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Benefits of Chia Seed

Chia is an edi­ble seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia his­pan­ica, a mem­ber of the mint fam­ily that grows abun­dantly in south­ern Mex­ico. You may have seen chia sprouts grow­ing on the nov­elty planters called Chia Pets, but his­tor­i­cally, the seeds have been the most impor­tant part of the plant. In pre-Columbian times they were a main com­po­nent of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic sur­vival ration of Aztec war­riors. The Aztecs also used chia med­i­c­i­nally to stim­u­late saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin. Chia seed can now be found at cer­tain health and fit­ness stores and online.

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Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advan­tage over flax: chia is so rich in antiox­i­dants that the seeds don’t dete­ri­o­rate and can be stored for long peri­ods with­out becom­ing ran­cid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutri­ents avail­able to the body. Chia seeds also pro­vide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as cal­cium, phos­pho­rus, mag­ne­sium, man­ganese, cop­per, iron, molyb­de­num, niacin, and zinc.

Another advan­tage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 min­utes, chia forms a gel. Researchers sug­gest that this reac­tion also takes place in the stom­ach, slow­ing the process by which diges­tive enzymes break down car­bo­hy­drates and con­vert them into sugar.

Chia has a nut­like fla­vor. You can mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sugar to make a drink known in Mex­ico and Cen­tral Amer­ica as “chia fresca.” As with ground flax seeds, you can sprin­kle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or sal­ads, eat them as a snack, or grind them and mix them with flour when mak­ing muffins or other baked goods.

Chia is under­go­ing some­thing of a renais­sance after cen­turies of neglect. It was a major crop in cen­tral Mex­ico between 1500 and 900 B.C. and was still cul­ti­vated well into the 16th cen­tury, AD, but after the Span­ish con­quest, author­i­ties banned it because of its close asso­ci­a­tion with Aztec reli­gion (Indi­ans used the seeds as offer­ings in rit­u­als). Until recently, chia was pro­duced by only a few small grow­ers, but com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion has resumed in Latin Amer­ica, and you can now buy the seeds online and in health food stores.

Because of its nutri­tional value and sta­bil­ity, chia is already being added to a range of foods. Research has shown that adding it to chicken feed makes for eggs rich in omega-3s. Feed­ing chia to chick­ens enriches their meat with omega-3s; fed to cat­tle chia enriches milk with omega-3s. Chia can also be added to com­mer­cially pre­pared infant for­mu­las, baby foods, baked goods, nutri­tion bars, yogurt, and other foods. Another bonus: insects don’t like the chia plant so it is eas­ier to find organ­i­cally grown varieties.

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BENEFITS OF CHIA SEED

Here are some of the top ben­e­fits of eat­ing chia seed.

1. Lose Weight With­out Starv­ing
The Chia Seed is a dieter’s dream come true. The tiny, healthy seeds can be made to taste like what­ever you want, and their unique gelling action keeps you feel­ing full for hours. Hunger is a main enemy of real weight loss. When a chia seed is exposed to water, it forms a coat­ing of gel, increas­ing its size and weight. Since the gel made of water, it has no calo­ries. It’s also dif­fi­cult to remove from the seed, mean­ing that it helps your body think it is full, with­out adding calories!

2. Bal­ance Blood Sugar
Keep­ing bal­anced lev­els of blood sugar is impor­tant for both health and energy. Blood sugar may spike after meals, espe­cially if you eat high-starchy foods or sweets. This can lead to ‘slumps’ in your day where you feel tired and out of energy. By bal­anc­ing your blood sugar, you not only lower your risk for type 2 dia­betes, but you also ensure steady, con­stant energy through­out your day.

But how does the Chia Seed help with this? Both the gelling action of the seed, and it’s unique com­bi­na­tion of sol­u­ble and insol­u­ble fiber com­bine to slow down your body’s con­ver­sion of starches into sug­ars. If you eat chia with a meal, it will help you turn your food into con­stant, steady energy rather than a series of ups and downs that wear you out.

3. Help Pre­vent Diver­ti­c­uli­tis / Diver­tic­u­lo­sis
With the abun­dance of over-processed foods and white flour on the mar­ket today, rich sources of fiber are harder to come by. These foods of con­ve­nience have con­tributed to the rise of diver­ti­c­uli­tis. Irreg­u­lar­ity is a big fac­tor in this risky con­di­tion. To help ensure reg­u­lar­ity, you need plenty of sol­u­ble and insol­u­ble fiber in your diet. If you don’t want to eat cel­ery, and whole-grain everything…or piles of bran flakes, the Chia Seed is here to help. Each seed is coated with sol­u­ble fibers which aid its gelling action. The exte­rior of the seed is pro­tected by insol­u­ble fiber. The insol­u­ble fiber is unable to be digested (it does not con­tribute any calo­ries, or break down) so instead, it helps keep food mov­ing smoothly through the diges­tive process. Sol­u­ble fiber, and the gel coat­ing of the seed keeps the colon hydrated and ensures the easy move­ment of food.

4. Add Healthy Omega-3 Oil To Your Diet
Omega-3 oil is usu­ally thought of as “that healthy stuff in fish”. But, what if you don’t want to eat fish every day? What if you’re a veg­e­tar­ian, or sim­ply wor­ried about pol­lu­tion adding harm­ful sub­stances to your fish dinner?

Chia is the rich­est plant-source of this healthy oil. By weight, chia con­tains more omega 3 than salmon, and it still tastes like what­ever you want! Omega 3 oil is impor­tant in heart and cho­les­terol health. It’s also recently been tar­geted as a weight-loss helper. USA Week­end mag­a­zine also reports on a study where over­weight dieters who included omega 3s in their eat­ing plan lost 2 more pounds monthly than the con­trol group, who did not.

5. Feel More Ener­gized All Day Long
Don’t want to feel like tak­ing an after­noon nap? Your energy lev­els have a lot to do with what you eat. Chia is one of nature’s high­est plant-based sources of com­plete pro­tein. Usu­ally pro­tein from items like peanut but­ter and some beans are incom­plete, mean­ing you have to com­bine them with other foods to get the full ben­e­fit. Not Chia though, it’s pro­tein is com­plete to raise your energy lev­els. The com­bi­na­tion of com­plete pro­tein, vit­a­mins, min­er­als and blood-sugar bal­anc­ing gel all work together to make sure you have steady, never jit­tery energy.

6. Bake With Less Fat
Do you enjoy mak­ing baked goods at home, but hate all the but­ter and oil that has to go into them? Chia gel can sub­sti­tute for half the but­ter in most recipes! The food will bake the same and taste the same (or bet­ter) from the addi­tion of the chia gel. All you need to do is divide the amount of but­ter or oil in half, and then use the same amount of chia gel to fill in. The anti-oxidants in chia can even help keep the food tast­ing fresh longer. Every­thing from cook­ies to cakes to muffins, pan­cakes and waf­fles can be made with chia gel as your but­ter replace­ment. Which recipe will become your new favorite?

7. Add Age-Defying Anti-Oxidants
Anti-oxidants have been in the news lately due to their super healthy ben­e­fits. You know that blue­ber­ries and sev­eral exotic fruits (that aren’t always in sea­son) have them, but did you know that chia is extremely high in anti-oxidants too? These help­ful sub­stances are what makes the Chia Seed stay fresh for so long. At room tem­per­a­ture, they’ll stay fresh and ready to eat for over two whole years! And that’s all with­out a sin­gle chem­i­cal or preser­v­a­tive. This amaz­ing abil­ity is not found in other seeds like flax or sesame, because those seeds don’t have the same rich anti-oxidant con­tent. Anti-oxidants help pre­vent free-radical dam­age in your body. Free rad­i­cals lead to prob­lem­atic con­di­tions such as pre­ma­ture aging of the skin and inflam­ma­tion of var­i­ous tis­sues. Fight free rad­i­cal dam­age by stay­ing fresh and healthy with nature’s anti-oxidant powerhouse

8. Cut Crav­ings For Food
Being defi­cient in min­er­als or vit­a­mins can cre­ate a crav­ing for food. For exam­ple, if you’re low on cal­cium, you may feel com­pelled to eat lots of cheese and ice cream. This hap­pens because your body knows that cheese is a source of cal­cium, and it hasn’t been get­ting enough. But what if dairy and whole milk are a “Diet don’t”? You can always add cal­cium to your food by sprin­kling on the chia. By weight, chia has more cal­cium than whole milk. It also has mag­ne­sium and boron, essen­tial trace min­er­als used in the absorp­tion of cal­cium and other vit­a­mins. By bal­anc­ing your vit­a­mins and min­er­als with chia, you can curb crav­ings that might tempt you.

9. You Can Pack in More Fla­vor­ful Punch
How can a seed with NO fla­vor help the foods you already like to taste bet­ter? First, because they have no taste of their own, chia seeds will never cover up or add to the fla­vor of your food. Sec­ond, when the seeds hydrate, they mag­nify the taste of what­ever they were added to. Put them in pudding?

Choco­laty! Swirl them into a smoothie? Fruity! The same thing goes with dress­ings, dips, sal­sas, sauces and more. These two fac­tors com­bine to let chia seeds take on the taste of what­ever you add them to. They dis­trib­ute and never dilute, the fla­vors you love.

10. Save Your Money
Why should eat­ing less cost you more? You already know diet pills are expen­sive, and ‘box meal plans’ can run up to $500.00 a month. If you’re buy­ing ‘calo­rie count­ing packs’ or other indi­vid­ual por­tions in the store, you can also end up pay­ing more because more prepa­ra­tion and mate­ri­als go into these foods. More than enough chia for 1 month costs less than a dol­lar a day. You can use as much or as lit­tle as you want to achieve your own desired results. There are no prepa­ra­tions required for these sim­ple seeds, not even pes­ti­cides need to be used to grow them. They’re always safe and 100% chem­i­cal free. A mea­sur­ing spoon is all you’ll need when you’re ready to take advan­tage of chia for your­self. It doesn’t get any eas­ier or more inexpensive.

One Response so far.

  1. Ren says:

    I Love Chia seed! In addi­tion to all the won­der­ful health ben­e­fits, it adds tex­ture to my food which I love! Great infor­ma­tion! Thanks!