Most of my friends know, I LOVE eating chia seeds. Yes, chia. As in ch-ch-ch-chia! The ones we’ve all seen in the commercials. Some of you probably even had one. Yeah, that stuff. Go ahead and laugh! It might sound funny. And most people think I’m crazy but I’ve been converting many a person since I’ve discovered them a couple of months ago. And if you put your judgements aside, and gave them a try, you’ll be a chia seed eating nut just like myself!
Why do I love it so? Any food that is nutrient dense is a food I will incorporate into my healthy eating habits! A recent Details Magazine article sums it up nicely: “Chia is packed with fiber, protein, antioxidants, and more omega-3s—the essential fatty acids linked to lean muscle mass, clear skin, and heart health—than any other plant in the world. And thanks to its slow carbohydrate-to-blood-sugar conversion rate, chia delivers sustained energy.”
But here is a more elaborate synopsis that might help explain my chia seed craze.
Let’s take it from the top. What the heck are chia seeds anyway?
Well, it’s food. Duh! Sounds obvious enough but people always ask me if it’s some sort of supplement. But it isn’t. It’s an edible seed like a sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, etc. A little history: Chia seeds were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets back in the days and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds is believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours.
What do chia seeds taste like?
They don’t taste like anything. The flavor is almost non-existent. I mix it into my chobani yogurt but you can also mix it into smoothies or oatmeal. Sprinkle it on your salad even.
What are the benefits of eating chia? Chia seeds has almost endless health benefits…
High in Omega-3s
The oil in chia seeds is higher in omega-3 fatty acids than any other food. Omega-3s are essential to the human body and help to prevent many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline, chronic inflammation, and autoimmune disease. These fatty acids and oils are also useful for absorbing fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K as well as in absorbing calcium, which is important for vegetarians and vegans.
Thanks to their high omega-3 content, chia seeds are the perfect brain food. Many people have found that adding chia seeds to their diet improved memory, concentration, and other cognitive abilities.
Chia seeds are very high in antioxidants; in fact they actually have more antioxidants than blueberries. Anti-oxidants help rid our body of free radicals, which have been linked to cancer and heart disease.
Blood Sugar Control
Chia seeds are a great ingredient for diabetics to use because they help to maintain lower blood sugar levels. It is necessary for diabetics to actively maintain their glucose levels and chia seeds assist in this process.
Chia seeds are high in fiber which helps to cleanse the digestive tract, prevents constipation and enhances regularity. They are a great way to bulk up a not so filling meal. After eating chia seeds you can feel satisfied for hours. Chia seeds are rich in soluble fiber and protein and they also have carbohydrates that are slowly digested. These factors combined help to curb your appetite and increase fat burning.
Chia seeds are a great source of energy that can help sustain you through hard workouts and other grueling tasks.
The high fiber and antioxidants in chia seeds help with detoxification. When fiber is consumed, the body is effectively able to remove waste and toxins from the body. Additionally, antioxidants as well help with toxin and waste removal as they work to eliminate free radicals.
Because chia seeds contain essential fatty acids, eating them on a regular basis can reduce inflammation within the body. High levels of inflammation are associated with many health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, and chronic pain.
How much chia should I eat daily?
For general purposes of health, nutrition and energy an adult would typically consume about 1-2 tbsp dry seeds daily.
Where do you buy chia seeds?
Whatever you do, don’t run out and buy a chia pet. Unless your plan is to grow it. These particular seeds aren’t really recommended for human consumption. Will you grow a chia pet in your stomach if you eat ’em? Of course, not. The hydrochloric acids in your stomach responsible for breaking down food won’t let that occur. But the chia seeds sold at the natural health food stores meet stricter standards and are best for consumption. So take a walk over to your local health food store and pick up a bag. Whole Foods carries half a dozen chia brands now too. Price ranges from $6-$14 in most places, depending where you live. Or you can buy them from a number of online retailers as well. However, I’ve seen some brands cost upwards of $55 online. Yikes! But these days, chia seeds are now showing up everywhere; from muffins at Le Pain Quotidien to energy bars at cutting-edge gyms and juice shops.
So for those who didn’t know … now you know! And before you go off and dismiss them thinking perhaps you won’t like them … “Try them! Try them! And you may. Try them and you may I say.”
Disclaimer: I’m not a nutritionist. Nor do I play one on TV. The information I posted here on chia is from all kinds of sources from all over the web as well as from nutritionists and doctors. If any information written here is incorrect please feel free to let me know and I will look into it. I side job as an investigator too. lol. No, not really. Just kidding.
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