Chia seeds have been used since ancient times by the Mayan and Aztecs. Aztec warriors ate chia seeds for the energy boost and endurance. On the other hand, Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. Therefore, Chia seeds were a staple for runners and warriors during battles. Modern research founded that chia seeds benefits for health are even more remarkable than we realized.
Chia seeds not only provide energy but also promote healthy skin, reduce the signs of aging, good for heart and digestion and make your bones and muscles stronger. They are even capable of reversing diabetes.
Chia seeds are now easily available worldwide so you can use them as a powerful addition to your diet. They are rich in nutrients, loaded with vitamins and minerals as well as proteins and fiber.
You can eat them raw, soaked in juice or add them in porridges, puddings, and baked stuff. You can also add them to make some healthy smoothies, yogurt, and salads. You can also use chia seeds to thicken up sauces as they readily absorb water and fat.
Amazing Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:
#1 Loaded with Antioxidants
Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants that remove free radicals from your body and help fight against aging and cancer. The high antioxidant concentration also increases their shelf life, and they can last almost two years without refrigeration.
A study uncovered that chia seeds have a total antioxidant concentration nearly two times higher than previously reported, and the antioxidant activity was shown to remove up to 70 percent of free radicals.
This means that chia seeds are one of those foods that provide you with a high antioxidant concentration.
Why you need antioxidants?
Antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems and prevent further damage, making it healthy and glowing. Consuming chia seeds prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation and free radical damage.
#2 Chia Seeds are Good for Digestion
Chia seeds contain a high amount of fiber, making them incredibly good for bowel regularity and healthy stool. Fiber also makes you feel full sooner as it can absorb a considerable amount of water and expand in the stomach.
Chia seeds after absorbing water create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach that can act as a probiotic that supports the growth of probiotics in the gut, therefore, helping in better digestion.
#3 Weight Loss
Foods that are rich in fiber and protein are ideal for weight loss diets, and chia seeds are one of them.
Fiber reduces inflammation, lowers cholesterol, and regulates bowel functions. Chia seeds are a rich source of fiber. They offer 10 grams of fiber in only two tablespoons, which is one-third of the daily-recommended intake of fiber.
Chia seeds also stand among the top plant-based sources of protein. This is another reason why this seed is amazing for people trying to put on lean muscle, burn fat and balance blood sugar levels.
The unique ability of chia seeds to absorb up to 10 times their weight in water is a result of the fiber content. This prolongs hydration and improves nutrient absorption of electrolytes. Also, it also keeps you satiated longer, thus reducing sugar cravings.
#4 Chia Seeds are Good for Your Heart
Chia seeds can reduce inflammation, regulate cholesterol, and decrease blood pressure, making them extraordinarily beneficial for your heart. Chia seeds also reduce oxidative stress, thereby decreasing the risk of developing atherosclerosis.
Chia seeds also contain large amounts of omega-3 (healthy fats). Omega 3 protects your heart by decreasing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation.
#5 Boost Metabolism and Energy
Chia seeds have been known to provide a boost of energy since historical times.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning deduced that chia seeds could improve exercise performance in workouts in the same way any regular sports drink would and without all the unhealthy sugar.
By including chia seeds in your diet, you can make a great difference if you are trying to lose weight. Not only they boost your metabolism but can burn belly fat as well. Studies reveal that the addition of chia seeds to your diet can decrease visceral fat or commonly known as “belly fat” tissue that affects the metabolism of the body.
How Much Chia Seeds per Day
Roizen and Mehmet Oz, MD, in their book You Staying Young recommend two daily doses, each consisting of 20 grams (a little less than two tablespoons) of chia seeds. Still, other resources mention that you should not exceed two tablespoons per day. The reason for that is that chia seeds are rich in fibers, which may cause stomach issues if you are not used to eating fiber-rich foods.
Nutrition Facts about Chia Seeds
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA Branded Food Products Database two tablespoons of chia seeds (about one ounce) contain:
- 70 Kcal
- 3 grams of protein
- 6 grams of fiber
- No sugar
- 100 grams of Calcium
- 32 grams of Iron
- 2 grams of vitamin C
- No cholesterol or fatty acids
How to Eat Chia Seeds
- When soaked in water, chia seeds will form a gel-like, which can make you feel full for a longer duration. You can also use this mixture to thicken foods in some recipes like the pudding, and it can also replace eggs in vegan cooking.
- As a whole, you can consume these small seeds as a whole by adding some to your morning breakfast; sprinkle some on cereal, yogurt, or oatmeal or add some to your fruit salad for an extra energy booster.
- Powdered in bread dough, muffins, or cake as it keeps it moist for a longer period.
8 Creative Chia Seeds Recipes
#1 Chia Seed Crackers
Crackers could be a perfect snack for kids and adults, too. This crackers recipe contains sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds along with chia seeds.
#2 Chia Seeds Smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to boost your energy and provide your body with antioxidants, adding chia seeds will for sure double the benefits, and makes your smoothie the perfect snack after a workout, they provide your body with protein, minerals, and reduce sugar craving.
There are so many smoothie recipes that you can choose from, tropical smoothie, citrus smoothie, Spanish smoothie, banana smoothie, and many more. You can choose from this dairy-free tropical green chia smoothie by Kristine, detox green smoothie by Ally, or blueberry and chia smoothie by Amy Chaplin.
#3 Chia Seeds and Raspberries Pudding
This chia seeds pudding by Giada De Laurentiis is easy to make; you will need to mix almond milk, yogurt, maple syrup, the vanilla, and salt. Then cover and refrigerate for overnight.
As chia seeds will absorb the water in the mixer, it will thicken and form a nice pudding by the next day. Add berries, red berries, or strawberries and serve in small bowls or glasses.
#4 Apple Mug Muffin and Chia Seeds
This egg-free muffin recipe uses chia seeds as a replacement for eggs, which makes it vegan-friendly. It also includes apples to add more flavors.
#5 Banana Chia Power Breakfast Bars (Banana Cake)
This gluten-free banana cake can be a great start in the morning, either has alone or top it with some cream cheese frosting or butter. Alexa uses almond flour and tapioca flour, along with flax seeds and chia seeds, which makes a great fiber source and energy booster for your day.
#6 Greek Yogurt and Chia Seeds
This easy, still delicious recipe makes the perfect snack.
Mix yogurt and chia seeds, let sit for a few minutes, then add fruits of your choice.
#7 Fruit Salad
Another easy recipe is by slicing fruits of your choice, kiwi, oranges, and bananas are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, add chia seeds and honey if you wish.
#8 Chicken Nuggets
Kids love chicken nuggets, yet most chicken nuggets served in restaurants are not healthy. This healthy chicken nuggets recipe is a healthy twist on what you would find in a readymade kid’s meal. Chicken is breaded with chia seeds, ground flaxseed, Parmesan cheese, and herbs. Then bake in the oven.
Chia Seeds Side Effects
As mentioned earlier, you should consume chia seeds in moderation, and it would be better if you start slow, like a teaspoon a day.
If you are allergic to sesame or mustard, you should consult your doctor before taking chia seeds.
About the Author: Lisa Brown has been helping her readers with successful business and entrepreneurial strategies for the past three years. She currently works with Ekuep, which is the first online store in the Middle East that caters to the foodservice industry. It sells kitchen equipment, restaurant equipment, and food service equipment that are made by leading brands from all over the world. These machines and tools are trusted by all restaurant and cafe owners from across the world.
This post was updated by Dima Al Mahsiri