5 Reasons Why Chia Seeds Are An Amazing Superfood

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica which is native to South America.

As published on Zhou Nutrition website.

“Chia” means strength and has long been known for its energy producing qualities. Historically, the Mayan and Aztec cultures used chia seeds for energy and endurance during long distance running or even while fighting battles.

Recent research is finding even more amazing benefits to this superfood. They are extremely nutrient dense and a 2 Tablespoon serving contains:

  • Dietary fiber (11g – 42% recommended daily value)
  • Protein (4.4g – 9% RDV)
  • Omega-3 fatty acids (5 grams)
  • Omega-6 fatty acids (1.6 grams)
  • Calcium (77 mg – 18% RDV)
  • Phosphorus (265 mg – 30% RDV)
  • Magnesium (24% RDV)
  • Manganese (up to 50% RDV)
  • Zinc (1.0 mg – 7% RDV)

All of these nutrients and in only 130 calories!

Some Health Benefits Which Have Been Seen With Chia Seeds Are:

High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, which contribute to premature aging and diseases such as cancer. In fact, studies have shown the antioxidant levels in chia seeds fight up to 70% of free radical damage.

Weight Loss

Chia seeds can aid in weight loss with help from the high fiber and protein found in them. They can absorb up to 10X their own weight in water, which will aid in digestion and keep you feeling fuller longer. This can also help with reducing sugar cravings. Additionally, chia seeds rank as one of the top plant food sources for protein, which helps in balancing blood sugar levels, burning fat, and building lean muscle.

High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are high in ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), which is a form of Omega 3 fatty acids. This particular fatty acid has been shown to prevent and decrease tumor growth in specific cancers, such as breast and cervical.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes

The nutrient density of chia seeds fight inflammation in the body and assist in reversing oxidative stress. This along with the high levels of omega 3’s protect the heart by reducing risk of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol.

Additionally, these same factors, reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia (excessive fat in the blood) and insulin resistance. These are two primary factors in developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Stronger Bones

Due to the high levels of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, chia seeds are an excellent super food to help boost strong, healthy bones.

My Favorite Quick and Easy Chia Seed Recipe

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • ¼ cup Chia Seed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1 pint strawberries chopped and hulled
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Whisk the first four ingredients together in a bowl and let chill in refrigerator overnight. In the morning add chopped strawberries. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!

References:
Chicco, AG, et. al, Dietary chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) rich in alpha-linolenic acid improves adiposity and normalises hypertriacylglycerolaemia and insulin resistance in dyslipaemic rats, Br J Nutr. 2009 Jan;101(1):41-50
Deshpande, R. et.al, Alpha-linolenic acid regulates the growth of breast and cervical cancer cell lines through regulation of NO release and induction of lipid peroxidation, Journal of Molecular Biology
Martinez-Cruz, O, et. al, Phytochemical profile and nutraceutical potential of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) by ultra high performance liquid chromatography., J Chromatogr A. 2014 Jun 13;1346:43-8

 

 

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