While many of us are familiar with the fun “Chia Pets” the Chia seed is actually one of the healthiest foods on the planet and packs so many health benefits! Chia is a seed that is grown in South America and are from the Salvia Hispanica plant. These seeds have been used for centuries throughout the region, yet only recently to begin to slowly grow in popularity. One ounce of these tiny seeds pack 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 9 grams of fat – 5 of which are omega 3 fats. The omega 3s are a great substitute for those that can’t use fish oil.
There are many benefits outside of the great nutritional content of the Chia seed. Chia seeds are found to be great antioxidants with the antioxidant content rumored to be as high as that of blueberries. These antioxidants are great for skin as well as for the reduction of the risk of some diseases like cancer including breast cancer and cervical cancer. Beside the antioxidant content Chia seeds have the benefit of their 12 grams of carbohydrates being made of 11 grams of fiber. With this high fiber content you get 1 gram of net carbs per ounce and 11 grams of quality fiber. Fiber from Chia is a great addition to keep our digestive track moving steady. Along with the great fiber to carbohydrate ratio these seeds also have a very high quality protein content. This protein is one of the highest levels of a plant based protein. These higher levels of protein and the fiber make Chia a great addition to any diet.
For many people Chia has been used to replace other supplements such as fish oil. With 5 grams of omega 3 fatty acids especially ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) people who cannot digest fish oil or have allergies can substitute it with the Chia seeds. Along with the use as essential fatty acid substitute Chia is also great to add to diets to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and increase HDL cholesterol and reduce inflammation. This can be key for people that have cholesterol issues.
This is also an important usage for people that have type 2 diabetes. It was found that Chia seeds were able to lower the insulin spikes in user’s blood sugar, therefore lowering the risks. They were also found to significantly lower several markers of risk for type 2 diabetics. This was at a dose between 35-40 grams per day. It was also found to reduce the risk of dyslipidemia (excessive fat in the blood) and insulin resistance. This can lower the risk of becoming a diabetic if you have the markers. It has also been shown at proper doses to halt and in some cases reverse the onset of diabetes.
Some of the other benefits of Chia is its ability to increase the strength of the bone structure. The single ounce of Chia has approximately 18% of the national daily requirement of Calcium. There are also such nutrients as Boron, Phosphorus and Magnesium. These are all major factors on increasing the strength of your bones. Chia is also known to increase the ability to handle the stress brought on during exercise displaying the same endurance effects of many regularly consumed sports drinks. Chia can also help increase the ability for the body to burn belly fat during resistance training and cardio. This makes Chia a great addition to those trying to lose weight or drop overall body fat.
The last great thing about Chia is that it has also become very common in today’s market. They are making everything from bars, shakes and even drinks that contain Chia. That means there are many flavorful ways that you can enjoy these seeds as well as get in your daily allotted amount of Chia to get the benefits you are looking for.
With the many uses of Chia and the ease it has of being incorporated into your diet makes it a great addition to any supplement regimen. For the health benefits as well as the ability to increase your performance in the gym this is a great and tasty way to achieve both!