Hailing from Mexico and Guatemala, Aztecs and Mayans once used this ancient super-seed to prepare food and medicine. In prehistoric Colombia, the second main crop after beans was chia. Today, the US, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, and Japan use chia seeds daily. Considering the nutritional makeup of this ancient grain, the craze over chia seeds comes as no surprise. Read on for all the health benefits of chia seeds!
Protein For Sustained Energy
The protein content of chia seeds is higher than other cereals (20% of chia seed’s content is made of this powerful building block). Protein is the Zeus of Energy, making it exceptional in giving you vitality that lasts. Protein is also essential for all the cells in your body. It is used to maintain optimum health in your muscle, cartilage, and blood, specifically to build and repair tissue (that’s why protein is so important after a workout). Protein has a great effect on enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. So when you’re looking to add more protein in your diet, and especially if you cut back on meat, chia seeds are a healthy option.
Fiber for Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Cancer
One tablespoon of chia seeds contains about 10 grams of fiber, making its content higher than quinoa and flaxseed. With daily recommendations at about 25 grams for women and 35 grams for men, this means sprinkling some chia seeds over yogurt, cereal, or smoothies can amp up your fiber intake for the day and keep you fuller longer. Opt for easy-prep in the morning with overnight chia seed pudding (recipe below).
Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Cholesterol, Triglycerides, and Arthritis
About 65% of the oil content in chia seeds are omega-3 fatty acids (specifically in the form of α-linolenic acid). These polyunsaturated fats reduce harmful cholesterol and triglycerides (the main component of body fat in humans and vegetable fat) in the blood. Lastly, studies have found that increasing omega-3 can help relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Antioxidants for Inflammation
Although free radicals (unstable atoms that damage or oxidize our cells) are made naturally in our bodies, lifestyle factors like exposure to chemicals in the air and in pesticides has accelerated their production. That’s where antioxidants come in. These quirky superheroes shuffle and hustle to neutralize the free radicals in our bodies. In essence, think of them as happy mediators, equipped with powers to keep our bodies in equilibrium and away from oxidative stress (imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants).
Gluten Free for Celiac Disease
Those who suffer from celiac disease or simply wish to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diets will be happy to learn that chia seeds are free of this protein often found in wheat and other grains. Say goodbye to bloating, abdominal pain, and fatigue and sprinkle those chia seeds sans any guilt!
Overnight Chia Seed Pudding
Fill one-fourth cup with chia seeds, top with almond milk, and pop into the fridge. In the morning, add fruit, honey, whatever is to your liking. This adaptable recipe keeps breakfast vibrant, quick, and nutritional!