6 Surprising Health Benefits to Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are all over our health food stores, websites, and recipes… but what’s the big deal about these tiny black seeds? Believe it or not, chia seeds are derived from the Salvia hispanica plant and actually have tremendous health benefits. They date back to ancient times, having been used by the Aztecs and Mayans who recognized the potential and nutritional value of the seeds. Fun fact: “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Chia seeds have only recently grown in popularity within today’s society, and they are now officially recognized as a modern-day superfood! The seeds themselves are very easy to incorporate into your diet; they don’t have much taste and can be added to pretty much anything. They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, blended in smoothies or added to baked goods. Let’s take a look at some of the surprising benefits of these small seeds that can add a powerful nutritional kick to your family’s diet!
Chia Seeds offer a large amount of Nutritional value with few calories
A one ounce serving of chia seeds carries a lot of nutritional value with many essential nutrients, some which many of us don’t get enough of on a daily basis. In this one ounce serving, you get 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 18% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium, 30% RDI of Manganese, 30% RDI of Magnesium, and 27% RDI of Phosphorus.
All of this nutritional value comes with only about 134 calories. Additionally, chia seeds have more Omega-3s, calcium, phosphorus and fiber than other seeds such as flaxseeds. Many people do not consume enough of these essential nutrients in their daily diet! So, add an ounce or two of chia to your morning smoothie. 😊
Chia Seeds are loaded with High Quality Protein
Chia seeds are made up of 14% protein which is higher than most other plants. Protein itself has many health benefits and is one of the most weight-loss-friendly dietary nutrients. A higher intake of protein has been known to lower appetite and reduce obsessive thoughts about food. Chia seeds are also considered a complete protein since they contain all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Chia seeds are a great source of protein especially for our friends who eat little or no animal products!
Chia Seeds are a good source of Antioxidants
These seeds have been shown to have a high antioxidant content. This is great for us since antioxidants help fight the production of free radicals, some of which can damage our cells. Free radicals also contribute to aging and disease, like cancer.
Fun fact: The antioxidants within the seeds help them from going rancid so they have a very long shelf-life, especially when stored in the fridge.
Chia Seeds can aid in Heart Health
Chia seeds have been shown to help contribute to healthy blood sugar levels that is also helpful in lowering blood pressure. Both of these factors contribute to overall cardiovascular health!
Studies show that chia seeds may help reduce insulin resistance as well as improve blood sugar control, both of which are risk factors that contribute to diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Chia seeds can also aid in helping people who already suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) by helping to lower it. High blood pressure is also another significant risk factor in developing heart disease.
Chia Seeds are especially high in many important Bone Nutrients
There is a significant amount of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein inside these tiny little seeds. All of which contribute to bone health! The amount of calcium from chia seeds is worth noting, at 18% of our recommended daily intake. Compared to dairy products gram for gram, chia seeds have more calcium. This makes them an excellent source of calcium for people who don’t or can’t eat dairy.
Chia Seeds can help reduce inflammation
Since chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this in turn helps to reduce inflammation in our bodies! Although inflammation can be your body’s attempt to fight bacteria and viruses, it can also be harmful; especially chronic inflammation, which is known to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
The omega-3 fatty acid that helps to reduce inflammation is called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Just about 75% of the fats in chia seeds is the omega-3 acid ALA. Although ALA does need to be converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) before it can be used by your body, studies have shown that chia seeds raise blood levels of ALA up to 138% and EPA up to 39%. These two acids are essential in helping to reduce chronic inflammation. Okay, that’s enough science for today! All in all, chia seeds play a significant role in helping our bodies regulate and fight inflammation.