Why Are Chia Seeds a Superfood?
Chia seeds are becoming one of the most popular superfoods — for many good reasons. They are virtually tasteless, easy-to-digest (when prepared properly), super nutrient dense, and full of energy-boosting power. The latest research has even linked chia seeds to reversing type 2 diabetes! That’s right, reversing it!
Originally from Mexico, chia seeds were so highly valued for their medicinal properties and nutritional value, that they were even used as money.
Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. Aztec warriors were known to use chia seeds to give them high energy and endurance, especially during battles. Chia was also nicknamed “runners’ food” because runners used chia seeds as fuel to run long distances. It has been reported just 1 spoonful of chia could sustain them for 24 hours.
4 REASONS CHIA SEEDS ARE A SUPERFOOD
1. SUPER ANTIOXIDANTS
Chia seeds contains many different phytochemicals, each with unique benefits, including myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.
2. PLANT-BASED OMEGA 3
Chia seeds have a high concentration of the plant-based omega-3 essential fatty acids (the word essential is used to describe substances we can’t get from outside sources). These essential fatty acids are part of cell membranes and play a role in heart health, the health of your cellular and artery walls, and more. Up to 60 percent of the oil that is found in chia seeds is comprised of omega-3s.
3. PLANT-BASED PROTEIN
Chia is a “complete protein” – which means that it contains all nine essential amino acids, which is incredibly rare for a plant-based source of protein. Yes, please!
Chia is about 37% fiber! That’s incredible. Around 20% is soluble fiber and 80% is insoluble fiber. You need them both for a healthy digestive tract, heart health, and blood sugar control. The gel-forming action and fiber of chia seeds slows down carbohydrate-to-sugar digestion, which stabilizes blood sugar, provides slow releasing energy, reduces cravings, and helps you feel full longer.
Soak Chia Seeds Before You Eat Them
It is best to soak chia seeds to “sprout” them and break down “enzyme inhibitors” that protect the seed. One, this makes it much easier to digest, and two, your body can then access the dense nutrients inside the seeds. In my opinion, you always want to get the most nutrition possible from any food that you eat, so I prefer soaking chia seeds before adding them to my food. Here’s easy instructions how.
Recipes to Try
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IMPORTANT NOTE: Just like with flax seed, due to the omega-3 rich seeds, chia seeds can go rancid quickly. It is important to store them in a sealed, glass container in your refrigerator or freezer.
Join the conversation! What are your favorite ways to eat chia seeds? Share them in the comments below.
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