The Benefits of Chia Seeds and How to Add Them to Your Diet

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chia-seeds-image-design-1Chia seeds have become the super food to add to your diet. They offer a world of health benefits that you can’t get from other super foods in one sitting. The great news is that they’re not difficult to add into your diet either.

Whether you love smoothies or prefer to eat salads, soups, or full meals, you’ll be able to add these seeds to your diet. But why do you really need to do it? Just what are all these benefits that you gain from throwing them in by the handful?

It’s time to look at all the ways your health will thank you and just how to add them in effortlessly to your daily meal plan.

Just What Are Chia Seeds?

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Before we even start, you want to know more about these little black seeds. There are high chances that you’ve never heard of them or only heard about them in passing.

The seeds are originally from Mexico but now tend to be grown around the world. In Mexico, they’re used in various herbal remedies, because of all their health benefits. They’ve also made their way into the herbal remedies of other places around the world. In some countries, they’re even used as currency because they are so valuable. If only we could use them like that, huh?

Chia seeds aren’t something “new age.” They’ve been used for centuries, with Aztec warriors using them for energy when they needed it. Some of them would have just a diet of chia seeds and last 24 hours. While research hasn’t supported the idea of this happening, it has supported the idea of them being useful for the body. It has supported the fact that they are super foods.

One of the biggest benefits is that you get a whole lot of benefits for very few calories. They make up for 42% of your daily recommended amount of fibre, and 9% of your daily recommended value of protein. You’ll even get 27% of your daily recommended amount of phosphorus and 18% of your recommended calcium intake.

And there are so many more nutrients that you would usually need to get from multiple sources. Now do you see why the seeds are known as a superfood?

Well, that’s all great to find out, but what exactly do these nutrients do for your health. Why is it so important to get them? Here are all the benefits that you’ll get from just a small helping of these seeds on a daily basis.

That Feeling of Being Full

Have you ever wondered if you could boost your weight loss efforts with just a handful of seeds? Maybe the thought has never crossed your mind, but it really should. Chia seeds are excellent for weight loss efforts because of all the fibre and protein.

Remember the percent of your recommended daily amount? Well, let’s look at the actual gram figures. With a 28g serving of chia seeds—that’s about two tablespoons of seeds!—you’ll get 11g of fibre and 4g of protein. That’s 15g of food groups that will help you remain full for longer.

Getting that feeling of being full means you’re satisfied after a meal. You’re less likely to snack or reach for that sweet treat to finish it all off. In some cases, you won’t even be able to finish your meal! You’ll eat fewer calories, so you’ll find that you lose weight sooner and easier. Wouldn’t that be the dream?

Those two tablespoons of seeds equate to around 137 calories. You’re not adding that much to your meal, and you don’t need to add the whole two tablespoons to one meal. Split them up across your day!

Some studies have even shown that the chia seeds can help to support and improve the metabolism. You can burn more calories throughout the day, which means you can create a calorie deficit easier.

There have also been studies to show that chia seeds can even help to reduce the appetite. While the studies didn’t show a reduction in weight, there may have been other factors at play. They’re not a miracle cure and still need to be eaten as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Perfect for the Low Carb Diets

If you need something to use with your paleo, keto, and other similar low-carb diets, you need to look at chia seeds. Those two tablespoons have a whopping gram of carbs. That’s it! That’s some digestible carbs within the seeds.

Why is this so important? Well, it’s not just about following the diets. You’ll also gain through your health by keeping your carbohydrate levels down. You need some but really not that much. Your carbohydrates often sugar in the blood, leading to an increase in insulin. This can all lead to problems with diabetes.

There have also been studies to show that the chia seeds help to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and your blood pressure. These together can help to reduce heart problems and reduce the risk of developing diabetes. The studies have also shown a reduction in inflammation, which can also help to lower the risk of diabetes.

Some of the studies have shown that patients improve their diabetes if they do it. Some with Type II diabetes have seen improvements to the point where they don’t have to take their medication. This success can also be been seen across the board with how to stop snoring too!

Like with weight loss, chia seeds aren’t your miracle cure. They are a useful addition to a healthy diet. You’ll need to add them into nutritious, low sugar foods and meals to help keep your diabetes under control.

However, the good news is that studies have shown more positive results when it comes to fighting against diabetes. In one study, people getting chia seeds rather than bran flakes found that they had a reduced number of health markers that would indicate diabetes. It is possible that the larger amount of fibre helped to ensure little of the seeds sugared in the body.

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Improve Your Bone Strength

We’ve already mentioned the percent of the likes of calcium and phosphorus in these seeds. They also include large amounts of magnesium, zinc, and other minerals needed to help support your bones.

What does this mean for you? You’re less likely to suffer problems like osteoporosis and brittle bones. These are both issues as you get older, especially after you go through menopause. Your body isn’t always able to absorb all the nutrients that it needs, so your bones suffer the most.

The great news is that chia seeds are better than the majority of dairy products when you look at them gram for gram! They contain far more of the bone-strengthening minerals, and you can add them to your diet a lot easier. You also don’t have the natural sugars and fats associated with dairy products.

If you are intolerant or allergic to dairy, there isn’t an issue. If you choose not to consume dairy for ethical reasons, you don’t need to worry about a complete lack of calcium and more. Just two tablespoons will give you 18% of your recommended daily amount of many of the bone-strengthening minerals. You can also get them from dark leafy greens!

Improve Your Physical Performance

Remember that about the Aztec warriors using chia seeds to improve their energy levels? Well, there is some research that suggests the chia seeds used with the traditional Aztec diet could have helped. Research has shown that the seeds are just as good as—if not better than—sports drinks for boosting the energy levels when it comes to exercise.

During the studies, participants either got Gatorade or a mixture of Gatorade and chia seeds. They would need to run for an hour on equipment and follow that with a 10km run! Neither group did better than the other, suggesting that there is no need to fuel the body with sugary energy drinks. Not only were athletes able to keep the sugar levels down, but they could also keep the calories down.

If you opt for chia seeds before your workout, you can improve your endurance. You’ll be able to work harder and see more weight drop off.

More research is needed for this health benefit. Is it possible for a full helping of chia seeds instead of any Gatorade off the same benefits? Is it possible that the Aztec warriors really did benefit from a full diet of chia seeds?

Chia Seeds (Lat. Salvia Hispanica)

Improve the Look of the Skin

Now it’s time to look at the health benefits that you can physically see. The chia seeds help to improve the look of the skin all because of some antioxidants in them.

You’ve likely heard that antioxidants are good for the body. They help to fight against cancer and boost the immune system. That’s not all they’re good for.

Antioxidants help to protect the cells from any type of damage. Free radicals do more than just lead to cancer or dementia. They stop damaged cells from repairing properly, or they can prevent dead cells from growing back as they should. Free radicals can lead to premature aging of the skin because the skin starts to lose its elasticity and softness.

Chia seeds aren’t just useful for the benefits within them. If you’re adding them to your diet, you’re likely going to be a little more health conscious and focus on getting more fluid in your diet. Your skin needs water to hydrate it and keep it healthy. It needs the water to boost the collagen level, helping to keep the elasticity up so that the skin stretches and returns to normal instead of tearing.

Oh, and your skin won’t look as inflamed. The antioxidants help to reduce your body’s natural inflammatory response, which can come from free radicals within the body.

Improve Your Digestive System

And we can’t forget the help to your digestive system! Remember all that fibre within the chia seeds? Well, it helps to line the intestines and keep them working just the way they should. Your whole digestive system is able to push food through, rather than blocking up sections to cause constipation.

Fibre also helps to keep the stools at the right consistency, so you don’t end up with loose stools. It helps to prevent cramping within the stomach area, as your body tries to get rid of everything you have put into it.

And then let’s think about the reduction in the inflammatory response. Inflammation within the digestive system is one of the main connections to various digestive illnesses, including IBS, chronic pain, and gluten intolerances. When you help to reduce the inflammatory responses, you help to reduce the digestive ailments you suffer with on a daily basis.

No, the chia seeds aren’t likely to completely get rid of every type of stomach issue that you have. They won’t change any allergy that you have or make it possible to eat every single piece of food available to you, but they can help to reduce some of the symptoms that you face throughout the day.

Muesli with fruit and chia seeds close-up on a plate. horizontal

Improve Your Dental Health

Another benefit that you will be able to see is to your teeth. Remember the calcium that the chia seeds are full of? Well, this mineral is also great for protecting your teeth. It helps to support them so they grow and remain strong. The seeds are also full of phosphorus and vitamin A, which also help to build strong teeth. You’ll keep your natural smile for longer.

The seeds are also full of zinc. Why is this so important when it comes to dental health? Sinc helps to prevent the plaque from clinging to the tartar on your teeth. This means that the plaque doesn’t do as much damage to the enamel on your teeth or cause as much bacterial growth in your mouth. Your gums are protected, so you’re less likely to lose your teeth or need treatments like fillings and root canals.

You can’t just eat the seeds and expect your teeth to look great. You’ll still need to follow a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing twice a day is still an essential part of your routine and you may still want to consider oil pulling.

They Help to Hydrate the Body

Depending on how you use your chia seeds, you could find that they are perfect for tackling any dehydration that you suffer from. Soaking chia seeds is highly recommended, and they can take 12 times their own body weight! That’s a lot of water.

You’ll absorb all that water, along with all the nutrients. Your digestive system has the full support, while your skin gets to take some of the water. Your organs and your brain all benefit from the extra water in your system.

That doesn’t mean don’t drink the recommended amount. It just means that you’ll find it easier to get water into your system.

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Boost Your Brain Power

Finally, let’s look at the amount of omega 3 and 6 that are in the chia seeds. Yes, the seeds have both, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The two fatty acids balance each other out.

Too many foods only have omega 6. The fact that the chia seeds are full of omega 3 fatty acids is excellent. Omega 3 helps to support the brain, improving the way that the cells form and repair and supporting the memory.

You’re less likely to develop conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Your short term and long term memory may also be protected, even if you don’t develop one of the brain conditions. You’ll find that taking tests and thememorizing information is much better.

The chia seeds don’t just do this through the Omega 3, either. There is a small amount of iron that can help to boost the blood circulation. Your brain—along with other organs—get all the oxygen it needs.

Yes, They Are Healthy During Pregnancy

One of the greatest benefits of chia seeds is that they’re healthy and natural. If you’re looking for something to support your body during pregnancy, then look no further. The seeds are perfectly safe in the recommended amounts.

They will not just help to offer all the benefits above but help to replenish lost nutrients during pregnancy. Your baby will take as many of the nutrients as possible, and if you’re suffering from bad morning sickness, you may find it difficult to replenish them all. You should opt for more chia seeds in your diet to help yourself out.

Tasty appetizers with chicken liver pate, valerian salad, toaste

How Do You Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet?

Now that you know all this, it’s time to get chia seeds in your diet. These seeds are among the most versatile seeds you can find. They’re small enough to chew raw or easy enough to cook your meals.

One of the quickest and easiest options to add them to your diet is to throw them into a smoothie. Just add a tablespoon or two when you make up your smoothie to finish it off. You’ll barely notice that they are there!

Within the smoothie, the seeds will start to soak and release more of the nutrients. Soaking the nutrients out is the best way to get them and absorb them into your body. If you’re not going to add them to your smoothies, you’ll want to look at soaking them before you add them to anything else. Try soaking them with some couscous or quinoa to add to your salads.

Soaked chia seeds can also be much easier to digest. You get rid of the protective layer around the shell, which can be difficult to break down in the body. If they don’t break down, your body can’t get all the nutrients out of them. You may even feel some discomfort.

But can’t you chew them? These seeds are tiny—a little like flaxseeds. Chances are you’re not going to chew them all the way you need to.

It doesn’t take long to soak them if you’re not going to make them into a smoothie. You’ll just need around a cup of water for your two tablespoons of seeds. Leave them to sit for around 30 minutes while you make the rest of your meal. If you do have the time, letting them sit for two hours is ideal.

Remember that fact about the seed absorbing up to 12 times of its bodyweight in water? Well, you’ll need to remember this when it comes to making stews, soups, or anything else that involves water while cooking. You may need to add extra water to keep the right consistency while cooking.

It is also possible to take in the chia seeds ground. These don’t have the protective layer that the whole seeds do, which means you don’t need to spend time soaking them in water first. You’ll get all the benefits right away. Ground chia seeds are also extremely easy to just sprinkle into and onto your food or smoothies.

You can also add them into some of your baking or pastry making. The grounded seeds have a finer texture like flour, which makes them the perfectly natural and grain-free ingredient for some of your baking. Use in place of flaxseed meal.

When it comes to storing the ground versions, make sure they are in an airtight container and in the fridge/freezer to preserve them.

It’s Time to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet

What’s your excuse not to add the seeds to your diet? This super food offers numerous health benefits, whether you want to feel or see them. The seeds will reduce your risk of diabetes and can help to improve the look and feel of your skin and smile. You’ll support your brain health while helping to lose weight.

There are just so many ways that you can add chia seeds to your diet. Consider throwing them into each of your meals whatever you enjoy to eat or drink. You won’t regret it.

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