Chia seeds are tiny in size but have an enormous host of health benefits! In recent days, chia seeds are becoming better known due their great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fiber. Deriving from a flowering plant in the mint family that’s native to Mexico and Guatemala, history suggests it was a very important food crop for the Aztecs. It’s remained in regular use in its native countries, but was largely unknown in North America until researcher Wayne Coates began studying chia as an alternative crop for farmers in northern Argentina about 29 years ago. Now, a nutritional hit, this seed is the last thing from a fad. They are also an easy food to add to your diet as they can be added to almost anything! These little powerhouses can be added into smoothies, on top of salads, and much more. They’re also tasteless, making them even more versatile. The health benefits seem to go on forever, so let’s take a look at five top reasons to love your chia seeds!
Protein, manganese, and calcium all in one!
Perfect for vegetarians, chia seeds make a great source of protein and don’t have any cholesterol! One 28-gram serving of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 percent of the daily value.
Manganese isn’t a well-known nutrient, but it’s important for our health; it’s good for your bones and helps your body use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin. One serving of chia seeds, or 28 grams, has 30 percent of your recommended intake of this mineral. On to more goodness, just one serving of chia seeds has 18 percent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which puts your well on your way to maintaining bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.
Improve heart health
With heart disease the number one killer of men and women worldwide, I find this health benefit extremely important! According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol. All this is great support for your heart!
Facts that are totally impressive
Chia seeds are so powerful that these neat facts have to be mentioned: they have 3 times more iron than spinach, 5 times more calcium than milk, 7 times more vitamin C than an orange, 15 times more magnesium than broccoli, they can replace butter and eggs when baking, and they’re gluten-free!
Cut portions down
Chia seeds swell double their size when in contact with liquid, so whether consumed plain or soaked in liquid, they leave a full feeling in our bellies. They also contain tryptophan, an amino acid most notably found in turkey, which is responsible for that strong urge to nap after a big Thanksgiving dinner. Chia seeds help regulate appetite and sleep, and improve mood, all of which can help curve cravings.
Inflammation is something we all want to avoid; a number of arthritis sufferers have reported reduced pain and inflammation after a few weeks of taking chia seeds. The high concentration of omega-3 helps to lubricate joints and keep them supple. Additionally, omega-3s are converted into prostaglandins which are known to have both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects.