10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have more protein than soybeans, more fiber than flaxseeds, more potassium than bananas, and have been reputed to contain more antioxidants than blueberries. Aztec tribes considered Chia seeds to be more valuable than gold and even used them to pay their taxes. Here are ten health benefits you can attain by adding Chia seeds to your diet.
- Amino Acids: Chia seeds contain all 19 essential amino acids. When nutrients are classified as 'essential', such as essential amino acids, it means your body cannot make them on their own and those nutrients must be obtained through a food source.
- Antioxidants: Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our cells from free radicals and oxidation which can damage cells and may result in cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and premature aging.
- Fiber: Chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber per serving (twice as much fiber as in bran flakes). Fiber helps slow digestion and makes you feel full by soaking up fluid and expanding in your digestive tract. In a study published in April 2010 in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition," participants who ate bread containing chia seeds experienced lower after-meal blood sugar levels and decreases in appetite.
- Gluten-Free: Unlike many grain source proteins, Chia seeds do not contain gluten. Chia is an ideal food for individuals with gluten sensitivity, carbohydrate intolerance, hypoglycemia, Celiac Disease, Crohn's Disease, or anyone avoiding gluten-containing grains like corn, barley, and wheat.
- Great Before, During and After Working Out: Chia seeds build stamina by slowly and steadily releasing glucose into the bloodstream. Adding a tablespoon of Chia seeds to your water during your workout can amp up your energy levels. Eating Chia seeds after a workout can provide tissue repairing protein.
- Loaded with Nutrients: Chia seeds have twice as much iron as a cup of spinach, twenty times the amount of magnesium as a serving of broccoli, five times the amount of calcium as in a glass of milk, five times the amount of folate as a serving of asparagus, twice the potassium as a banana and is a great source of boron, copper, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, thiamine and selenium. As you can see, adding Chia seeds to yogurt, cereal or a smoothie will give your body quite a nutrient boost.
- Omega-3 Fatty Aids: Chia seeds contain nearly 9 times the Omega-3 fatty acids in wild Atlantic salmon. Chia seeds have the highest known plant based source levels of Omega-3 fatty acids, as measured by percent of weight. Omega-3 fatty acids are the essential oils your body needs to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, & K, supporting heart health, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing inflammation and lifting our mood.
- Protein: Chia seeds have a higher percentage of protein than any other grain and contain five times the amount of protein in kidney beans. The protein in Chia seeds is easily absorbed and digestible and can be a great replacement for the protein in protein shakes for people who don't tolerate dairy and soy products.
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar: Chia's soluble fiber stabilizes blood sugar levels by regulating the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and assimilated in the body. This creates steady and stable blood sugar levels, which contribute to steady and high energy levels.
- Superfood for People with Food Allergies: Chia seeds are a great superfood for individuals with food allergies, food sensitivities, or food and chemical hypersensitivity. Studies have shown individuals having peanut and tree nut allergies have been able to tolerate Chia seeds.