Cha, cha, cha, chia!
Remember chia pets? You would slather the seeds all over the “pet” and it would grow hair! It was so fun and rewarding to watch your pet grow!
Little did we know that just a few years later, chia seeds would be the new health craze. And for good reason too, since they offer a multitude of health benefits. These little seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch! In just one tablespoon, they offer more calcium than a glass of milk and more antioxidants than blueberries!
Chia seeds were a staple food in ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations and evidence shows that they’ve been consumed by humans since 3500 BC. I guess we were a little behind to jump on the bandwagon! Better late than never though right? The Mayans considered chia seeds to be magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy. Chia actually got it’s name from the Mayan word for “strength”.
Chia seeds are similar to flaxseeds in that they are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, but don’t have to be grinded up to receive their health benefits. Chia seeds keep you hydrated, can lower blood pressure, fight inflammation and control blood sugar.
While it is recommended to get 20-35 grams of fiber a day in your diet, sadly the average American only gets 12-15 grams. Enter chia seeds. The fiber content in chia seeds is sky-high. With just one ounce of these seeds comes 11 grams of fiber. You need fiber for regularity, digestion, heart health and weight loss. When combined with liquid, chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their own weight. They form a gelatinous substance similar to tapioca. You can make yummy chia puddings like this one!
Probably the most amazing attribute of chia is the astonishing amount of omega-3 fatty acids in these seeds. Ounce for ounce, they contain more omega-3’s than salmon! Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that your body cannot produce, therefore we MUST consume them in our diet. Omega-3s are needed to build new cells, regulate hormones, support heart health and keep your skin, hair and nails healthy. Since chia seeds are one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3s, you should be running to the store to get these if you have not yet discovered them.
Since chia seeds absorb so much liquid, they are great for athletes. The added liquid to the diet in this “chia gel” can really help keep athletes hydrated for long periods of time.
Chia seeds assist in weight loss due to their bulking effect. Since they absorb so much liquid, they make you feel fuller longer, resulting in reduced hunger. They can also reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system.
I hope you are as excited about these seeds as much as I am! Try including them in your baking recipes like breads, muffins and cookies or in pancakes. I personally enjoy them in my smoothies in the morning. Here’s the brand that I use.