Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

chia seeds

Chia seeds are making a major comeback. And they have every damn reason to do so. Once a staple food for Mayans and Aztecs, these little black specks carry an impressive nutritional punch. For years, we've treated them as nothing but a way to grow Chia-Pet hair (remember the goofy TV jingle?). But, boy, were we wrong!

Chia seeds are jam-packed with a variety of essential nutrients, including potassium, omegas, magnesium, fibre, antioxidants and much more. No wonder they've found themselves in the healthy nutrition limelight these days!

So, whether you are a long-time fan of these little nutritional powerhouses or this is the first time you hear about them, the chia seeds benefits are the living proof that you can eat healthy without making any discounts on flavour.

Chia Seeds – Why They Are Super

 

chia seeds

Chia seeds, or Salvia hispanica as scientists like to call them, originate from central and southern America. Salvia hispanica is a biannual plant which is primarily known for being part of the mint family. Despite being locally grown, chia seeds are popular worldwide due to their various health benefits. How come?

Chia seeds are home to a variety of nutrients which have the power to promote our overall health. According to one study, chia seeds consist of 15-25% protein, 26-41% carbs, 30-33% fats and 18-30% dietary fibre. But, this is just the beginning.

The same study continues that chia seeds are also rich in vitamins, minerals and have a high concentration of antioxidants. Not to mention they are gluten-free and don't contain enough heavy metals to produce mycotoxins. So, they're safe to consume.

Considering all of the above, it's no wonder scientists believe chia seeds can do anything from eliminating toxins and enhancing our athletic prowess to promoting heart and bone health. But, let's take a closer look at the health benefits of chia seeds, shall we?

Related: Top Health Benefits of Organic Baobab Powder

The Nutritional Breakdown

 

chia seeds

How about some pep in your step? Or perhaps a dash of energy and cheer that can last all day long? If so, look no further than a bag of chia seeds. These little black specks are loaded with enough nutrients to make you feel awesome just hours after that first bite. But, let's find out more about the various nutrients hiding in just one tablespoon of chia seeds.

Dietary Fibre

    Despite troubling us with frequent bathroom visits, dietary fibre is one of the "good guys." Why? In both its soluble and insoluble form, fibre adds bulk to your diet. That means that it makes you feel full for longer and faster while promoting digestion and preventing constipation.

    Usually found in fruit and vegetables, dietary fibre is also present in chia seeds. In fact, these black seeds contain a whopping 11g f fibre per ounce. That covers about 42% of the daily recommended fibre intake. It's no wonder one of the top chia seeds benefits revolves around a healthy gut. Quinoa, who?

    Magnesium

      Often regarded as the missing link between you and a healthier you, magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body. This often neglected mineral participates in more than 300 bodily functions, including protein synthesis, blood pressure regulation, blood glucose control and much more.

      Besides being a rich fibre source, chia seeds are also rich in magnesium. More specifically, research suggests that one ounce of chia seeds is enough to cover 30% of your daily recommended magnesium needs.

      Manganese

        Along with calcium, manganese is considered an essential nutrient for the development of healthy bones. In fact, manganese deficiency is one of the most common causes of osteoporosis as well as other unpleasant health implications such as unexplained weight loss, impaired wound healing, and lung disease.

        Luckily, chia seeds are here to save the day. Thanks to their high content of manganese, one ounce of this tiny-sized food can cover up to 30% of the daily recommended manganese intake. Well, science has spoken, and it's supporting one of the main chia seeds benefits: health and strong bones.

        Calcium

          Fun fact: calcium is, without a doubt, the most abundant mineral in the human body. But, here's another fun fact even crazier than the last one: almost 99% of our body's calcium concentration is found in bones. That's a lot! Of course, there's a reason for that and is to keep our bones strong and rigid. One of the most popular chia seeds benefits refers to the bone strength and for a good reason. These little black seeds contain enough calcium to fortify your bones with an extra boost of the nutrient.

          Iron

            Let's iron out a few things here. The human body needs minerals to perform a variety of essential functions and iron is no exception. This mineral is part of the protein haemoglobin which is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to various tissues. But, iron's remarkable journey in the human body doesn't end here. It also plays a huge part in metabolism and the synthesis of some hormones.

            Now, Popeye had it right, and that's why he was always buried knee-deep in spinach. But, regarding iron, we can do you one better. Chia seeds are said to carry three times the iron of spinach. Impressive, huh?

            Potassium

              Practically an electrolyte, potassium is a mineral which helps our muscles contract and our nerve cells function properly. In fact, potassium is the secret behind our non-stop heartbeat and the nutrient transfer between cells. Considering these, potassium-rich foods such as chia seeds need to be part of our daily diet. Don't let the muscle-boosting health benefits of chia seeds just pass you by.

              Protein

                Often referred to as the building block for muscle, protein is all about rebuilding tissue and growing stronger muscles. However, unlike carbs and fat, the human body can't store excess protein. So, after a full night's sleep or an intense workout session, your body is in desperate need of a protein-packed meal to replenish depleted protein.

                While chicken is the most popular choice for loading on protein, chia seeds offer an exciting and tasty alternative. These tiny black specks are rich in protein, covering 31% of your daily recommended protein needs with a single 100g serving.

                Fats

                  Demonised for years, fat is probably the most misunderstood nutrient out there for all the wrong reasons. However, the truth is that our body needs fat to survive, from allowing the heart to function properly to boosting our energy. But, don't get us wrong: not all fats are created equal. So, that avocado toast may be a healthier option than a hot dog.

                  However, we've got an even better option for you regarding healthy fats: chia seeds. Rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, one ounce of these tasty black specks can cover 13% of the daily recommended fat intake. Ready to reap the health benefits of chia seeds with one minor dietary tweak?

                  Antioxidants

                    Our body is constantly exposed to threats which we can't even imagine, from air pollution and smoking to toxin-infused food. Luckily, our body is designed to produce antioxidants to prevent such threats from causing significant damage to our cells. But, what happens when our body doesn't produce enough antioxidants? We simply resort to functional food. According to one study, chia seeds are surprisingly high in antioxidants. So, now you know why one of the top chia seeds benefits revolves around detoxification.

                    The Superfood Smackdown

                     

                    Whether you swear by the antioxidant properties of blueberries or love a teaspoon of cinnamon in your morning coffee, we can all agree that superfoods are the greatest excuse to gorge on nutrient-dense and delicious meals minus the guilt. But, let's see how the chia seeds benefits stack up against the rest of their peers.

                    Chia Seeds vs. Broccoli

                      Broccoli

                      Part of the cancer-fighting food family, broccoli is a bonafide superfood. But, have you ever wondered what makes this green, crunchy food super? Unlike most cruciferous vegetables, broccoli contains high amounts of vitamin C, folate, antioxidants and fibre. What draws the attention of most people, though, is broccoli's high concentration of magnesium.

                      However, chia seeds are here to burst your broccoli-oriented bubble. Experts claim that these little black seeds contain 15 times more magnesium than broccoli. So, you want to follow a magnesium-rich diet? Chia seeds are a safe bet.

                      Chia Seeds vs. Bananas

                        bananas

                        From curbing your afternoon sugar cravings to helping you treat ulcers, bananas are a genuine superfood. However, bananas are mostly known for their high potassium content. If you don't know this by now, potassium-rich foods like bananas benefit your body in a variety of ways, from lowering blood pressure to keeping our heart pumping.

                        But, are bananas the only reliable potassium source? Of course, not! In fact, chia seeds contain up to two times more potassium than bananas. And this is just the beginning. Wait until you find out about the top health benefits of chia seeds.

                        Chia Seeds vs. Milk

                          milk

                          While we've always heard that drinking milk every day is the best way to load our bones with calcium, modern science begs to differ. Based on nutritional data, one ounce of this superfood contains three times more calcium than one ounce of milk. So, how about you build stronger bones and teeth with this one-of-a-kind health benefit of chia seeds? 

                           

                          Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

                           

                          Chia Seeds Enhance Athletic Performance

                          chia seeds boost athletic performance

                          Lore has it that a native tribe in central and southern California, known as Chumash, used to consume a hefty dose of chia seeds when they had to deliver messages between villages. This way they boosted their energy to push through long runs.

                          Centuries later, scientists still believe that boosting athletic performance is one of the top health benefits of chia seeds. And we don't see why they shouldn't. According to one study, consuming enough healthy fats is likely to boost your athletic performance mainly by serving as an alternative source of instant energy, also known as ketosis. So, even if you run out on carbs, your body will keep going using fat as fuel.

                          Chia Seeds Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

                          Chia Seeds Regulate Blood Sugar Levels

                          Even though blood sugar (glucose) is our body's primary source of energy, things can go wrong if too much of the nutrient is accumulated in the body. In fact, high blood sugar levels are the leading cause of diabetes. However, we have the upper hand in this situation just by following a healthy diet.

                          According to one study, chia seeds are an excellent way to manage blood sugar levels due to the seeds' high content in alpha-linoleic acid and fibre. Both of these nutrients are reported to promote glucose homoeostasis and even help you treat diabetes. A more recent study also confirms that chia seeds along with other superfoods can reduce blood glucose levels significantly. No doubt we're talking about one of the most significant health benefits of chia seeds.

                          Chia Seeds Promote Digestive Health

                          Chia Seeds Promote Digestive Health

                          Fibre and a healthy bowel movement go hand in hand. That's why one of the main chia seeds benefits revolves around digestive health. In fact, soluble fibre is converted a gel-like substance which slows digestions down by releasing nutrients gradually and steadily. But, this is just one side of the story. Research suggests that chia seeds can also absorb up to ten times their weight in water which finds its way to your intestines when eaten. More water, less constipation.

                          Chia Seeds Help You Lose Weight

                          Chia Seeds Help You Lose Weight

                          Now we'll let you in on one of the most unexpected chia seeds benefits: weight loss. Chia seeds pack an impressive fibre punch, and this is likely to work for your benefit if you want to drop a few pounds. Once consumed, chia seeds form a gel-like substance in your stomach which helps you feel full for longer and, thus, curb cravings. So, the less you eat, the more weight you lose. It's as simple as that!

                          Chia Seeds Lowers Cholesterol Levels

                          Chia Seeds Lowers Cholesterol Levels

                          Found in every cell of our body, cholesterol is yet another compound without which the human body can't survive. It promotes the production of certain hormones, vitamin D, and other digestion-friendly nutrients. So, it can't be that bad. Well, when found in high amounts, it actually is. So, what can we do to prevent that? Rely on chia seeds health benefits. One study proves that chia seeds are packed with healthy fats which can keep your high cholesterol levels at bay.

                          Chia Seeds Reduce Inflammation

                          Chia Seeds Reduce Inflammation

                          Think of inflammation as your body's way of responding to various damaging stimuli, be that bacteria or toxins. And no matter how much you may disagree, inflammation can also be food-borne. Many modern foods contain a variety of substances which can't help but result in chronic inflammation.

                          One of the most common chia seeds benefits is reducing inflammation. How come? These little black seeds contain a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Now, according to research, omega-3 fatty acids serve as excellent anti-inflammatory agents by interfering with various inflammation mechanisms. So, it comes as no surprise that reducing inflammation is touted as one of the top health benefits of chia seeds.

                          Chia Seeds Lower Blood Pressure

                          Chia Seeds Lower Blood Pressure

                          While further research is necessary, experts suggest that one of the most common health benefits of chia seeds is to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive individuals. That occurs because chia seeds reduce nitrite concentration in blood which is directly associated with high blood pressure.

                          Chia Seeds Promote Heart Health

                          Chia Seeds heart health

                          Between low blood pressure, reduced inflammation and normal cholesterol levels, chances are your heart is on a fast track to beating healthy. And even though few studies focus on the benefits of chia seeds on cardiovascular diseases, most of them conclude that these black specks are a safe bet when it comes to heart-friendly nutrition.

                          Let's not also forget that chia seeds are packed with antioxidants which prevent oxidative stress. And if you don't know this by now, such stress can have a substantial impact on your heart health. So, reap the cardiovascular health benefits of chia seeds by introducing them to your diet.

                          Chia Seeds Build Strong Bones

                          Chia Seeds Build Strong Bones

                          Another significant health benefit of chia seeds refers to healthy bones. Calcium is the single most important nutrient when it comes to growing healthy bones, and chia seeds hold their end of this bone-friendly bargain. But, chia seeds also hide another ace up their sleeves. They are also rich in boron, a nutrient which helps your body metabolise various minerals such as calcium, manganese, and magnesium, all of which are essential to growing healthy bones. So, whether you're in your 60s or 20s, why keep your body from enjoying such chia seeds benefits?

                          Chia Seeds Increase Muscle Gains

                          Chia Seeds Increase Muscle Gains

                          This super seed is also a great option for those who want to put on lean muscle. That occurs because chia seeds contain enough protein to repair damaged muscle tissues. So, next time you're thinking of ways to spice up your post-exercise shake, chia seeds are the way to go.

                          Chia Seeds Help Prevent Cancer

                          Poor diet and cancer seem to have something in common. They're both out to get your body. But, what if we told that prevention lies one choice away? It's no secret that certain foods contain massive amounts of cancer-fighting nutrients known as antioxidants.

                          These microorganisms track down free radicals, a.k.a. toxins, and eliminate them on the spot. Now, free radicals and toxins are responsible for cancer and tumour development in most people. Luckily, chia seeds provide us with a generous dose of antioxidants to shield our bodies against harmful substances like toxins. Now, that's definitely one of the chia seeds benefits you need in your life.

                          Final Thoughts

                           

                          No matter how you choose to make them part of your diet (some chia pudding, anyone?), chia seeds deserve a place in your kitchen cabinet. After all, it's not every day that you run into food that promotes your health and training goals at the same time. So, who's ready to reap the health benefits of chia seeds in a single scoop?

                           

                          References




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