Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Chia seeds have catapulted in popularity in recent years due to their significant amount of nutrition and health benefits. These seeds are thought to first be used by the Aztecs in Central America and were frequently used in Aztec diets as the seed is derived from a desert plant that is plentiful in the area. And interestingly, the chia seeds are part of the mint family despite the fact they have a somewhat nutty flavor. Individuals can add them to nearly any dish for any meal, such as blending them in smoothies for breakfast or sprinkling them over a salad at lunch. They can even use chia seeds as a coating for meat, fish, and tofu for dinner.
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Packed With Nutrients
Because the body can absorb chia seeds, the level of useful nutrients far surpasses similar seeds like flaxseeds. Some of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients individuals will benefit from include copper, zinc, phosphorus, and calcium. Chia seeds are a whole-grain, unprocessed food source packed with nutrients. Individuals are likely familiar with the health benefits of calcium, but may not know phosphorus helps remove waste from the kidneys, repairs tissue and cells, manages the way the body stores and uses energy, maintains an individual's regular heartbeat, and reduces muscle pain after exercise? Copper can help reduce an individual's risk of dementia, and zinc aids in healing wounds, treating diarrhea, improving the immune system, and treating the common cold.
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Full Of Antioxidants
If individuals wish to fight the signs of aging with food, chia seeds are one of the best ways to do so, as they are full of antioxidants. Chia seeds are also a spectacular food source to prevent cells from becoming damaged and developing into cancer, as they can help fight off the negative effects of exposure to unhealthy circumstances such as radiation, pollution, and smoking. Antioxidants act as a detoxifier to help keep the body clean and free of poisons. Because chia seeds are full of antioxidants, individuals do not have to eat much of them to reap the rewards of doing so.
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Low-Carb And Full of Fiber
If individuals are on the ketogenic diet or are looking to lose or maintain weight, chia seeds are an exceptional food item to incorporate into their daily meals. Chia seeds are low in carbohydrates; therefore, individuals will be able to remain in ketosis and revel in the health benefits of chia seeds without concern about their daily carbohydrate intake. These magic seeds are also full of fiber, which will help individuals feel full longer, and as a result, they will not eat as much as they normally would on any given day. The fiber content will also keep bowels on the move with consistency. This, too, helps with weight loss and weight maintenance. If individuals are looking for low-carb and high fiber food, chia seeds are the perfect source.
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Vegetarians and vegans can rejoice as chia seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of protein. These super seeds are a quality protein and a wonderful way to keep muscles lean and in top shape. They will also help individuals burn fat more effectively than most other foods. Consuming chia seeds is also a good way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and improve an individual's energy levels because they are high in protein. If individuals tend to become tired in the afternoon, they should be sure to incorporate chia seeds in their lunch to prevent energy crashes in the afternoon.
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Reduces Inflammation And Disease
A chia seed reduces both inflammation and disease. They can actually reverse inflammation so individuals can recover more quickly from exercise. If they have arthritis, they can ease pain by adding chia seeds to their dishes. Individuals can prevent many other illnesses as well, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and obesity. They can even improve an individual's dental health, as well as provide pregnant women with many health benefits of their own. Moreover, the benefits to the brain expand well beyond preventing dementia, as individuals will also receive a brain boost that can help keep their brain free from feeling foggy and improve speech patterns.
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High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds have a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are typically found in fish oil supplements, fish, flaxseed, and other seeds. There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids. The one with the highest concentration in chia seeds is ALA. ALA is classified as an essential acid, which means it's a substance the body is not capable of making by itself. Since individuals need the substance to function, they must get it through their diet. The body can convert some of its ALA into the other omega-3 fatty acids, but the percentage is very small, meaning individuals should also try to get the other two acids into their body through their diet as well. Omega-3 acids are important to the membranes surrounding every cell in the body. The membranes need to be healthy for the cells to function properly without becoming damaged.
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Boost Bone Health
Chia seeds have the potential to boost bone health since a typical serving is full of key nutrients that help preserve and improve the health of an individual's bones. The biggest components are magnesium, phosphorous, protein, and calcium. In fact, chia seeds may be an ideal alternative source of calcium for individuals who can't or don't drink milk. Just once ounce of the seeds has eighteen percent of the recommended daily calcium intake, which is higher than the majority of dairy products. One important note, though, is chia seeds also contain phytic acid, which can negatively affect the body's ability to absorb calcium. Individuals may not absorb all of the calcium they ingest from chia seeds. However, phytic acid doesn't tend to inhibit calcium absorption completely, especially in the small amounts present in a serving of chia seeds. Magnesium and phosphorus are essential electrolytes to the ongoing maintenance of bone health. Protein is responsible for strengthening the muscles surrounding the bones.
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May Reduce Blood Sugar
There is some evidence indicating chia seeds may reduce blood sugar. However, further studies must be done to establish an official scientific link. Healthcare professionals do not recommend using chia seeds as an alternative to proven blood sugar reduction and management methods, but individuals adding them to their diet alongside other measures isn't generally harmful. Individuals with untreated or undiagnosed type 2 diabetes tend to have high blood sugar levels even after fasting. If an individual's fasting sugar levels are consistently high, they may be at an increased risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses. However, chronic blood sugar issues aren't the only danger. Studies show temporary blood sugar spikes can also cause problems if they happen regularly. Researchers have done animal studies indicating chia seeds can improve blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity, so blood sugar levels are more stable following a meal. There have also been human studies regarding the consumption of bread containing chia seeds. Individuals who ate the bread had better blood sugar management than those who didn't.
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May Alleviate Chronic Inflammation
Chia seeds may alleviate chronic inflammation, which is an issue many individuals struggle with, though a lot don't realize they have inflammation. The underlying cause can be dozens of different things, and the inflammation may be centered in literally any part of the body. Inflammation is the body's immune response to injury and infection. It helps the immune system to battle these issues. But if the body is chronically inflamed, studies have shown a correlation with increased cancer and heart disease risks. A three-month study was conducted with twenty diabetes patients, in which they ate thirty-seven grams daily of chia seeds. At the end of the three months, the inflammatory markers in the blood had dropped by an average of forty percent. The study group who ate wheat bran instead did not demonstrate any significant decrease in levels. More research needs to be done with larger groups to determine how much effect chia seeds have on inflammation caused by different conditions, but this study was promising.
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Support Healthy Weight Loss
Chia seeds have nutritional content that can help support healthy weight loss. The most important components for this are the high levels of protein and fiber. There are soluble fiber compounds that absorb water when they reach the stomach. They expand, which makes individuals feel more full. It also helps slow the absorption of food by the digestive system, which can stave off hunger and help regulate an individual's metabolism and bowel movements. Multiple studies have shown glucomannan, which has a similar mechanism of action, helps with weight loss. Meanwhile, the protein content can reduce an individual's overall appetite and calorie intake. Researchers did one study indicating adding chia seeds to breakfast leads to increased feelings of fullness and less food intake over short term periods. With that said, there have been studies to see whether chia seeds aid weight loss, and some have had discouraging results. One study of ninety overweight individuals showed eating large amounts of chia seeds for twelve weeks didn't have any measurable effect on weight.