23.67 grams, Omega-3: 17.83 grams, Omega-6: 5.84 grams, and Trans: 0.14 grams)
  • Vitamin C: 2%
  • Calcium: 63%
  • Iron: 42%
  • Cobalamin: 0%
  • Magnesium: 83%

Chia seeds should be stored in a clean and dry environment to ensure extended shelf life and retain their nutritional value. The antioxidants present in chia seeds protect their fats from damage, preventing them from getting spoiled. Chia seeds can last for as long as five years when stored properly without any requirement for refrigeration.

Medicinal Plant Compounds Found in Chia Seeds

There are numerous health benefits of Chia seeds due to all the nutrients. Chia seeds can be incorporated into your balanced meat or plant-based diet to prevent the development of various chronic diseases.

Chlorogenic acid:

This antioxidant aids in lowering blood pressure.

Caffeic acid:

This substance is abundantly found in many plant-based foods and helps fight inflammation in your body.

Quercetin:

This powerful antioxidant can reduce your risks of ailments, including heart disease, osteoporosis, and a few forms of cancer.

Kaempferol:

This antioxidant has been associated with a decreased risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

Chia Seeds Health Benefits

Chia dig deeper into how these medicinal compounds and the nutritional value of chia seeds can directly benefit a personal health.

Chia seeds, by themselves, can have high nutritional benefits to men as well as women. Here are a few advantages of regular consumption of chia seeds:

1. Reduction in Free Radicals

Chia seeds are made up of antioxidants that can help fight and reduce the production of free radicals in your body. We all know that free radicals are associated with certain types of cancer. Free radicals tend to cause oxidative stress and cell damage.

Eating foods rich in antioxidants like chia seeds can help reduce your risks of developing many other health issues associated with free radicals that include but are not limited to heart disease and the onset of cognitive dysfunction.

2. Healthier Heart

A vital component of chia seeds is quercetin. It is an antioxidant that can aid in the reduction of your risks of heart disease, among other health conditions.

Chia seeds are extremely high in fiber. This helps in lowering high blood pressure and thereby reduces your risk of developing heart disease.

3. Balance in Levels of Blood Sugar

Foods like chia seeds that are high in fiber are reported to help reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar levels in your body. This reduces your risks of ailments, including metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

According to one study, it is found that bread that contains chia seeds triggers a lower blood sugar response in the body than bread without it. Therefore, chia seeds can help in the prevention of high blood sugar levels significantly.

4. Improved Immunity

Researchers have shown an exceptionally high interest in chia seeds due to their high content of alpha-linolenic or ALA fatty acids. About sixty percent of the oil in chia seeds comes from these omega-3 fatty acids.

However, chia seeds alone are not enough to fulfill the omega 3 requirements of an individual. Thus, available research has been more favorable towards a diet containing omega-3-rich foods in addition to chia seeds.

5. Reduction in Inflammation

Inflammation occurs when chemicals from your body’s white blood cells enter your blood or tissues to protect your body from invaders. The body starts releasing chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system. Chronic inflammation can lead to multiple health conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

As discussed above, an antioxidant called caffeic acid – found in chia seeds can help fight inflammation in your body. Regular consumption of chia seeds can also help to reduce inflammatory markers, which are indicators of the existence of inflammatory diseases.

6. Better Weight Management

An ounce of chia seeds contains about 39% of the daily fiber requirement. The fiber in chia seeds is soluble, and it can absorb a lot of water which is as much as ten times its dry weight.

This causes the seeds to expand inside your stomach and increase the feeling of fullness after you consume them. The longer you feel full, the less likely you are eating in excess. In this way, chia seeds help you to maintain a healthy weight.

7. Improved Bone Health

Chia seeds contain several nutrients that are essential for ensuring good bone health. These nutrients are namely magnesium and phosphorus. A single ounce of chia seeds contains 18% of your recommended daily allowance of calcium.

Calcium is not only vital for healthy bones but also muscles and the proper functioning of the nerves. Chia seeds are found to contain more calcium than dairy products.

8. Healthier Skin

We already know that the essence of chia seeds is that it’s loaded with antioxidants. The free radicals present in the antioxidants aid in the repair of cell damage and even significantly reduce inflammation.

Consuming chia seeds is a great habit if you want beautiful, healthy skin. Chia seeds can even prevent premature skin aging. This superfood aids in cell regeneration and repair.

Fun Ways to Add Chia Seeds to your Regular Diet

Chia seeds are often regarded as superfood seeds, and rightly so. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein and have three times more iron than in a serving of spinach, double the amount of potassium than in bananas. It is also a great source of fiber that aids in digestion.

What’s great is that chia seeds are versatile and can be used in many recipes. Chia seeds have a mild nutty flavor and great bite. So if you’re one of those people who does not like to have chia seeds on their own, you can add them to any sweet or savory dish to get that extra dash of energy.

Here are some other ways to consume chia seeds:

Chia Sprouts

Yes, you read it right. Chia seeds can indeed be sprouted if you’d like to. Just sprinkle some of the whole chia seeds onto wet paper towels and keep moistening the paper towels regularly for a week.

You’ll soon notice tiny chia sprouts that you can use any way you like, such as in salads. Sprouted seeds in general are more nutrient-dense.

Garnish Your Favorite Dishes by Sprinkling it on Top

You can elevate any dish, be it salad, fruits, eggs, soups, oatmeal, and many more, by sprinkling a few chia seeds on top. A generous sprinkle of chia seeds over your food gives it a boost of omega-3s, protein, and fiber, along with aesthetically improving your dish.

Make a Chia Seed Jam

chia-seed-jam

Store-bought jams are just heaps of sugar combined with artificial flavoring. It’s time to show them the door and welcome some healthy chia seed jam to your kitchen. You can combine any fruit of your choice with chia seeds to create a delicious homemade jam full of flavor and nutrition.

Chia seeds can soak up tons of water and turn liquid into a jelly-like substance. Just combine a cup of your favorite fruit with one tablespoon of chia seeds. You can create and enjoy a delicious jam free of any additives, in no time!

Superfood Smoothies with Chia Seeds

Add a few teaspoons of chia seeds to your smoothie to increase its nutritional value and help you reap its amazing health benefits.

One of the most simple and easy ways to make a nutrient-packed smoothie is to blend a tablespoon of chia seeds with a frozen banana, a few spinach leaves, one or two tablespoons of cacao powder just a cup of almond milk.

You can add some ice if you would like before enjoying this super healthy smoothie that has both great consistency and taste. Smoothies with chia seeds are an excellent choice for weight loss.

Make Way for Some Chia Pudding

Milk with chia seeds is a match made in heaven. And it tastes heavenly too. Make your own delicious and healthy chia puddings with ease. These puddings are a great way to start your day with lots of good energy.

You can mix a cup of milk of your choice with about three tablespoons of chia seeds and refrigerate overnight. Add in some fresh fruits, nuts, coconut shavings, cocoa powders, some spices, or any ingredient you and like to enjoy a mouthful of superfood goodness.

Make Some Crunchy Crackers

Who doesn’t love real crunchy crackers? We know you do! You can make them a thousand times healthier by adding ingredients like chia seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.

Just Combine around half a cup of each type of seed with 1 cup of water. Spread out a thin layer inside your baking tray and bake it in the oven at 300 degrees or so for about 30 minutes. The perfect cracker is super crispy and a little brownish due to the roasted seeds.

You can have these superfood crackers packed with healthy fats as they are or with your favorite dips. You can even add some herbs and spices to get an extra kick of flavor.

Make a Health Drink

Make your cup of tea healthier by adding a few chia seeds to it. You get a different taste and texture based on whether your drink is hot, cold, or room temperature. Any drink with a teaspoon of chia seeds in it gets transformed into a healing tonic to boost your health and metabolism.

Tasty Desserts that are High on Protein

Losing weight doesn’t have to be synonymous with suppressing your sweet tooth. You can easily make delicious desserts right at home without putting on any weight. Sounds too good to be true, right?

You can now bake healthy desserts at home by adding a few tablespoons of chia seeds. Be it a healthy banana bread recipe, lip-smacking muffins, cookies, or any other drool-worthy dessert, you can add chia seeds to them for a great consistency with a bit of crunchiness.

Chia Seed Tortillas

Are tortillas any good in your weight loss journey? Yes, they are, provided you add some chia to them. Tortillas with chia seeds turn out to be light but tasty.

Add a few tablespoons of chia seed to your regular tortilla mix. You can also add some of your favorite spices to make it sweet or savory. These tortillas are not only nutritious but also versatile.

Give a Healthy Twist to Ice Cream Pops

chia-seed-ice-cream-pops

Ice cream pops are our favorite summer treat but are unfortunately loaded with refined sugars and a lot of heavy fats. If you are trying to lose weight, just replace a few of the ingredients to make it a wholesome dessert.

Just blend your favorite berries or any other fruit with some coconut milk and a handful of chia seeds to pack in a healthy dose of vitamins into your dearest snack. Freeze the mixture and enjoy.

Make Perfect Crusts for Your Meat and Fish Recipes

Usually, we coat our meats and fish with high-carb substances like breadcrumbs or refined white flour full of starch. Chia seeds can act as a great alternative to this as well.

You can mix a cup of corn or almond meal with just a tablespoon of chia seeds to get a crust that will amp up the nutritional value of your dish. Use your favorite spices and mix to enhance the flavors. Spices such as turmeric and garlic powder, in addition to chia seeds, can help lower your risks of heart disease.

Remember to avoid frying them to keep the nutrients intact. Baking works equally well and keeps in all the nutrients without loading up harmful fats from the cooking oil.

Give Your Dish a Better Texture

There are so many ways in which you can incorporate chia seeds into your regular diet. You can add them to full-fat Greek yogurt or steel-cut oatmeal during breakfast to kick start the day with a burst of energy. This protein-rich superfood gives a naturally smooth texture to any dish and makes it even more vibrant.

You can bid adieu to flavored yogurts and oatmeal, and muesli that are loaded with tons of unnatural ingredients and sugar. You can achieve the same sweetness by adding your fresh fruits or a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to your yogurt.

Make a Healthy High-protein Breakfast or Granola Bar

You can combine all your best health seeds with some nuts, grains, and fruits to make wholesome morning breakfast bars that are rich in nutrients.

Chia seeds have a high amount of protein and fiber content. You can experiment with the different types of ingredients that you can use to make a perfect health bar. Just avoid adding sugar. You can use ingredients like agave, honey, and dried fruits which are great alternatives to sugar and can even lead to fat loss.

A Great Snack for the Kids

Parents can now give a sigh of relief knowing that there are healthier alternatives to those sugar-loaded, unhealthy snacks for kids.

Make a chia seed drink by mixing the seeds with water and flavoring ingredients like dry fruits. You’ll get a go-too snack time juice with a fun texture that your kids will love and will get a boost of energy from the power-packed chia seeds.

Make a Chia Seed Dip

It’s super simple and easy to make dips like guacamole, hummus, and Greek Tzatziki sauce tastier and several times healthier with the help of chia seeds. Just by mixing these seeds into your favorite dips, you can create a smooth gelatin-like texture similar to the classic dip. Chia seeds have a bland taste and will boost the dips’ overall nutrition without altering their taste.

High-calorie ingredients like avocados and garbanzo beans can be replaced with chia gel to cut back on calories and pack the dip with loads of protein and fiber.

Great Substitute for Eggs!

Chia seeds are the holy grail for vegans. Here’s why: Chia seeds are going to help you stay away from eggs without missing out on the texture that eggs give to your dish.

You can substitute eggs with chia seeds by simply mixing one tablespoon of chia seeds with a few tablespoons of water. Let this mixture sit for some time, say for about ten minutes. It has the same texture as a beaten egg and gives the same great consistency to all your favorite dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the best time to eat chia seeds?

Plain raw chia seeds should preferably be consumed in the morning, on an empty stomach.

2. Does Chia seed help with insomnia?

Chia seeds contain an amino acid named tryptophan. It helps in elevating your mood and helps regulate erratic sleep patterns associated with insomnia.

3. Are Chia seeds vegan?

Chia seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of proteins and omega-3. They are a great vegan alternative to eggs without compromising on texture.

4. Who should avoid eating chia seeds?

Chia seeds are a part of the mint family. So, anyone who has a reported intolerance to mint, sesame, mustard seeds, or seeds and nuts in general, is likely to be allergic to chia seeds.

5. How do chia seeds help women on their periods?

Chia seeds help in eliminating excess hormones in a woman’s body during her periods. This not only makes the periods lighter but also reduces sensitivity to insulin during menstruation.

Summing it Up

Consuming chia seeds comes with numerous health benefits, including improved blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, and improved gut health. They contain several essential nutrients that the body needs but are hard to find in other foods.

However, ensure that you consume chia seeds in moderation. Too much of anything is not good and might end up causing adverse effects like dehydration and digestive issues. These seeds are high in fiber, and therefore it is essential to drink plenty of water if you are planning to consume chia seeds daily. Some people might also be allergic to chia seeds, so always be mindful of your body before eating anything.

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