Chia seeds are tiny seeds that pack a big nutritional punch. These seeds were originally eaten by Mayan and Aztec people in ancient times. More recently, westerners have discovered the health benefits of chia seeds and they have become more popular. Chia seeds are almost the perfect food because they provide a great amount of all three macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Let’s learn more about this powerful seed.
Chia seeds are very low in calories, so you can eat a large amount with little impact on your diet. And eating a large amount is great because they give you such a large amount of nutritional benefits. Chia seeds are full of fiber, protein, fat, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous. They also have three forms of Vitamin B, zinc and potassium.
If you want to eat a low carb diet, then chia seeds are a perfect addition. Chia seeds do have carbs in them, but most of them are fiber. If you are eating a keto diet or a similarly low carb diet, then fiber is often subtracted from your final carb count. Even if you are not eating low carb, you should consume plenty of fiber. Your body needs fiber to keep your digestive system working properly. However, fiber is also important for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and can help you lose weight because it keeps you full too.
Most plants do not provide a large amount of protein, but chia seeds have a pretty good amount. They also have a high amount of amino acids, which means your body can easily use the protein for fuel. This makes them a great addition to smoothies and other dishes that are normally carb-heavy. It is also especially helpful for vegans and vegetarians.
Chia seeds have a surprisingly high amount of healthy fats. Most people think of salmon and fatty fish as the best source for omega 3 fatty acids, but chia seeds have more omega 3 fatty acids than salmon! However, keep in mind that the fatty acids in chia seeds are not as good as those in fish so you should still incorporate them into your diet or take a supplement.
Other Benefits of Chia Seeds
Since chia seeds have so many nutrients, they benefit your body in many ways. They can help you lose weight, prevent diabetes, reduce your risk of developing heart disease, improve bone health, and reduce chronic inflammation.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can be eaten in a variety of ways. When they get wet, they expand, a lot like tapioca. This means they can make a great pudding or eaten raw in a gel-like form. You can also sprinkle them over oatmeal, yogurt, rice or veggies. Chia seeds are also popular in smoothies because they add a unique texture in addition to their nutritional benefits. You can even add chia seeds to baked goods, which is great because they are more nutritious than whole wheat foods.
Since chia seeds have so many health benefits, they should be a part of your diet. You only need a small amount every day, so add a tablespoon to your smoothies, oatmeal and other dishes. They will add a nice crunch and make your body function at its best.