The Benefits of Chia Seeds and How to Use Them

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Benefits of Chia SeedsChia, salvia hispanica, is a member of the mint family and grows wild in Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds were first used by the Aztecs and Mayans as a concentrated, nutritious and fibrous food source. Your introduction to chia and chia seeds was most likely the chia pet commercials where the seeds were used to cover terracotta figures and then watered to encourage sprouting.

General Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a compact source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. They have health benefits similar to flax seeds but are easier to use as they don’t need to be crushed or ground prior to eating.

Chia seeds are gluten-free high in protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, and antioxidants. Chia is a rich source of Omega 3  fatty acids and disease-fighting antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin and flavonols which help prevent free-radical damage in your body.

Health Benefits

In a study published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, entitled The Promising Future of Chia, Salvia hispanica L., researchers found that chia seeds produce multiple health benefits especially in maintaining healthy serum lipid (cholesterol) levels. Chia has more fiber than flax with no plant estrogens.

Soluble fibers – 80% (by weight) of chia seeds is soluble fibers. Chia seeds also react with water, absorbing 10 times their own weight resulting in a change from solid + liquid to a gel. This gel is slow to digest and will promote a long lasting feeling of fullness, useful in dieting and weight loss.

Make Chia Part Of Your Diet

Chia seeds are simple to add to your diet. Sprinkle them onto cereals, yogurt, juice, milk, pasta, or virtually anything. Chia can give everything from your smoothie to your breakfast cereal or yogurt as many nutrients as vegetables and as much protein as meat. The most common use for chia seeds is adding them to your smoothies, giving them a unique viscosity – even at room temperature.

Other simple ways to use chia seeds:

  • Pudding – 3 Tablespoons of seeds in 1 cup of your favorite milk or milk substitute then refrigerate overnight as the pudding “gels”.
  • Jam/Jelly – 1 Tablespoon of seeds mixed with 1 cup of mashed fruit will form a healthy homemade fruit jam.
  • Pudding Pops – Mix seeds, fruit or berries and milk substitute and place in small paper cups or a popsicle tray. Allow the mix to swell and gel and then insert popsicle sticks and freeze.
  • Dips – Add these seeds to hummus and guacamole to produce a smoother, healthier mix.

Chia seeds are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  All of which make these seeds a potent and healthy superfood. Adding these seeds to your diet will improve your digestion and gut. It will also reduce your risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

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