If you’ve never tried chia seeds, it’s fair to say you’ve been missing out! Chia seeds are packed with nutritional value and are incredibly simple to add to your diet.
Chia seeds originate from the salvia hispanica plant in Central America and were traditionally used in the ancient Aztec diet! In recent years, chia seeds have made a resurgence because of the wide range of health benefits they can offer and how easy they are to add to your daily diet.
Let’s look at some of the specific benefits and discover why so many people are turning to chia seeds for an extra boost of nutrients.
Offer A Range of Nutrients
Often considered a superfood, it’s argued that chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods on the planet, which is because they are filled with a range of nutrients and contain a low number of calories.
Chia seeds contain fibre, protein, fat, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2 & B3 – a large range of vital nutrients that the body needs. Importantly, the fats in chia seeds are mostly made up of essential fatty acids and they only contain 137 calories per serving (28g). Calorie for calorie, chia seeds are one of the world’s best sources of important nutrients.
An excellent plant-based source of protein, chia seeds are around 14% protein and contain a solid balance of essential amino acids. If you choose not to get your protein from animal-based products, chia seeds are an excellent alternative and contain a higher amount of protein when compared to other plants.
Out of the 12 grams of carbohydrates found in chia seeds, 11 grams are made up of fibre, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. Chia seeds are thought to be one of the best sources of fibre in the world, with 40% of their weight being made up of fibre.
High in Omega-3
Chia seeds are an excellent natural source of omega-3 fatty acids and they contain more omega-3s gram for gram when compared to salmon. Whilst chia seeds are a great plant-based source of omega-3s, they mostly contain ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), whereas the essential EPA and DHA omega-3’s tend to be found in animal sources such as oily fish. However, a combination of chia seeds and plant-based food supplements such as Cleanmarine V-Good can give you a combination of all the essential omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs.
Beneficial for Bone Health
As previously mentioned, chia seeds contain a variety of important nutrients. Many of these nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, protein, and phosphorus are vital for our bone health.
Chia seeds have been associated with having a high bone mineral content and are starting to be considered one of the most beneficial foods for bone health by many people. Part of the reason for this is because the calcium content of a single serving of chia seeds is particularly impressive. One serving of chia seeds (28g) contains 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium and can be a fantastic alternative for those who don’t consume dairy.
Filled with Antioxidants
Another key benefit of chia seeds is the high antioxidant content that they contain.
Antioxidants can help fight off free radicals in the body and prevent cell damage caused by oxidation. Food’s rich in antioxidants can help to improve immune responses and help to maintain a good level of health. Chia seeds are an easy way to get food with antioxidant properties incorporated into your daily diet.
How to Get Chia Seeds into Your Diet
The great thing about chia seeds is that they are incredibly simple to get into your diet. Whilst the seeds themselves don’t have much of a taste, you can still eat them on their own if you fancy a fairly bland snack!
However, chia seeds can be easily added to a variety of meals and other snacks. Chia seeds go well with porridge, smoothies and several puddings, with an Inspired Health favourite being Peanut Butter & Jelly Chia Pudding Parfaits; when the chia seeds are soaked they absorb liquid, which changes their texture and makes them even better. If you don’t have time to soak them, they can just be sprinkled on top of cereal, rice, vegetables, or yoghurt for a simple nutritional boost.
There’s no shortage of meals you can make with chia seeds, and they will add nutritional value to any food you mix them with. As far superfoods go, chia seeds are great because they are so simple to include in your diet. If you aren’t already regularly eating them, you should start doing so and reap the benefits!