Chia Seeds Benefits, Recipes & Weight loss Info – Everything you need to know
- Chia Seeds Benefits, Recipes & Weight loss Info – Everything you need to know
- What Are Chia Seeds?
- What’s in Chia Seeds?
- The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
- Ways of Eating Chia Seeds
- Our Favorite Chia Seeds Recipe
- Where to Buy Chia Seeds
- Pretty Me products in this post:
You probably had a Chia Pet, or knew someone that had a Chia Pet, or at least know what it is. After a couple of weeks, the seeds grow into sprouts, giving the pets all kinds of funky hair looks. But today, we’re not going to be talking about Chia Pets or chia sprouts for that matter. We’re actually going to be discussing the health benefits and how to cook with chia seeds.
But first off…
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are derived from the plant chia or Salvia hispanica, a desert plant from the mint family experts believe to have originated in Central America, since the superfood was an ancient Aztec diet staple. Chia seeds are mostly black, with some white and brown seeds in the mix.
Nowadays, people consume chia seeds for a boost of nutrition, and they abide by even the strictest of diets, whether you’re vegan, paleo, or strictly plant-based. It’s also been quite popular as an aid for weight loss.
What’s in Chia Seeds?
General Nutritional Information
So how did chia seeds earn its title as a superfood anyway? Let’s take a look at the nutritional information on chia seeds, based on serving size of 2 tablespoons, 1 ounce or 28.4 grams:
|SERVING SIZE: 2 tablespoons or 1 ounce or 28.4 grams|
* Omega-3 fatty acids are good for heart health, may help lower blood pressure
**Omega-6 fatty acids reduce risk of heart disease, lower bad cholesterol levels and raise good cholesterol levels, reduce cancer risk
Chia seeds are poor in vitamin content, but packed with a bunch of minerals. Using the same serving size as above, here are the chia seeds minerals:
|Calcium (180 mg)||– For strong, healthy bones and teeth|
– Needed to clot blood
– Helps with contracting muscles
|Iron (2 mg)||– Needed for hemoglobin (protein that brings oxygen from lungs to the rest of the body)|
– Vital for immune system functioning
|Magnesium (95 mg)||– Regulates muscle function|
– Maintains healthy heart rhythm
– Regulates blood pressure and cholesterol
|Manganese (0.8 mg)||– Needed in connective tissues|
– Aids in bone formation and blood clotting
– Improves fat and carbohydrate metabolism
– Helps with calcium absorption
– Regulates blood sugar
|Phosphorous (245 mg)||– Works with calcium for better bone and teeth health|
– Maintains balance between acids and bases
– Helps with storage and use of energy
|Potassium (116 mg)||– Counters sodium to maintain healthy blood pressure|
– Maintains balance between acids and bases
|Zinc (1 mg)||– Needed for a healthy immune system|
– Stimulates activity of over 100 different enzymes
While these all seem like small amounts, the percentage of the mineral content in such a small portion of chia seeds is huge, therefore significant. Plus, many of these minerals are only effective when consumed in these seemingly small doses.
Other Plant Compounds
Not only do chia seeds have a ton of minerals in them, but they also have a few plant compounds that are great for your health, such as:
- Caffeic acid – A common substance in plants, may aid in reducing inflammation
- Chlorogenic acid – An antioxidant that may lower blood pressure
- Kaempferol – An antioxidant associated with decreased risk of cancer and some other chronic diseases
- Quercetin – An antioxidant that may reduce risk of certain cancers, heart disease and osteoperosis
The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Knowing all the nutrients of chia seeds can be information overload, so let’s break down all amazing perks of chia seeds. Besides the fact that they deliver a lot of nutrients for very little calories, here are all the health benefits of of chia seeds:
Most of the carbohydrate content is fiber
Chia seeds, along with flax seeds, are probably one of the best sources of fiber out there, not just among plant foods.
Unlike carbs like sugar and starch, your body cannot actually digest fiber. While your body doesn’t process fiber, what it actually does is increase the volume of food you consume because it’s absorbing more water. With chia seeds, they absorb so much water that it ends up turning into a gel-like liquid as the seeds expands, preventing them from breaking down too quickly. This expansion makes you fuller for longer and decreases your food intake, bringing us to our next point.
They may help you with weight loss
It’s not just the fiber that may help you with losing weight. In fact, the numerous grams of protein in the seeds may also help you shed the extra pounds, as protein is also known to reduce appetite and food intake.
Additionally, chia seeds have no gluten, for those follow (or want to follow) a healthier gluten free diet.
They’re full of antioxidants
You probably read in the previous section that there are quite a few antioxidants in chia seeds.
The antioxidants have two roles. The one very obvious role is that they prevent the production of free radicals, which are harmful for the body because they damage cells that cause aging and some diseases.
Another role of the antioxidants in chia seeds is to protect the fats in them from going rancid, therefore making them last longer, even without refrigeration.
They’re a vegan friendly way to consume omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are great for heart health and may even lower blood pressure.
Like flax seeds, chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fats. As a matter of fact, chia seeds have the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids in the plant world. And when you compare them gram by gram with salmon, chia seeds actually contain more omega-3’s.
But the one thing you have to keep in mind is that they not all omega-3 fatty acids are made equal. In fact, some of the omega-3 oils in chia seeds are difficult to break down by the human body, so when comparing them in chia seeds with the ones in salmon, the latter is still superior.
They’re great for bone health
As you might have seen in the previous section, chia seeds contain all these great nutrients that keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy, including calcium, phosphorous and protein.
Chia seeds are also an excellent source of calcium for vegans, anyone lactose intolerant, or generally don’t consume dairy.
They may help maintain healthy blood sugar levels
For anyone suffering from type 2 diabetes, chia seeds may help you manage the amount of sugar in your blood.
After consuming a high-carb meal, your blood sugar tends to rise, but studies show that consuming chia seeds during that meal does have potential in lowering the blood sugar.
They can get rid of acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion
With all these nutrients that aid in better digestion, it’s no surprise that chia seeds can also eliminate and prevent cases of digestive problems, such as heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux.
Ways of Eating Chia Seeds
It’s crazy how much nutritional value there is in just one or two tablespoons of chia seeds. What’s even more exciting is how easy it is to incorporate it into your existing diet. From chia pudding to chia baked goods, there are plenty of ways of eating chia seeds.
Let’s go over some tips on using, cooking, and basically making the most out of chia seeds.
Soak Chia Seeds Whenever Possible
While it’s not totally necessary to soak chia seeds before consumption, here are the two reasons why you should do so anyway:
- They may pose as a choking hazard when eaten dry
- You’ll maximize all the nutritional benefits of chia seeds
Though some people like ground chia seeds to sprinkle over their food, you don’t get as much bang for your buck when they aren’t soaked.
So instead of missing out on all of the goodness that chia seeds have to offer, just soak them before cooking or preparing with them. You can soak them in water for five minutes or up to a few days in the fridge.
You Can Make Chia Water
Want to make a drink that you can bring along with you to work? Oh She Glows has a simple recipe that can help keep your energy up at the office, and possibly even curb your cravings.
Add chia seeds into your smoothies or oatmeal
Love starting your mornings with smoothies? Just remember to soak them overnight before using them the next morning. Or if you’re making overnight oats, all you have to do is add chia seeds into the jar and a little more milk than you normally would in your recipe.
Or make cereal out of chia seeds
Instead of going with conventional boxed cereal, soak chia seeds in milk overnight in the fridge. In the morning, add your favorite fruits and nuts, and maybe add maple syrup or vanilla extract for sweetness.
Make chia pudding
More of a pudding kind of person? Chia pudding is extremely simple to make. According to Feel Good Foodie, all you need to do is soak 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in 1/2 cup of milk of your choice, 1 teaspoon of sweetener of your choice, and fruits as toppings.
Use as an egg substitute in baked goods, pancakes, etc.
Thinking of going vegan? Make the transition a whole lot easier by swapping eggs out with chia seeds. All you have to is soak 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in 2.5 tablespoons of water for at least five minutes, and you’ve got yourself one egg substitute or a chia egg!
Store dry chia seeds properly
Chia seeds can last for years when they’re stored under the right conditions. As long as they’re stored in a sealed bag or container, in a cool, dry place, your chia seeds will last for a very long time.
You may also want to store them in the freezer, if you’re considered about the humidity levels in your house.
Do your research!
There are tons of ways to use chia seeds. You can make protein bars, and even use ground chia seeds in savory foods that require breading! Nutritionists and health bloggers share their recipes online all the time, and all it takes is a quick search to see which ones work best according to your diet.
Our Favorite Chia Seeds Recipe
Out of the recipes out there, our favorite has to be this extremely easy Vanilla and Chia Cupcakes, courtesy of Eighty20 Nutrition. Baking can be pretty intimidating, but this recipe is simple to follow and uses healthy ingredients. It’s even grain free, for those that are gluten-free or watching their carb intake.
Here’s what you need to make 12 chia cupcakes:
- 2 cups of almond flour
- 2 tablespoons of coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup of raw honey
- 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup of coconut oil, melted at room temperature
- Frosting (your choice)
Directions are straightforward. First, preheat your oven to 170ºC. In a medium sized bowl, mix all the dry ingredients. In a big bowl, whip all the wet ingredients until the mixture is light and frothy. Add the dry ingredients to the big bowl a little at a time, gently mixing every time you add the dry mixture. Once all the dry ingredients are fully incorporated, place cupcake liners in your muffin tin. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners, then bake for 25 minutes. Afterwards, let the chia cupcakes cool completely and decorate with frosting on top!
Where to Buy Chia Seeds
Ready to jump start your new health journey? Pretty Me currently has Organic Black Chia Seeds on sale for just ₱100 (originally ₱ 150) for 100 grams. You may purchase a bag directly on our website, or you if you prefer and already have an existing account on Lazada, you can check out the product on our official Lazada page.
Lazada is the nation’s number one online shopping destination with secure online transactions, flexible payment options and reliable delivery services. If there is a digital shopping network you can trust, it’s Lazada.
Pretty Me products in this post:
Organic Black Chia Seeds
Sheena is the lead fashion writer here at Pretty Me Philippines and has contributed articles for numerous lifestyle blogs and online publications. Other than keeping up with the latest trends, she loves baking and home DIY projects.