Chia was one of the main crops of the Aztecs. Aztec emperors were especially fond of it, growing chia on floating gardens around the city. Legend has it that the people were upset with the nobility’s hoarding of the chia seeds. They began to sneak it from the nobility and plant it for themselves. Chia became so popular it was considered legal tender. The emperor’s subjects would pay him taxes in chia seeds! Warriors would use chia seeds for energy, strength and endurance during battles and voyages.
Here are 10 reasons to add Chia Seeds to your diet:
1. Omega 3’s
Chia seeds contain the highest level of omega-3 fatty acids of any plant. Fatty acids serve as an energy source, especially providing us protection from outside sources such as the cold. They make up the cell membranes, protecting our cells by keeping them soft and pliable, and are involved in almost all of our bodily systems. Omega 3’s also help with PMS symptoms, reducing bloating, cramps and aches.
2. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an amazing antioxidant that makes your skin look soft and supple, by protecting against free radicals. It also helps you look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Getting enough Vitamin E may also help scars heal more quickly and fade faster.
3. Protein Powerhouse
Chia seeds are 14% protein by weight, a great source for vegetarians, vegans or those who want to eat less meat. Protein is important for promoting strong muscles and tissues. Protein is also vital for brain health, promoting concentration and attention.
4. Blood Sugar Regulation
Chia seeds slow down how fast your body turns carbs into sugar, stabilizing insulin levels in the body. Eating chia seeds can reduce the risk of insulin resistance and Type II Diabetes.
5. Increases Energy
Studies have found that consuming chia before a workout can enhance your performance in similar ways as a sports drink because of all the electrolytes it contains, but without all of the sugar. Chia seeds provide energy throughout the day, without the crash of coffee or sugar.
6. Helps Digestion
Chia seeds are high in fiber, almost 11 grams in 1 ounce! Fiber helps your digestion by promoting regular bowel movements. When mixed with water, chia turns gelatinous, which can work as a prebiotic, promoting probiotics (the healthy bugs) in your gut, easing gas, bloating and stomachaches.
7. Increases Bone Health
Chia seeds are a great source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorous, all of which are important in keeping bones strong and healthy.
8. Promotes Better Sleep
Chia seeds contain Tryptophan, which leads to the production of Melatonin. Melatonin balances the sleep cycle, promoting restful sleep.
9. Heart Health
Chia seeds have the ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, while also increasing HDL, the “good” cholesterol. They also fight inflammation in the body, all of which can keep your heart free from disease.
10. Weight Loss
Chia can absorb 10x it’s weight in water. All of the fiber in chia helps you to feel fuller for longer and reduces cravings. Studies have also found that regularly consuming chia seeds can reduce belly fat.
Ways To Eat Them
- Sprinkle them on salads
- Make chia pudding
- Place a spoonful in a glass of water with lemon or lime for a detoxifying drink
- Use them as an egg replacement
- Add a spoonful in your oatmeal, pancake batter or smoothies
How do you use chia seeds? What benefits have you seen?