No matter where you talk about chia seeds and the benefits, someone will bring up the chia pets that are so popular around Christmas. They extend beyond the animal world into the world of Star Wars and politics, with Bernie Sanders chias and Chewbacca’s. But chia seeds provide benefits for good health when you eat them. They’re not just meant to create hair on a clay Elvira or David Hasselhoff. They have a long nutritional history, starting by being a mainstay of the diet of the Aztecs and Mayans.
Chia seeds are high in nutrients, including antioxidants, fiber, minerals, omega-3 and vitamins.
These tiny black seeds were used for many things, from medical treatment to food, in ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations. There’s a good reason they were so popular. They are loaded with nutrients and provide healthy calories. Two tablespoons of seeds have 4.7 grams of protein, 8.7 grams of fat and 11.0 grams of carbs. It has 138 calories and 5 grams of ALA, alpha-linolenic acid. There are 9 grams of fiber, high amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, B1 and B3.
If you’re trying to lose weight, chia seeds may come to your rescue.
With a high content of both fiber and protein, both of which keep you feeling fuller longer, it’s easy to see why chia seeds could be a huge benefit for dieters. Several studies have focused on chia seeds and weight loss. One had participants mix chia with yogurt. They reported feeling fuller longer. Another six month study focused on obese or overweight type 2 diabetics. It showed those adding chia seeds to their diet significantly increased weight loss. Another study showed there was no significant difference in weight loss or reducing inflammation markers.
Adding chia seeds to your diet may improve heart health.
Just like many scientific findings, more research needs to be done, but preliminary studies show that chia seeds may be beneficial for heart health. They’re high in fiber, which reduces cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. They’re also high in omega-3s in the form of ALA, that also lowers the risk of heart disease. A small sampling of studies show chia seeds may benefit heart health by reducing blood pressure.
- Your bones and teeth will benefit from adding chia seeds to your diet. They contain calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, all of which are important for bone health. In addition, the ALA also improves bone density.
- Maintaining blood sugar levels is important for diabetes and pre-diabetes. Chia seeds contain fiber that can help you do that. Animal studies show it also can improve insulin sensitivity, to aid in stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- Chia seeds protect you at the cellular level. They’re high in antioxidants that remove free radicals. The antioxidants contained protect the heart and liver, plus provide protection from cancer.
- Inflammation can damage your body and chia seeds have anti-inflammatory properties from the caffeic acid it contains. Adding chia seeds to your diet offers only benefits and no drawbacks and it’s easy to do.
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