Remember Chia Pets? Well, it turns out that the little seeds you may have once used to grow fur on a terracotta cat or dog are actually really good for you, particularly if you are into sports and need an energy boost, or want to manage your blood sugar levels. Full of fiber, protein, fatty acids and minerals, chia seeds can be added to a variety of meals to increase their nutritional power, so you can eat healthier without even trying!
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
If it’s any indication, in Mayan, “Chia” means strength. South American people consumed the seeds for energy and it made up a large portion of their diets. A single tablespoon of chia seeds have a whopping 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, as well as a ton of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Chia seeds also have a ton of antioxidants, the most of any superfood (three times more than blueberries) as well as potassium, iron, phosphorus, manganese, and calcium.
Chia seeds help to maintain blood glucose levels, perfect for those looking to manage (or prevent) diabetes. A recent study found that diabetics who regularly consumed Salba (white Chia seeds) had less blood clotting, lower levels of inflammation, and lower blood pressure.
For dieters (or those wanting to maintain a healthy weight) chia added to your diet can help you feel fuller, longer. As the chia seed absorbs water it expands, so it fills you up while still giving you all the nutrition your body needs. Additionally, the nutritional concentration of the chia seed will give you more energy throughout the day, so you don’t feel like hitting the carbs (or sugar) mid-afternoon.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can be added to smoothies and salads and they can also be used to thicken smoothies, puddings, or sauces. Vegans can use chia seeds as an egg replacer – just combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Wait 10 minutes to thicken and then then add the egg-like mixture to your recipe. This replacer is excellent for converting standard recipes to vegan, without losing the taste or texture.
Chia can be added to any meal, without altering the flavor. Better blood sugar, less calorie consumption, and higher nutritional content – chia is the little seed that packs a powerful punch!
Photo: little blue hen
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