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You might have heard of chia seeds from different sources. They had become a fad but they have been around for centuries. Along with corn, chia seeds have been a staple food in the diet of several American tribes. However, traditionally they weren’t used as they are used today. Chia seeds were mixed with flour to make tortillas or cooked with water to make porridge or soup.
They were also used to treat ailments such as fever and inflammation. While other communities gradually started using chia seeds back then, their recent popularity is unprecedented. Today they are being used in puddings, bread, smoothies and much more.
With the wave of fitness gathering millions across the world, everyone is looking for superfoods such as chia seeds. Diet takes the front seat when it comes to health. FITFEAST allows users to get curated diet plans from expert nutritionists as per their needs and preferences. You can get daily diet plans and track your calorie intake to monitor results and reach your goals in time.
Chia seeds can be consumed in many ways; they may be added to yogurts, cereals, and even veggies. Since they absorb water well and take a texture like gelatin, they can be used to make puddings. For this reason, chia seeds can also be used instead of eggs in baking. They don’t have an inherent flavor and that’s why you can add them to smoothies, cakes & muffins, salads, oatmeal, soups, bread butter among other things.
About 14% of chia seeds are made up of protein, which is quite high as compared to many other plants. On the other hand, they contain enough essential amino acids to create a balance between the two. The body discards extra protein unless it has enough amino acids to break down the proteins and make use of them.
Studies show that high-protein diets drastically reduce obsessive food thoughts and lower appetite as well. They help in lowering the desire for nighttime snacking as well. Chia seeds benefits include the choice of substituting them with meat for vegetarians.
Weight loss is big among most people these days. As it turns out, chia seeds can help you in shedding some extra kilos. The soluble fiber in chia seeds expands in your stomach by absorbing water, which makes you feel full and it also slackens the absorption of food. One such soluble fiber glucomannan is known to help in weight loss.
Moreover, the protein in chia seeds helps in reducing your appetite and therefore food intake. Studies have found consuming chia seeds for breakfast will keep you full for long. Nonetheless, chia seeds don’t directly lead to weight loss; they are useful when you are on a diet that includes other healthy foods.
Antioxidants are really important for the body considering the amount of inflammation-causing foods we consume. Moreover, the modern lifestyle is such that the body doesn’t get enough rest as it is. Chia seeds are high in antioxidants that make use of sensitive fats. Antioxidants protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals - naturally produced molecules that contribute to aging and fatal diseases like cancer.
Fiber is a kind of carb, but its functions are different from those of sugar and starch, which are also known as digestive carbs. These types of carbs are almost non-existent in chia seeds, which makes them a low-carb food. However, chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water. They turn into a gel-like substance by expanding in your stomach and keep you full for long. This results in reduced calorie intake. Chia seeds consist of 40% of fiber, which keeps your gut healthy.
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, just like flaxseeds. Here’s an amazing fact – chia seeds contain more Omega-3 fatty acid than salmon (gram for gram). However, the type of acids in chia seeds is different from those found in crustaceans. To get the best benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, you must consume fatty fish like salmon and mackerel.
Protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids are all goods for the cardiovascular system and reduce the risk of heart problems. However, this benefit of chia seeds is highly theoretical and hasn’t been conclusively proven. Some studies suggest that chia seeds help in reducing blood pressure quite significantly. This is good news for hypertension patients at risk of heart diseases. However, it must be noted that chia seeds might be good for the heart but might not have major effects unless consumed with other heart-healthy foods.
Bones require certain essential minerals like calcium and magnesium to maintain high density. Chia seeds have high amounts of nutrients like protein, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. They especially contain high levels of calcium, which is even higher than the quantity in most dairy products. Chia seeds serve as a great alternative for those who don’t consume dairy products.
You must have noticed red or swollen skin or also known as inflammation, which is the body's natural reaction to injuries or infections. Inflammation fights bacteria and viruses but sometimes can cause harm to the body as well. Chronic inflammation is associated with cancer and heart problems. While it is not easily identifiable sometimes, it can be measured through markers in the blood. Lack of exercise, smoking habits, and poor diet can also lead to inflammation.
It’s quite simple to include chia seeds in your diet since they mostly taste bland. This allows you to add them to just about anything. Moreover, they need not be grounded like flax seeds. You can have them raw, with juice or smoothies, puddings, porridge or even baked goods. Apart from this, you can add them to cereals, yogurt, vegetables or other dishes well.
You can have up to 20 grams of chia seeds each day, which is equal to 1.5 tablespoons, twice a day. Add healthy seeds like these to your diet and exercise at least 4 times a week for improved health.