Have you heard of chia seeds? These black seeds may be tiny in structure, but they offer a huge nutritional punch. In fact, chia seeds are some of the healthiest foods on the planet.
Chia is actually the ancient Mayan word for strength. Back in the day, Aztecs and Mayans prized chia seeds for their ability to provide sustainable energy. Today, health experts are beginning to recognize chia seeds as a modern-day super food.
Keep reading to learn about 6 of the incredible health benefits chia seeds offer.
6 Incredible Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
1. Chia Seeds Boast Impressive Amounts of Antioxidants
When it comes to antioxidant content, chia seeds absolutely shine. As you know, antioxidants protect your body from free radical damage that contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. So the more antioxidants you can get into your diet the better.
2. They are Loaded with Fiber
Just one ounce of chia seeds contains 12 grams of carbs, but the cool thing is, 11 of those 12 grams are fiber, which your body doesn’t digest. So though this fiber technically belongs to the carb family, it does not affect your blood sugar as normal carbohydrates and does not require insulin.
As an added bonus, this fiber helps you feel fuller as well as feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut, which helps improve your overall health.
3. Chia Seeds Are High in Quality Protein
Chia seeds are about 14% protein by weight. This is very high compared to other plants. They also offer a good balance of essential amino acids, so your body can easily make use of the protein content.
Since protein has been shown to reduce appetite, including chia seeds into your diet may help with your weight loss goals.
4. Chia Seeds May Lower Your Risk of Developing Heart Disease
Studies have shown that chia seeds have the ability to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. As you know, high blood pressure is a strong risk factor for developing heart disease. By adding chia seeds to your diet, you may help reduce your risk of heart disease.
5. They’re Excellent for Bone Health
Chia seeds are high in several nutrients that are important for bone health including magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. In fact, chia seeds offer 18% of the RDI of calcium in just a single ounce. Gram for gram, that’s almost higher than most dairy product, which is great news for those who are lactose intolerant.
And that magnesium in chia seeds is also important because magnesium helps the calcium get into the bones instead of settling into your soft tissues.
6. Chia Seeds May Help You Reduce Your Blood Sugar Levels
High blood sugar levels are a symptom of untreated type 2 diabetes. Consistently high blood sugar levels can increase your risk of also developing other chronic diseases like kidney and heart disease.
Animal studies have found that chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, stabilizing blood sugar levels after meals. There have been human studies that support this by showing that eating bread that contains chia seeds lowers post-meal blood sugar levels compared to bread that doesn’t include any chia.
Good News – Chia Seeds are Easy to Incorporate into Your Diet!
While chia seeds offer a lot of health benefits, they don’t offer a lot of taste. And in this way, their blandness makes it very easy to add them to all your favorite foods. They also do NOT need to be ground up like flax seeds to receive their benefits, which makes them easy to prepare.
You can simply eat a handful of seeds raw or sprinkle raw seeds onto oatmeal, yogurt or in salads, you can add them to smoothies and baked goods, and even soak them in juice (they’ll turn into a gel). The ways you can use chia seeds are really only limited to your culinary imagination.
We would caution that if you are not used to eating a lot of fiber to take things slow and add just a little bit of seeds to your diet to start, and then increase your dose over time. If you eat too many too fast, you may experience some digestive upset.
A common dosage of chia seeds is 20 grams, twice a day. That comes to roughly 1.5 tablespoons twice a day.
The bottom line is, chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants, protein, and fiber and can help you manage your blood sugar.
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