Are Chia Seeds Really That Beneficial? These 5 Facts Say YES
Did you know that chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet?
Yeah, me neither. In fact, I kept wondering why something as simple as these tiny seeds increased so much in popularity. My neighbors, my diet-obsessed colleague and even a registered dietitian I knew all recommend (and consume!) this food at least once a week.
Furthermore, a quick Google helped me find out that these seeds were actually considered to be very important by the Aztecs and Mayans. Turns out, ‘chia’ is the ancient Mayan word for ‘strength’ and those people valued the seeds for their quality of offering sustainable energy. This must mean something, right?
Still, my only question was…
What exactly makes something so tiny, THIS valuable?
That’s how I decided to start digging and find out whether chia seeds really are as miraculously as everyone says. Turns out, my friends were right – and if you’re still not convinced about this food, here are 5 reasons why you really should try them out starting today.
5 Reasons to Start Consuming Chia Seeds
Few calories, many nutrients
As I was saying earlier, chia seeds have had an insane increase in popularity for the past couple of years – but for good reason.
A single serving of one ounce (28 grams) provides you with the following nutrients:
- Fiber (11 grams)
- Protein (4 grams)
- Fat (9 grams)
- Manganese (30% of the RDI)
- Phosphorus (37% of the RDI)
- Calcium (18% of the RDI)
- Magnesium (30% of the RDI)
Additionally, chia seeds also pack valuable amounts of zinc, vitamin B2 and vitamin B3.
Doesn’t seem incredible? Let me put it differently: only two tablespoons of chia seeds provide you with a wide range of nutrients – and if you add them to your yogurt or overnight oats, you practically can’t even feel them!
What’s even better is that this food fits most diet plans out there, since it only gives you 137 calories per serving. They’re gluten-free and also 100% natural if you choose a non-GMO manufacturer.
A great source of antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules inside your body that destroy toxic free radicals which enter the system. These tiny guys improve your immune system and keep disease at bay, especially when it comes to long-term illnesses such as cancer or heart disease.
The antioxidants found in chia seeds prevent the fats found inside from going rancid.
Although you can also get a good dosage of antioxidants from supplements, experts still agree that the most effective source are whole foods – and what better food than the ‘seeds of strength?’
Still don’t know a thing about antioxidants? My post called ‘What’s All the Fuss About Antioxidants?’ covers everything you need to know about this immensely important component of our system, so you can have a look right here.
Extremely rich in fiber
Only one ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds provides you with 12 grams of carbs. Here’s the interesting part: 11 of those grams are pure soluble fiber.
Not impressed? Let me explain.
Fiber is part of the carbohydrate family, but it works very differently from other types of carbs (think starch or sugar). This nutrient keeps your blood sugar intact and doesn’t need any insulin for disposal.
Chia seeds contain so much fiber that they can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water. The process gives them a jelly texture, which is why you can successfully use them as an egg replacement.
When you eat raw chia seeds, they absorb water from the digestive system and literally expand in your stomach. This should help you feel fuller, which reduces unhealthy cravings and over-eating.
As a bonus, fiber found in these tiny seeds also feeds healthy gut bacteria, which is essential for overall health and immunity.
Captain’s Fact: Chia seeds are 40% fiber by weight; this makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the WORLD!
High in high-quality protein
Judging by their weight, chia seeds are 14% protein, which is impressively high compared to other common plants and seeds.
In case you didn’t know, protein is a building block for growing muscle and repairing muscle tissue post-workout. This macronutrient is also essential for regulating insulin production, which might help to keep at bay illnesses such as type 2 diabetes.
This study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition proved that eating protein-rich meals can reduce night-time snacking by 50% and could also lower your appetite by reducing obsessive thoughts about food during daytime.
Reducing your heart health risks
The valuable content of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and protein could make chia seeds a great ally that could prevent long-term health problems.
Studies such as this one performed on rats showed that chia seeds can lower the risk for developing insulin resistance, triglycerides and inflammation. All of these factors are known for contributing to chronic heart problems.
Furthermore, this study published in the journal Diabetes Care proved that consuming chia seeds regularly can reduce blood pressure significantly in people with hypertension (another major risk factor for heart disease).
While chia seeds can be a very powerful tool to stay healthy in the long run, they only work when accompanied by a healthy lifestyle overall.
What do I mean by ‘healthy lifestyle?’ Avoiding unhealthy meals (junk food, sweets and highly processed meals), doing at least 30 minutes of exercise per day and taking care of your mental health are just the main things you can do to improve self-wellness.
Coincidentally (or not!), that’s exactly what we’re doing here at Wellness Captain: dedicating our time and resources to help YOU life a long, happy life.
Here are some of our most useful posts to get started with:
- Dos and Don’ts for a Healthy Weight Loss
- How to Exercise While Wearing a Mask Outside (And Still Breathe!)
- 7 Essential Breakfast Rules for People with Diabetes
Have you ever tried chia seeds? Share your culinary experiences in the comment section and let’s inspire each other to find new ways of eating healthy!