Chia seeds have become one of the hottest crazes in regards to superfoods you should be eating.
Do they live up to the hype, though?
Are they all that and should we be consuming them more often?
Here are 4 health benefits that are supported by human studies.
1. Extremely Nutrient Dense
Just 1 ounce of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams protein, 5 grams of omega-3 rich fats as well as calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous.
All of these power-packed nutrients are in just 1 ounce of chia seeds and it is only 137 calories.
This makes this one of the worlds best sources of concentrated nutrients.
2. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Did you know that chia seeds contain more omega-3s than salmon when you compare it gram to gram?
The difference though is the omega-3 fats in chia seeds are mostly ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) which does need to be converted to “active” forms of EPA and DHA before it can be used by the body.
This does make it less likely to be as effective as the omega-3s found in salmon since they don’t have to be converted to a more useable form.
So while they are a good source of Omega-3 fats you should still try and consume most of your high-quality omega-3 fats such as EPA and DHA from cold water fish like salmon.
3. Low in Carbohydrates
The label may be deceiving at first glance because you see 12 grams of carbs for 1 ounce of chia seeds.
Look a little closer and you will see 11 of those 12 grams are fiber. This is highly beneficial because it is low carb and the fiber doesn’t raise your blood sugars or require insulin to be digested.
Chia seeds since they are very high in fiber should slow down the absorption of your food intake and help you feel fuller faster because the fiber will expand and become gel-like in your stomach.
Chia seeds are 40% fiber by weight and when you consume this you are consuming one of the best sources of fiber in the food chain.
4. May Improve Certain Blood Markers
So far the studies are inconclusive, but it shows significant promise that when you consume chia seeds you may lower your LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol and lower your inflammation.
There needs to be more research to confirm this because right now some studies show benefit and other studies were inconclusive.
I do think with all that fiber which has been proven to show improvements in blood markers that you can benefit from consuming chia seeds and lowering your risk of heart disease
The best part of chia seeds is that they are real easy to incorporate into your diet. You can add them to pretty much anything. They don’t need to be ground up and can be eaten raw or added to baked goods.
Adding chia seeds to recipes will dramatically boost the nutritional value of that meal.
Here is a delicious recipe that will even function as a dessert for you.
Chia Seed Pudding
Since chia seeds are so dense in fiber when you soak them overnight in water they will turn to a gel-like substance much like a tapioca texture.
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
Measure out the chia seeds coconut milk, vanilla extract and honey. Mix all the ingredients and then put into the refrigerator overnight to allow the chia seeds to soak up the liquid and become gelatinous like a pudding.
This recipe was adapted from Vegan.com
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