Chia seeds have been used 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 nutritional 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 of nutrients and antioxidants, and they come with a long list of health benefits.
Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds
To say chia seeds are good for you is an understatement. These tiny 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, 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 enhance one’s 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.
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 important for helping the body fight against hypertension as well as maintain a healthy weight. They are also imperative for energy metabolism, ensuring that you have enough energy to get through your day.
And, they keep you feeling full!
One of the main problems when focusing on weight loss is not feeling satiated after a meal. Many people 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.
Want to try them?
You can always just sprinkle a tablespoon or so on your salad, or over any meal. They don’t have a flavor, so it won’t interfere with the taste.
But, they are fun to “cook” with, so here’s a simple recipe that makes a delicious breakfast, or even a sweet snack.
Chocolate Chia Pudding
• ¼ C chia seeds
• 8 oz full-fat canned coconut milk
• 1 TB raw cacao powder
• 1 TB maple syrup (optional)
• ½ C berries if desired
Place the first four ingredients in a mason jar with a tight fitting lid. Close and shake well to combine, then store in the fridge overnight.
Top with fruit before serving and enjoy.