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Why You Should Be Eating More Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a tiny little superfood packed with amazing nutrients. While you may not be familiar with them, they're incredibly versatile. Read on to learn more.
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If your only idea about chia seeds is that they can help you grow furry looking plants shaped like animals, you're missing out. Chia seeds are a nourishing superfood that can help you feel more energized and balanced.

What Are Chia Seeds?
The plant chia seeds are harvested from, Salvia hispanica, is actually a member of the mint or Lamiaceae family. These black or white seeds are tiny and hard, similar in appearance to a poppyseed and can be easily crushed or ground. Chia seeds also have a very mild and nutty taste. Native to Central American countries like Mexico, these tiny seeds have been used a food source for centuries due to their high concentration of minerals and other essential nutrients.

Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds contain many compounds that can help you better your health. Here are the main nutritional components:

  • Fiber -- The body benefits from two types of fiber, known as soluble and insoluble fiber, and chia seeds have both. The soluble fiber expands when combined with fluids to create a gel. This gel binds with your waste to help remove it from the body and also keeps you feeling full between meals. This can be beneficial for weight management. The insoluble fiber assists in the digestion of your food, helping you absorb vital nutrients and excrete waste efficiently.
  • Essential Fatty Acids -- You can get essential fatty acids like omega-3 from consuming chia seeds. Omega-3s are known to support heart health and may also benefit cognitive function as well as the skin and hair. If you're a vegan or vegetarian and don't wish to get essential fatty acids from fish oil supplements, chia seeds are a great way to go.
  • Minerals -- Chia seeds contain minerals like calcium and potassium. Calcium is essential for strong bones, where it's absorbed and stored for proper growth and the prevention of density loss and breakage. Potassium also serves as an electrolyte, keeping the body's fluid levels in balance.
  • Antioxidants -- Known to the defenders of the body's cells, antioxidants prevent the damage free radical invaders can cause. Free radicals are a byproduct of energy production within the body and can also be encountered in the environment. They cause cellular breakdown that can lead to illness and injury.
  • Protein -- Protein is needed on a daily basis to provide fuel for the body so you can work, exercise or run errands and also to build lean muscle mass. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast (examples below) can help you feel more focused and alert.

All of these nutrients are great reasons to try chia seeds. Now for the recipes!

Serving Suggestions
Now that you know all the reasons why chia seeds should be a part of your diet, you’re probably wondering how to use them. Thankfully, there are some very simple ways to incorporate chia seeds into the foods you’re already eating to give them that extra nutritional boost.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Smoothies -- Chia seeds help thicken the texture of a smoothie, but can be a bit grainy. Try grinding them in a coffee grinder and adding them to the blender with everything else. They won’t change the flavor really at all.
  • Baked Goods -- Any baking mix, be it for muffins or even pancakes can be enhanced with chia seeds. Just stir them in before cooking. They can make the texture of these foods a bit chewier, so be prepared for that.
  • “Pudding” -- The quotes are there because it isn’t pudding like you’re used to. Since the chia seeds expand in fluids and thicken it, you can create a pudding-style dessert without the gelatin or other artificial ingredients. Add chia seeds to almond milk or soy milk and combine with Greek or plain yogurt and natural flavorings like vanilla, stevia, cocoa powder or honey, let set and you have pudding!
  • Salads --  Chia seeds make a great topping for your salad and also help make the salad more filling, since they're so high in fiber. Sprinkle them on the top after you mix in your dressing and enjoy a more nutritious and satisfying salad for lunch!
  • Toast -- For a power breakfast when you're low on time, or for a snack before a workout, spread almond butter on a piece of whole grain or sprouted grain bread and then sprinkle with whole or ground chia seeds.

Chia seeds are available whole or ground at eVitamins, along with everything else you need to live a more natural and healthy life. So give them a try and have a great week!

 

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