Chia seeds are really small seeds that come from a plant related to mint- Salvia Hispanica. These plants grow in South America, and they’ve been used in that area since forever (well, almost). But they only recently managed to draw international attention, when it was discovered that chia seeds are a superfood. That means they are loaded with nutrients, and even if they are eaten in small amounts they have a huge impact on your overall well-being. Here’s a list of some of the amazing benefits of chia seeds:
7 Benefits Of Chia Seeds
1. They have an amazing nutritional value compared to the calories. So for a serving size of 1 ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds you get 11 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat (5 of which are Omega 3’s), 4 grams of protein and a bunch of minerals and vitamins.
2. Almost all carbs in chia seeds are fiber! Out of 12 grams of carbohydrates, 11 are fiber, which means they pass through the digestive system (improving the digestion, might I add), and are eliminated without being stored!
3. Prevents diabetes– the fiber in chia seeds does not raise the sugar level in the blood because it passes through the digestive system without being absorbed, so it doesn’t require any extra insulin to dispose of it.
4. Chia seeds cand improve performance when working out almost as much as an energy drink. In fact, in the book “Born to Run”, Christopher McDougall tells the story of how the Tarahumaras Indians, a tribe of super-runners in the Copper Canyons of Mexico, use this as an energy punch. You can mix it with your protein shake as you head out the door, and sip from it every now and then to get a bit of an extra kick.
5. Chia seeds can combat dehydration. They are well known for absorbing as much as 30 times their weight in water, so when they are ingested as a gel-like substance (which is what they turn into when soaked in water) they not only help regulate body fluid levels, but they also help to and retain electrolytes. Both of these are essential in the battle against dehydration. For long workouts in high heat and humidity (hello, summer!), chia seeds are an excellent way to prolong hydration.
6. Chia seeds reduce inflammation and joint pain. The Omega-3 essential fatty acids (like those found in fish oil) are proven to be anti-inflammatory, and chia seeds are full of these. The Aztecs themselves ate chia seeds to relieve knee pain. In addition to battling aches and joint pain, the essential fatty acids found in chia seeds help with skin problems and even brain health, and have even been shown to decrease the symptoms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and even hypertension.
7. Chia seeds accelerate post-run recovery, which is great if you’re training for a marathon or half this fall. The amino acids are the “building blocks of protein”, and the antioxidants are the ultimate defense against free radicals. Chia seeds have plenty of both, so if you want a really effective post-run drink, mix them with some water or your shake, and drink up to jumpstart recovery.
Do you use chia seeds? Let us know how you introduce this amazing superfood in your diet in the comments section below.