Chia Seeds Benefits for Improving Your Health
Getting a little something more out of your normal daily foods is something we all desire. If there's an option to better ourselves nutritionally by simply choosing a nutrient packed product we already eat, rather than drastically changing our food choices, why wouldn't we choose that product?
Related: Superfoods List - 5 Essential Foods for Better Health
One of the most recent nutrient-packed items, providing a wide variety of health benefits, is the chia seed. Wait, the same seed you used as a kid to grow a back full of grass hair on your Chia turtle or a full grass afro on your Chia Spongebob Squarepants?
Well, long before the Chia Pet made its way into our lives the chia seed was used by the Aztecs as a main food staple within their diet and viewed as not just a superfood, but a supernatural food by the Aztec warriors because of the energy it provided to them.
Now, you may be thinking, can something so small really pack a nutrient-punch worthy of an Aztec warrior? I'm here to tell you that it can. Below are 4 reasons why you need to start adding chia seeds into your diet.
Chis Seeds Benefits
#1 - Chia Seeds Are Nutrient PackedThe chia seed is an extremely underrated food choice when it comes to vitamin and mineral content. When we think vitamins and minerals our first thoughts sway to vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, or green beans. While these vegetable do provide excellent sources of daily vitamins and minerals, it's time to expand your thinking when it comes to micronutrient intake.
Chia seeds provide a healthy dose of iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and manganese. They also contain zinc, potassium, and Vitamins B1 and B3. A single ounce of chia seeds provides the following:
- Calcium: 18% of the RDA
- Manganese: 30% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA
#2 - Chia Seeds Provide AntioxidantsThe chia seed wouldn't be considered a superfood if it wasn't packed with antioxidants right? Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, which can help protect against damage to your cells and reduce the risk of cancer.
The antioxidant level in chia seeds is on par with blueberries and a 2008 study on chia seeds found that the extract of a chia seed has an antioxidant activity level comparable to the commercially produced antioxidant product Trolox. So, if you are looking for an easy way to add more antioxidants into your diet, the chia seed is a top choice.
#3 - Chis Seeds Contain FiberFiber intake is an extremely important part of one's diet and is something that is often overlooked when people are looking to eat "healthier." Not only does fiber help with weight loss, it also helps assists with digestion and helps against prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Need more fiber in your diet? Chia seeds are the answer. A 1-ounce serving of chia seeds provides twelve grams of carbohydrates with 11 of those being fiber. The recommended fiber intake for men under the age of 50 is 38 grams per day and for women 25 grams per day.
So, if you want to stop eating dry fiber bars or putting scoops of formulated fiber powder into your drinks, incorporate more chia seeds into your diet. By sprinkling a couple ounces of chia seeds on top of your morning oatmeal or in your afternoon smoothie you can reach your daily fiber intake with ease and reap the health benefits.
#4 - Chia Seeds Are Rich in Omega 3'sChia seeds may be small but they pack a MEGA amount of Omega-3's as they are one of the top sources of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids you can find. Omega-3's have been shown to decrease LDL, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. A higher intake of Omega-3's can also decrease your risk of thrombosis and arrhythmias, which can both lead to heart attack and stroke.
For those of you who don't get your daily dose of Omega-3's through eating fish or taking fish oil pills, it's time to start incorporating chia seeds into your diet.
Ch-Ch-Ch-ChiaChia seeds are the David VS Goliath of the plant world: tiny in stature, but strong enough to keep your body strong, healthy, and protected against a variety of chronic health diseases. So, the next time you hear that classic "Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia" jingle don't just think of a grass growing turtle. Rather, think of how chia seeds will help you make "Ga-Ga-Ga-Gains".
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References1) Willcox, J. K., Ash, S. L., & Catignani, G. L. (2004). Antioxidants and prevention of chronic disease. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 44(4), 275-295.
2) Lopez, M.A., Tecanet A., Reyes-Caudillo E. (2008). Dietary fibre content and antioxidant activity of phenolic compounds present in Mexican chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds. Food Chemistry, 107 (2), 656-663
3) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2015). 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.