Chia seeds appear to be the “hot, new” thing in the dietary world, popping up in magazines and website articles promising everything from weight loss to disease reduction and more. But can there really be a tiny, little seed out there that fulfills all these claims?! It might sound too good to be true, but the chia seed is for real! Here’s what you need to know:
Benefit #1 – Chia seeds are high in protein
Chia seeds are loaded with protein – at roughly four grams per one ounce serving of seeds, they’re packed with twice the amount of protein as any other seed or grain. Best of all, the type of protein found in chia seeds is a “complete” protein, which means that it includes all nine of the amino acids that are required for basic biological functions without needing to be supplemented with another food.
Benefit #2 – Chia seeds contain large amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids
We’re all told to eat more fish and take fish oil supplements in order to boost our consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids (the molecules that play a vital role in brain function and human development) – but who really wants to sit down to a big plate of salmon each night?!
In fact, a two tablespoon serving of chia seeds contains over five grams of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is more than five times what you’ll find in a standard fish oil supplement serving and eight times more than that plate of salmon mentioned above. Incorporating this small portion of seeds into your diet is easy to do, and can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, as well as reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Benefit #3 – Chia seeds help to keep your blood sugar in check
The body’s regulation of insulin and blood sugar levels is a finely tuned process – one that’s often thrown out of whack by high stress levels, low amounts of exercise and a modern diet that’s high in refined sugars and processed foods. Serious fluctuations in these hormone levels can lead to diabetes, a condition in which the body’s insulin production mechanism no longer functions properly to filter glucose from the bloodstream.
Given that diabetes can lead to serious complications over time, managing blood sugar levels is crucial whether or not you’ve developed this condition. Fortunately, the combination of soluble and insoluble fiber in chia seeds helps to slow the conversion of ingested starches to sugars, resulting in steadier, healthier levels of blood sugar over time.
Benefit #4 – Chia seeds contain large amounts of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants
It doesn’t get more “super food” than this. Nutritional research has found that chia seeds contain important vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants found in much higher percentages than other seeds, nuts, grains and other foods commonly used today. For example, at 205 milligrams, two tablespoons of chia seeds contains roughly five times the amount of calcium found in milk!
In addition, chia seeds are good sources of boron (a mineral that’s essential for transferring calcium to your bones), phosphorus, manganese, potassium and sodium. All of these compounds play a vital role in ensuring your health and well-being, making chia seeds a quick and effective way to get the nutrition you need to live better!
Benefit #5 – Chia seeds can help you lose weight
Too many people today struggle with obesity – a condition that’s not only unpleasant to deal with, but also potentially deadly if the case is severe enough to result in complications. People with a higher percentage of body fat are at a higher risk for many serious conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke.
Unfortunately, though the research is conclusive that obesity leads to diminished life expectancy and quality of life, losing this excess weight is easier said than done. However, chronic dieters now have another tool in their weight loss arsenal – chia seeds!
As you might expect, a substance that’s high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals makes an excellent weight loss aid. Because chia seeds contain a substantial amount of fiber, you’ll feel fuller for longer after eating them, and because they can help to level out blood sugar, you’ll experience fewer of the “crashes” that lead you to seek out sweets and other unhealthy foods and beverages. Heck, even the extra boost of energy chia seeds provide can help you to lose weight, as you’ll finally have the energy to get your daily exercise in when you add this potent snack to your diet.
Obviously, chia seeds on their own won’t automatically cause you to lose weight – especially if you “chase” them with excess carbs, sweets and other unhealthy foods. However, when used sensibly, chia seeds can support your weight loss efforts by helping you to feel more satisfied and less prone to indulging dietary cravings in the long run.