25 Secrets of Chia Seeds

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Chiya seeds are tiny, flat and oval-shaped seeds with a polished texture.This plant (Salvia hispanica) has origins in Mexico and Guatemala, and comes from the mint family.It is considered to have been a staple food for the ancient Aztecs and Mayans.In fact, the word “chia” means “strength” in ancient Mayan.When it comes to color, it can vary from white to brown or black.

Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet.They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain.Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, only recently did chia seeds become recognized as a modern day super food. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain.Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, only recently did chia seeds become recognized as a modern day super food. In the past few years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health conscious people all over the world.

This is one of a collection of articles on the health benefits of popular foods.It will look at the nutritional value of chia seeds and their possible health benefits, how to incorporate more chia seeds into the diet, and any potential health risks. Soaking seeds before eating is optional, but not necessary.

Health Benefit of Consuming Chia Seeds

Eating once ounce of chia seeds each day would provide 18 percent of daily calcium needs, 27 percent of phosphorus, 30 percent of manganese, and smaller amounts of potassium and copper.Plant-based foods have long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality.Plant-based foods have been shown to support a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

1.  Rich in Antioxidants

chia seeds shine is in their high amount of antioxidants.These antioxidants protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid.Although antioxidant supplements are not very effective, getting antioxidants from foods can have positive effects on health.There are some claims online about chia seeds having more antioxidants than blueberries.
Chia seeds are high in antioxidants that help to protect the delicate fats in the seeds. They also have various benefits for health.

2. Stimulate Weight Loss

This is because chia is high in fiber.The fiber absorbs large amounts of water, causing the stomach to expand, which should ultimately make you feel full and slow the absorption of food. A fiber found in chia seeds and called glucomannan has been studied on several occasions. It has been reported to lead to weight loss.Aside from chia seeds’ fiber content, their high levels of omega-3-fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acid may be useful for weight loss.
Then, knowing that the protein calls for reduced food intake, it may come as a logical conclusion that the protein in chia seeds reduces appetite, therefore, the amount of food we consume.One of the characteristics that make chia so unique is that it can absorb up to 10X its own weight in water.  Because of this, chia seeds can prolong hydration and improve nutrient absorption of electrolytes.  This also slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer reducing sugar cravings.

chia seeds are also high in zinc, they help your body increase leptin. Leptin is a key hormone that regulates your bodies appetite, how your body spends energy and regulates how your energy levels! It also improves stamina and endurance, making chia a great source of nutrition if you are looking to get in shape.

A review, published in the Journal of Obesity, concludes that “there is limited data to suggest the use of chia seeds for weight loss.”

Another study, published in Nutrition Research, concludes that, in overweight adults, chia seeds have “no influence on body mass or composition, or various disease risk factor measures.”

A weight loss diet is about more than just adding or subtracting single foods. The entire diet counts, as well as other lifestyle behaviors like sleep and exercise.When combined with a real food based diet and a healthy lifestyle, I can definitely see how chia seeds could help with weight loss.

Chia seeds are high in protein and fiber, both of which have been shown to aid weight loss.

3. Treat Diabetes

Chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, protein and Omega-3s, they should be able to improve metabolic health. High-fiber diets are associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes. Eating high-fiber meals helps to keep blood sugar stable.

Without a proper diet and control, your body is susceptible to varying blood sugar levels that lead to cravings for sugar and other high-fat foods such as sweets or sodas.In the case of unstable blood sugar levels, chia seeds are a recommended diet food.

Based on a review of findings from several large studies, The National Institute of Medicine found that diets with 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories were associated with significant reductions in the risk of both coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

4. Fight Heart Disease

Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health. In two studies, a diet with chia seeds, soy protein, oats and nopal, has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increase HDL cholesterol and reduce inflammation.

chia seeds (salvia hispanica) are high in linoleic, a fatty acid which helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.  For such a tiny seed, chia is quite high in healthy fats boasting more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Omega-3s work to protect the heart by lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and inflammation. Inflammation can put strain on blood vessels and cause heart disease. So by eating chia seeds you can boost and protect your heart.

5. Helpful in Digestion and Detox

Chia is super-high in fiber, providing nearly 11 grams per ounce. One serving can provide the recommended fiber intake for the day, according to the American Dietetic Association. Fiber is essential for your body’s ability to balance insulin levels.

Being high in dietary fiber, chia helps promote bowel regularity and healthy stool. The rich fiber content in chia seeds also helps people feel more full quicker because it absorbs a considerable amount of water and immediately expands in the stomach when eaten. This may explain why clinical studies have proven that chia curbs hunger and suppresses appetite, which can also lead to weight loss.

Also when consumed, chia seeds create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach.  This gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in chia seeds and it can work as a prebiotic supporting the growth of probiotics in the gut.

6. Treating Diverticulosis

High-fiber diets have been shown to decrease the prevalence in flare-ups of diverticulitis by absorbing water in the colon and making bowel movements easier to pass.Eating a healthful, fiber-filled diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables can reduce pressure and inflammation in the colon.

The exact causes of diverticular disease are not known, but the condition has repeatedly been associated with a low fiber diet.

7. Treat Cardiovascular Disease and Cholesterol

Increased fiber intake has been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

A review of 67 separate controlled trials found that even a modest 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake reduced LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, as well as total cholesterol.

Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation. In this way, it may decrease the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

8. Fight Constipation

Chia seeds contain a plenty of fiber. The fiber found in chia seeds consists of insoluble and soluble fiber. These two should be incorporated into your diet if you want to lose weight.If you have a hard time losing weight, the answer might lie in constipation.

In order to lose weight, you have to keep your digestive system on track and break the cycle of chronic constipation.These small wonder seeds might be of great help when it comes to accomplishing this task.

According to the researchers, soluble fiber has an ability to preserve more water in your stool, causing waste to be larger, softer and easier to pass through your intestines.

On the other hand, insoluble fiber adds bulk to your fecal material, thus hastening its passage through the gut and preventing constipation.

9. Boost your Energy

A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds enhanced exercise performance for workouts that lasted 90 minutes the same way a sugar-laden sports drink would, but without all the sugar.

In the study, half of the athletes drank 100 percent Gatorade, while the others consumed half Gatorade and half chia drink.  Their runners time were matched and the half-chia group consumed far less sugar.

  • By adding a serving of chia seeds a day you can help boost your metabolism and burn belly fat as well! Studies show that the addition of chia seeds to your diet also reduces visceral adipose tissue, a “belly fat” tissue that effects the metabolism of the body and is a component of obesity.

10. Pre-and post-work out Enhancement(Energy Booster)

Legend has it that the Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds to fuel performance back in the day.Therefore, what you and your body need is a pre-workout drink that will provide you with sustained energy and hydration.In addition to slowing sugar absorption, chia also slows down the process of converting sugars and carbohydrates from the seeds into energy. This slow-burning process, in combination with the high protein content, leads to a sustained energy boost.

The simplest way of making homemade chia seeds drink is as follows: a splash of lemon and a spoonful of chia seeds.You can both use this drink as pre and post-workout energy fuel.

On the other hand, there is another way of preparing your drink using coconut water.Instead of using water, use a base of fresh coconut water and then add chia seeds to it.The importance of using coconut water as an ingredient of this drink is the additional boost of hydration and electrolytes that are lost during exercise.Coconut water also gives you energy before your workout, which enables you to stay fueled throughout the entire routine.

Concerning a post-workout refresher, use the same recipe and your muscles will recover faster, thus preventing you from feeling worn out and exhausted.

11. Great Mood Booster

If we account this potent plant to previously mentioned properties, its ability to lift moods comes naturaly. Chia seeds can actually make you feel happier because of the amino acid tryptophan found in them. It can boost not only your energy but your mood, as well. According to SFGate, tryptophan is responsible for producing hormones and neurotransmitters like serotonin.

There it is claimed that serotonin plays an important role in fighting anxiety, thus encouraging mood boosting and producing the sleep hormone melatonin.

12. Good for Bones

Just one ounce of chia seeds has 18% of the recommended daily amount of calcium.Therefore, for all those people that do not eat dairy products or are lactose-intolerant, chia seeds are an excellent source of calcium.

Calcium is fundamental in bone health and helps maintain bone strength and mass. Chia also contains boron which is another essential nutrient for bone health. Boron helps metabolize calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for healthy growth of bones and muscles.

13. Help your Teeth

With chia seeds being packed with calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin A and zinc, it’s no wonder that they are a top food to help your teeth! Calcium is the building block of your teeth and necessary for tooth health.

Zinc prevents tarter by keeping plaque from mineralizing onto your teeth and has an antibacterial effect that keeps bad breath germs away. Vitamin A and phosphorus are also important for strong teeth and a healthy mouth.

14. Beneficial  Skin and Aging

This past July, researchers from Mexico uncovered that chia seeds had a total natural phenolic (antioxidants) concentration nearly two times higher than previously reported, and the antioxidant activity was shown to stop up to 70% of free radical activity.

Essentially proving that chia seeds are one of nature’s riches antioxidants. Antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems, and prevent further damage. Taking chia seeds can prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation free radical damage.

15. Fight Breast and Cervical Cancer

Chia seeds are rich in alpha lineic acid (or ALA) which is an Omega-3 fatty acid. Recently in 2013, the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry found that ALA limited the growth of cancer cells in both breast and cervical cancers.

They also found that it caused cell death of the cancer cells without harming the normal healthy cells.  While more research still needs to be done to find out the deeper implications of ALA on other types of cancer, this is a great discovery for women struggling with these increasingly common types of cancer.

16. Eating during Pregnancy

These tiny seeds pack such a nutritional punch that expectant mothers should also consider incorporating them into their diet. Pregnancy can deplete your body of important nutrients and eating chia seeds can help replace those lost nutrients while providing a much needed energy boost. Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into your daily routine and benefit not only the mother’s health, but the baby’s development as well.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for a baby’s brain development.For such a tiny seed, chia is quite high in omega-3 fatty acids. Pregnancy is very taxing on the body. Chia seeds pack a powerful antioxidant punch to help replace some of those lost nutrients. They’re high in essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron and niacin.

During the final three months of pregnancy, it’s important to get adequate calcium for proper skeletal development. Chia seeds contain almost five times the amount of calcium as milk. An added bonus — they also contain boron, another critical mineral for bone health.

Iron is essential to develop the red blood cells that transport oxygen through the body. During pregnancy, increased iron intake is necessary to accommodate the mother’s increased blood volume and for the development of the baby’s blood.

17.Grown Organically

Unlike many other “healthy” foods that are grown in the GMO environments, chia seeds are organic, raw, and non-GMO foods.

Mostly, their production does not require any additional artificial supplements and pesticides, making them one of the healthiest foods of our time. So we can use chia seeds without any fear because it is organic.

18. Easy to Incorporate into your Diet

Despite the fact that this is not a standard health benefit, it is rather important.Chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet.

The seeds themselves taste rather bland, so you can add them to pretty much anything.They also don’t need to be ground like flax seeds, which makes them much easier to prepare.

They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, added to porridges and puddings, or added to baked goods. You can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes.

Because of their ability to absorb both water and fat, they can be used to thicken sauces and even used as egg substitutes in recipes. They can also be mixed with water and turned into a gel. Adding chia seeds to recipes will dramatically boost the nutritional value.

They do also seem to be well tolerated… but if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, then there is a possibility of digestive side effects if you eat too much at a time.

A common dosage recommendation is 20 grams (about 1.5 tablespoons) of chia seeds, twice per day.

19. Few  Calories Friendly Food– ( Chia Seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients with very few Calories)

It’s no secret that companies are becoming more conscious of labeling the calorie contents of their food–it’s even listed next to each drink you order at Starbucks. Luckily, this amazing seed, which is included in many granola bars, can actually be consumed without worrying about weight gain. It’s one of those amazing foods that have very low calorie content because it’s just a plant. Most foods with high calorie contents are jam packed with sugar and preservatives to trick your taste buds and get you addicted to their products. When you start eating more plants instead of fake processed foods, your taste buds will soon be able to enjoy the natural flavors in foods. Cinnamon or raw organic honey are good flavor add-ones for chia seeds.

20. Source of Healthy Carbohydrates

Many times, athletes will try to carb-load before a soccer or basketball game so they have some energy to burn. Unfortunately, they often choose unhealthy things like breads, pancakes, and pastas which will slow their reactions and digestion causing inflammation in their joints and muscles. Luckily, chia seeds are now being used pre-workouts to give a healthy dose of carbohydrates which won’t have negative effects on the body. They do provide a good amount of energy because of the high fiber content and you will feel full but you won’t crash like you would from the sugars in starchy foods.

21. Chia and The Power Of Fiber 

Fiber is a substance which stimulates food digestion and colon cleansing. The true carb content is equal to 1 gram per ounce. This is a very low rate, making chia a low-carb friendly food.

Due to a big amount of fiber in them, chia seeds have an ability to absorb up to 10-12 their weight in water.Once they have absorbed all the water, they gradually expand and become a gel.

As a result, you should feel fullness in your body, slowed absorption of the consumed food, and stimulation to eat fewer calories.

As you may already know, there are “friendly” bacteria in your body, especially the intestine.These bacteria in your gut are important to take care due to the health benefits they bring.Weight-wise, chia seeds are 40% fiber, which makes them one of the best fiber sources in the world.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Institute of Medicine suggest that men under the age of 50 years should consume 38 grams of fiber per day and women under the age of 50 years should consume 25 grams per day.

For adults over 50 years of age, the recommendation for men is 30 grams per day, and for women, it is 21 grams per day. Most people consume less than half of that recommendation.

22. Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids. One portion of chia seeds has 4900 mg of omega-3s. Omega-3s are considered to be as healthy and beneficial as the antioxidants found in chia seeds. Omega-3s have been associated with reducing inflammation and alleviating the pressure and pain in your joints.

For someone suffering from arthritis, chia seeds are the perfection supplement to a healthy diet. In fact, chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.

However… it’s important to keep in mind that the Omega-3s in them are mostly ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), which is not as beneficial as you may think. ALA needs to converted into the “active” forms, EPA and DHA, before it can be used by the body.

Unfortunately, humans are inefficient at converting ALA into the active forms. Therefore, plant Omega-3s tend to be vastly inferior to animal sources like fish.

Studies have shown that chia seeds (especially if they are milled) can increase blood levels of ALA and EPA, but not DHA. Because they don’t supply any DHA (the most important Omega-3 fat), I think chia seeds are overrated as an Omega-3 source.

In order to get the DHA your body and brain desperately need… either eat fatty fish regularly, take fish oil, or take a DHA supplement if you are vegan or vegetarian.

24. Packed with Protein

Chia seeds are a good plant-based protein source because they contain high-quality protein with all the essential amino acids.  Chia seeds contain a decent amount of protein. By weight, they are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants. They also contain a good balance of essential amino acids, so our bodies should be able to make use of the protein in them.

Protein has all sorts of benefits for health. It is also the most weight loss friendly nutrient in the diet, by far. A high protein intake reduces appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50%.

Though it is high-quality, the protein in chia seeds is not to be consumed as the sole protein source for children for it may cause harmful consequences. These seeds are also gluten-free, so those gluten-intolerant people can reap the benefits of chia seeds.

Chia seeds really are an excellent protein source, especially for people who eat little or no animal products.

25. No Cooking Necessary

Chia seeds make a great traveling snack because they don’t need to be refrigerated. All you do is add water and they are ready to eat when they expand. They are delicious when added to oatmeal or other cereals and can help make your breakfast smoothies more filling. Many people like to add them to yogurt or combine them with a fruit juice to make a delicious drink. They are very easy to find at health food stores and many regular grocery stores are now carrying them as well.

Other Mineral

Manganese: Whole grains and seeds, especially chia seeds are rich in manganese. This mineral is essential for metabolism boosting, development and growth.

Phosphorus: This mineral is often found in foods rich in protein. Phosphorus provides bone health and tissue maintenance.

Copper: A mineral that maintains heart health, prevents cardiovascular diseases, and is often lacking in the diet.

Selenium: It is known as one of the best antioxidants among minerals. It takes part in many processes in the body.

Iron: It is a component of hemoglobin in red blood cells. Also, it has a role of transporting oxygen throughout the body. Still, this mineral is likely to be absorbed just partially due to the phytic acid content of chia seeds.

Magnesium: It plays an important role in many processes in the body. Despite its health benefits, it is often lacking in the diet of the Western world.

Calcium: This mineral is the most abundant one in the human body, this making it essential for bones, muscles and nerves.

Some minerals such as zinc and iron may have a reduced absorption rate due to the phytic acid content of chia seeds.

Other Plant Compounds

Chia seeds, besides other healthful compounds, contain other plant compounds that are in the least beneficial.

Chlorogenic acid: This antioxidant has been associated with lowering blood pressure.

Caffeic acid: Many plant foods are rich in this substance. Caffeic acid is also a good means of fighting inflammation in the body.

Quercetin: This compound proved to be a powerful antioxidant, which reduces heart diseases risk, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.

Kaempferol: Another antioxidant found in chia seeds, which brings the benefits of the reduced risk of cancer and other chronic diseases.

In order to have a very long shelf life, chia seeds have to be clean and dry because the antioxidants in chia seeds protect the fats from damage.

Conclusion

Being loaded with fiber, minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, these nutrients make these seeds very potent and healthy.Not only are they capable of preserving your health like digestion and gut, but they can also reduce the risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

And what many people struggle with when buying these super foods is incorporating into a healthy diet.It will look at the nutritional value of chia seeds and their possible health benefits, how to incorporate more chia seeds into the diet, and any potential health risks.

Note-
according to a recent study in 2010, ALA not only did not increase prostate cancer risk, but actually decreased the risk in participants.Occasionally some people may experience stomach discomfort when consuming chia seeds especially in large amounts due to the high fiber content. As with any food, eat in moderation and always drink plenty of water unless soaking your seeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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