Chia seeds have been used by mankind for their health benefits for centuries. Both the Mayans and Aztecs have used these seeds in their diets for generations, and today people all around the world are enjoying the various nutrition benefits of chia seeds.
Small but powerful, chia seeds are chocked full of vitamins and minerals and are easy to add to an everyday diet. They’re being used in cooking, added to beverages, used in baked goods, salads, and so much more. These seeds are an excellent source nutrients and antioxidants, and they come with a long list of health benefits.
Nutrition Value of Chia Seeds
To simply say chia seeds are good for you is a severe understatement. These little seeds come with a variety of superpowers that target different health problems people may be dealing with. They can help reduce certain discomforts, prevent problems, and even reduce the risk of certain health concerns when used correctly.
The following are just some of the nutritional values of chia seeds:
- Essential Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital polyunsaturated fats. Due to the chia seed’s lipid profile, which is composed of about 60% omega-3s, or 4915 mg per ounce, they are one of the richest plant sources of essential fatty acids.
Specifically, they’re a great source of alpha linolenic acid, also known as ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds are great for helping reduce inflammation and high cholesterol, and can greatly enhance ones’ cognitive abilities and performance. In fact, many students add these seeds to teas and water to help them stay focused and alert for their rigorous studies.
They also contain 1620 mg Omega-6 fatty acids per ounce, a wallop of goodness for heart health.
A good source of antioxidants, chia seeds help to protect the body from free radicals, cancer, and the negative effects of aging. Due to the volume of antioxidants found in chia seeds, they are incredibly durable and have a long shelf life. Chia seeds can last up to two years without refrigeration—but you’ll likely use them long before that!
Fiber is great for keeping the bowels regular, lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and keeping you full after a healthy meal. Chia seeds contain a lot of fiber, coming in at about 10 grams in just 2 tablespoons of the seed. Many people find it hard to get the recommended amount of fiber into their daily diet, so chia seeds are an easy way to add this nutrient in healthy doses.
- Lots of Minerals
Just two tablespoons of chia seeds include up to 18% of the DRI for calcium, 24% for magnesium, 35% for phosphorous, and up to 50% for manganese. These nutrients are highly important for helping the body fight against hypertension as well as maintain a healthy weight. They are also imperative for a part of DNA synthesis and energy metabolism, ensuring that you have enough energy to get through your day.
Chia Seed Health Benefits
In addition to the nutritional value of chia seeds, they also come with a number of health benefits. These include the following:
- Regulating Blood Sugar
Blood sugar is responsible for one’s energy. When blood sugar is low, people can feel lightheaded, sluggish, and very weak. When blood sugar is high, it can lead to serious problems. Chia seeds are handy for regulating the body’s insulin levels by reducing insulin resistance as well as decreasing uncharacteristically high levels of insulin in the blood. This leaves you feeling alert and energized.
- Easily Digestible
Chia seeds can be digested whole unlike other high fiber, high omega-3 seeds such as flaxseed. Due to this, chia seeds are much more versatile and can be added to different dishes a number of different ways. Flaxseeds and the like must be ground for the individual to experience their full health benefits, but chia seeds can be eaten, drunk, and digested entirely whole and still offer the same amount of nutrients and minerals.
- Keeps You Full
One of the main problems of dieting is not feeling full or satiated. Many people cheat on their diets or simply struggle because the foods they’re eating do not contain enough protein or fiber to keep them full and focused and they find themselves feeling hungry and experiencing cravings. Chia seeds offer satiety, which helps you lower food cravings between meals. Due to the “gelling” effect of chia seeds when mixed with water, tea, or other liquids, they help you to feel fuller for longer.
For those who are on a strictly gluten-free diet, there’s no worry of cutting chia seeds and their amazing health benefits out of your routine. Chia seeds have absolutely no grains or gluten, so they can be added to your gluten-free diet without worry.