Part of my routine is to have a smoothie for breakfast at least a few times a week. My smoothies tend to have about 4 to 6 ingredients. They tend to either be fruit or green smoothies. In addition, I use a plant-based milk or water, a vegan protein powder and chia seeds. It was just recently, that I was reminded of the wonderful benefits of Chia Seeds.
In addition to using Chia in my smoothie, I use it as an egg substitute in baked goods. I also use Chia seeds to make pudding. I’ve read that you can ground them add them to drinks, and to thicken soups and gravies. The seeds can be sprouted and put on salads.
Yes, in case you are wondering chia seeds are the very seeds used to make chia pets. Remember those?
What are Chia Seeds?
The formal name of the Chia plant is Salvia hispanica. It is a species in the mint family and is native to Central America. According to history the Aztec and Mayan civilizations used the seeds for many purposes including diet and health. The seeds of this herb are known as chia seed. The seeds are oval and gray with black and white spots. They are packed with nutrients, have the unique ability to gel and can absorb over 10x their weight in liquid. Chia seeds are high in easily digestible protein, soluble fiber, and antioxidants.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
Found on healthline.com, here are 5 science supported health benefits of chia seeds:
Highly nutritious – a 2 tablespoon serving contains 4.7 grams of protein, 9.8 grams of fiber, 12 to 23% of the daily value of calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamins B1 and B3, and 5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid.
Antioxidants – the seeds are loaded with antioxidants that keep the seeds from going rancid and that property benefits our health by neutralizing reactive molecules known as free radicals that can damage cell compound if they build up in our body. The antioxidants in chia protects our liver and heart and has some anticancer properties.
Protects our heart – Chia seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease likely due to the fiber and the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) they contain.
Provides bone health – The calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and ALA have all been linked to improved bone mineral density which is an indicator of bone strength.
May reduce blood sugar levels – Some studies in animals have show that chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity. This might help stabilize blood sugar levels after meals.
In closing, chia seeds are a good addition to add to your diets. It is so easy to incorporate them into your diet. With anything new, always consult with your doctor prior to making changes especially if you take medications.