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. Chia seeds have become one of the most popular superfoods in the health community. They are easy to digest when prepared properly, and are a very versatile ingredient that adds easily to recipes. The chia seed is nutrient dense and packs a punch of energy boosting power. Not only that, but recent research has found that the chia seed benefits are even greater than we realized. Now they have even been linked to healing diabetes.
Chia seeds, which are members of the Salvia Hispanica family, along with mint, were a prized food to the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for strength, and the tiny seeds were valued for their energy-boosting properties. Although they’re mostly grown in Mexico and Bolivia, in 2014 the first US company growing chia seeds was established.
Don’t be fooled by the size… these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.
A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains (1, 2):
•Fiber: 11 grams.
•Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
•Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
•Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
•Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
•Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
•They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
This is particularly impressive when you consider that this is just a single ounce, which supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate!
Just so that we’re all on the same page, 1 ounce equals 28 grams, or about 2 tablespoons.
Interestingly if you subtract the fiber, which may not end up as usable calories for the body, chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce. This makes them one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie.
Here are 14 proven health benefits of chia seeds:
1. They Are Rich In Antioxidants
Chia seeds are high in antioxidants which helps fight free radical damage in the body, but also helps to prevent the healthy fats from going rancid in the seeds. You also don’t need to grind them to a meal like you do with flaxseeds to get the most benefits!
2. Chia Seeds Are Typically Non-GMO And Grown Organically
Chia seeds are organic, raw, Non-GMO, non-irradiated, and produced without pesticides which means they’re one of the world’s purest seeds, so you can eat them without worrying about consuming harmful pesticide residues!
3. Chia Seeds Are Suitable For A Low Carb Diet
If you’re watching your carbohydrate intake, then chia seeds are your friend! The net carb content is only 1 gram per ounce, which is really low! Plus, as chia seeds contain so much fiber, they can also help you stay full for longer – supporting any weight loss efforts, or simply curbing those hunger pangs.
4. They’re Good For Your Digestive System
The fiber in chia seeds also help to support your digestive system. Feeding the bacteria in the intestine, which helps them to thrive and nourish your body with essential compounds for immunity and overall health.
5. Chia Seeds Are A Great Source Of Plant Protein
These tiny little seeds are about 14% protein, which is high compared to most plants! A diet higher in protein has been shown to help reduce appetite, improve muscle repair, and even curb nighttime snacking by 50%!
6. Trying To Lose Weight? Add Chia!
Due to the protein and fiber content of chia, as well as its ability to absorb a stack of water (hello tummy-filling power!), chia seeds make a great addition to your diet if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight.
7. Chia Seeds Support Healthy Bones
Gram for gram, chia seeds have more calcium than most dairy products providing 18% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for adults in a single ounce! As well as being high in several nutrients important for bone health, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein.
8. They Help To Detoxify The Body
As the highest combined plant source of omega-3, fiber and protein, chia seeds are a great addition to your detoxification efforts. They help support your body’s natural detoxification pathways, repair your cells, reduce inflammation and support a healthy digestive system.
9. They’re A Natural Beauty Food!
The blend of nutrients in chia seeds such as healthy fats, protein and minerals including zinc help promote healthy skin, hair and nails.
10. Protect Your Heart With Chia
Just one tablespoon of chia will provide you with 100% of your daily requirement for omega-3 ALA. Research shows that plant-based omega-3 is essential for a healthy heart by helping to lower cholesterol while maintaining proper artery function. Both omega-3 ALA and DHA (found in oily fish) are vital in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, and chia has plenty!
11. Reduce Your Risk Of Colon Cancer
With 36% fiber content and a perfect balance of 80% insoluble versus 20% soluble, chia helps lower cholesterol, improves intestinal health and regularity and can reduce the risk of colon cancer.
12. Reduce Your Risk Of Metabolic Syndrome
Chia seeds are rich in soluble fiber which dissolves in water, swelling to form a gel-like substance. This helps to improve your heart health by keeping blood sugar spikes at bay and lowering cholesterol.
13. Chia Seeds Are Gluten-Free
That means Coeliacs and those intolerant to gluten are also able to enjoy the benefits of these super seeds! Plus they don’t come with the potentially damaging effects of gluten when consumed in excess.
14. Chia Seeds Are Great For Those With Diabetes
A study in those with Type 2 Diabetes showed that chia seeds can significantly lower blood pressure and a marker for inflammation.
Chia seeds aren’t only fun to eat, but they’re so full of goodness that your body will love them!