Chia Seeds: The Ancient Superfood
If you haven’t hopped aboard the chia seed train yet, you’re missing out on something huge. That’s figurative of course, since chia seeds are tiny; but don’t let their small size fool you: chia seeds are LOADED with nutrition. Adding these seeds to your diet can not only help you lose weight, it provides a host of other benefits as well.
Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
Chia seeds are loaded with protein and fiber. In fact, almost all of the carbohydrates in chia seeds are in the form of fiber. Protein is considered the most “weight loss-friendly” nutrient because it helps reduce appetite and can keep you full for an extended period of time. Some research also shows that protein can reduce the urge for nighttime snacking and decrease obsessive thoughts about food (1, 2). It’s not only the amount of protein that makes chia seeds a superfood for your diet, it’s the amino acid content of these proteins. Chia seeds contain a good balance of the essential amino acids that your body can’t make.
The fiber in chia seeds also contributes to weight loss by absorbing water and expanding in your stomach. This helps delay the emptying of your stomach, which means that you feel fuller for a longer period of time. A single ounce of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fiber – almost half the amount recommended for an entire day!
Other Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Benefits
The benefits of chia seeds don’t stop at weight loss. These little seeds are rich in calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus – three minerals that help keep your bones strong. In fact, gram for gram, chia seeds have more calcium than a lot of dairy products. Chia seeds are also loaded with antioxidants, which not only protect the fats in the seeds themselves from going rancid (so the seeds don’t go bad before you have a chance to use them), but they protect your body from many chronic diseases, like heart disease and cancer.
How to Use Them
If you’re new to chia seeds, you may be a little intimidated by them at first – and that’s okay. Chia seeds are fairly bland, so you can easily incorporate them into your diet in various ways until you find a way – or many different ways – that work for you. You can also eat them whole, unlike flaxseeds, so there’s no extra grinding step necessary.
If you drink smoothies, throw a spoonful of chia seeds in the blender with everything else. If you prefer a little texture in your smoothies, you can mix the chia seeds into your smoothie after blending to keep them whole. You can sprinkle chia seeds on top of your yogurt, stir them into your oatmeal, or top off your cereal with them. They’re not just for breakfast, though. You can also toss some chia seeds into vegetable side dishes. You can even use chia seeds as substitute for eggs in baked goods. The possibilities really are endless.
October 3, 2014