Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. “Chia” means strength, and folklore has it that these cultures used the tiny black and white seeds as an energy booster. That makes sense, as chia seeds are a concentrated food containing healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium.
1. Anti-Aging Benefits
Researchers from Mexico uncovered that chia seeds had a total natural phenolic (antioxidants) concentration nearly two times higher than previously reported, and the antioxidant activity was shown to stop up to 70% of free radical activity.
Essentially proving that chia seeds are one of nature’s riches antioxidants. Antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems, and prevent further damage. Taking chia seeds can prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation free radical damage.
2. Improve Digestion
Chia is super-high in fiber, providing nearly 11 grams per ounce. One serving can provide the recommended fiber intake for the day, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Fiber is essential for your body’s ability to balance insulin levels. According to the National Institute of Health, seeds like flax and chia can be a natural blood sugar balancer due to its high fiber content and healthy fats.
Being high in dietary fiber, chia helps promote bowel regularity and healthy stool. The rich fiber content in chia seeds also helps people feel full quicker because it absorbs a considerable amount of water and immediately expands in the stomach when eaten. This may explain why clinical studies have proven that chia curbs hunger and suppresses appetite, which can also lead to weight loss.
Also when consumed, chia seeds create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach. This gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in chia seeds and it can work as a prebiotic supporting the growth of probiotics in the gut.
3. Protect Your Heart
Chia seeds’ ability to reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure make it extremely beneficial to consume for heart health. Also, by reversing oxidative stress, someone is less likely to develop atherosclerosis when they’re regularly consuming chia seeds.
Chia seeds are high in linoleic, a fatty acid which helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. For such a tiny seed, chia is quite high in healthy fats boasting more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Omega-3’s work to protect the heart by lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and inflammation. Inflammation can put strain on blood vessels and cause heart disease. So by eating chia seeds you can boost and protect your heart!
4. Chia Seeds Cure Diabetes
Because chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, researchers from the University of Litoral in Argentina set out to determine how chia seeds can help prevent metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia (excessive fat in the blood) and insulin resistance – which are two factors in the development of diabetes.
In a nutshell, chia seeds was proven to halt diabetes and reverse it!
5. Improve Memory and Concentration
We all know that we need to take more omega 3 as our modern diets lack it so much and one of the main things it is associated with is brain function. Omega 3 is an essential nutrient for brain health and is often referred to as ‘brain food’. People who add chia to their diets have reported noticing better memory and as rates of Alzheimer’s disease worldwide increases, it has never been more important to make sure you have enough ‘brain food’ in your diet. Chia provides the perfect solution to increasing your Omega 3 levels and keeping your brain function healthy.
6. Boost Energy and Metabolism
A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds enhanced exercise performance for workouts that lasted 90 minutes the same way a sugar-laden sports drink would, but without all the sugar.
In the study, half of the athletes drank 100 percent Gatorade, while the others consumed half Gatorade and half chia drink. Their running times were matched and the half-chia group consumed far less sugar.
By adding a serving of chia seeds a day you can help boost your metabolism and burn belly fat as well! Studies show that the addition of chia seeds to your diet also reduces visceral adipose tissue, a “belly fat” tissue that effects the metabolism of the body and is a component of obesity!
7. Stronger Bones
Just one ounce of chia seeds has 18% of the recommended daily amount of calcium.
Calcium is fundamental in bone health and helps maintain bone strength and mass. Chia also contains boron which is another essential nutrient for bone health.
Boron helps metabolize calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for healthy growth of bones and muscles.
8. Fitness and Weight Loss Benefits
Chia seeds also rank among the top plant based sources of protein. This is another reason this super seed is great to consume for those trying to put on lean muscle, burn fat, and balance blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds pack a powerful antioxidant punch to help replace some of those nutrients lost when exercising. They’re high in essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron and niacin.
One of the characteristics that make chia so unique is that it can absorb up to 10 times than its own weight in water. Because of this, chia seeds can prolong hydration and improve nutrient absorption of electrolytes. This also slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer reducing sugar cravings.
And because chia seeds are also high in zinc, they help your body increase leptin. Leptin is a key hormone that regulates your bodies appetite, how your body spends energy and regulates how your energy levels! It also improves stamina and endurance, making chia a great source of nutrition if you are looking to get in shape.
9. Fight Breast and Cervical Cancer
Chia seeds are rich in alpha lineic acid (or ALA) which is an Omega-3 fatty acid. Recently in 2013, the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry found that ALA limited the growth of cancer cells in both breast and cervical cancers.
They also found that it caused cell death of the cancer cells without harming the normal healthy cells. While more research still needs to be done to find out the deeper implications of ALA on other types of cancer, this is a great discovery for women struggling with these increasingly common types of cancer.
10. Chia Seeds Improve Dental Health
With chia seeds being packed with calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin A and zinc, it’s no wonder that they are a top food to help your teeth. Calcium is the building block of your teeth and necessary for tooth health.
Zinc prevents tarter by keeping plaque from mineralizing onto your teeth and has an antibacterial effect that keeps bad breath germs away. Vitamin A and phosphorus are also important for strong teeth and a healthy mouth.
11. Relieve Joint Pain or Arthritis
There are so many health benefits of chia seeds, but relief of joint pain is one noted by many people. The high levels of Omega 3 found in chia have been known to ease the pain that arthritis sufferers know all about. Because chia acts as a natural anti-inflammatory it can help ease the suffering of many people with inflammation problems such as various joint pains or old injuries.