Chia seeds may be tiny, but don’t be fooled…These little guys are packed with some serious nutrients and energy. Also known as “runner’s food” or “warrior food” by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, these seeds are loaded with protein, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
How to Consume Chia Seeds
Chia seeds, have a light, nutty flavor, and can be consumed in a few different ways. The first way is eating them whole. Throw a tablespoon or two in a smoothie, in your oatmeal, or in your salad. Eating chia seeds whole will provide many health benefits, but some research states that even more nutrients can be obtained by soaking them or grinding them first. To soak chia seeds, put a 1-2 tablespoons in a cup of water and allow them to sit and soak for 30 minutes to an hour. When chia seeds soak in water, they form a gelatinous texture, which allows them to hold about 10 times their weight in water. The ability that they have to hold onto water will help immensely when you consume them with dehydration and increased mineral intake. This texture also makes them great to cook with. One of my favorite ways to cook with them, is by using them to make a healthy “pudding” when you mix a flavored protein powder or cocoa powder with a non-dairy milk, such as coconut milk, and add in a few tablespoons of chia seeds and let it sit, it will form the consistency of pudding. Chia seeds can also be used to substitute egg when cooking. One egg called for in a recipe= 1 tablespoon of chia seeds soaked in 3 tablespoons of water.
4 Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds Daily
Eating chia seeds help fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are what increase aging, especially skin aging, and contribute to cancerous cells, heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. (1)
2) Blood Sugar Regulation
With chia seeds having such a high fiber and healthy fat content, the NIH has recognized that consuming them have a positive affect on balancing one’s blood sugar. Studies have shown very positive affects on consuming chia seeds with type 2 diabetes. “Among people with type 2 diabetes, supplementing with chia seeds for 12 weeks resulted in reduced systolic blood pressure and significant decreases in A1C, a measure of a person’s average levels of blood glucose.” (2)(3)
3) Increased Energy and Faster Workout Recovery
Chia seeds are able to absorb approximately 10X their weight in water. This allows them to expand once they’ve been consumed, creating a feeling of being more full and having less cravings. It also increases hydration and with the extra protein, fiber, healthy fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that are packed into this little seed, allows the body to gain a lot of energy and decrease inflammation. Because of the powerful anti-inflammatory effects that chia seeds have on the body, it makes them an ideal food to increase before, during, and after workouts. Chia seeds also have a high content of zinc, which will help increase endurance because of zinc’s ability to regulate the hormone leptin. (4)
4) Gut Health
Leaky gut syndrome occurs when the lining of your digestive tract allows substances to pass through that a healthy gut would otherwise not allow, such as bad bacteria, gluten, and toxins. This causes an array of symptoms such as food sensitivities, fatigue, thyroid issues, skin issues, increased weight, headaches, and digestive issues. Consuming sprouted chia seeds will help with leaky gut syndrome because the high fiber content will help support the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut. (5) The omega-3 fatty acids that chia seeds also provide, will help decrease the inflammation of the gut lining as well.
Chia seeds are extremely easy to add to any recipe. I love adding them to smoothies or a spoonful mixed in my drinking water daily. When starting to incorporate them into your everyday diet, start small and add them gradually. Also make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day because of the high fiber content. The benefits that these tiny seeds bring are amazing. What are your favorite ways to enjoy chia seeds?