Chia Seeds: Health Benefits, Nutrition and Guilt Free Desserts

Chia seeds are widely used as the main component in a variety of recipes for nutritious foods, including baked products, protein bars, smoothies, and more.

In the Mayan language, chia means “strength,” and chia seeds were referred to as “runners’ food” since athletes and warriors used them as sustenance while running far distances or fighting.

One ounce of chia seeds provides 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, with only 129 calories and 9 grams of fat. They’re one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which quell inflammation through the body and can help you lose inches of belly fat. Of particular interest by researchers is chia seeds’ high content of alpha-linolenic (ALA) fatty acids. Sixty percent of the oil in chia seeds is from these omega-3 fatty acids. However, available research has been more favorable towards a diet containing omega-3-rich foods rather than on chia seeds alone. 

The seeds’ rich fiber content can suppress appetite and prevent afternoon hangries and midnight snacking. Their unique balance of protein, fats and fiber give you long-lasting energy. Coolest of all: They absorb water, expanding to up to 10 times their weight in liquid, helping you feel full and fueled. (They’re a great pre-workout food.) As chia seeds are digested, they actually release water, keeping you hydrated!

When consumed as a part of a well-balanced, plant-rich diet, the components found in chia seeds may help prevent the onset of a number of chronic illnesses. They are also jam-packed with antioxidants, which are compounds that fight free radical damage and prevent oxidative stress while also promoting tissue repair and protecting against skin damage.

In animal and human studies, omega-3 fatty acids have shown a beneficial effect on cardiovascular health (lowering cholesterol, regulating heart rhythms and blood pressure, preventing blood clots, decreasing inflammation). The fiber in chia seeds is mainly soluble fiber and mucilage, the substance responsible for the gluey texture of moistened chia seeds. These fibers may help to lower LDL cholesterol and slow down digestion, which can prevent blood sugar spikes after eating a meal and promote a feeling of fullness.

Guilt free desserts

Chia pudding – the perfect swap for sugary, processed bread or rice puddings that are loaded with refined carbs and empty calories. 

Try making your own chia pudding with 1/2 cup chia seeds, 2 cups unsweetened almond milk and vanilla extract to taste. You can also add Greek yogurt, and get creative with combinations of fruit and spices like cinnamon–just be sure to avoid too much added sugar.

Peanut Butter Toast with Banana and Chia Seeds – this combination is a must! 

Beside the benefits of chia seeds, bananas are a good source of potassium and fiber, and its flavor pairs well with peanut butter.

We would also like to sneak in a savory snack – Avocado Toast with Cream Cheese and Chia Seeds.

Considering that it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this is a great combo for increased nutritional value. If you are a stranger to avocado toast, you’ve been missing out and you must remedy this situation immediately. 

There are still a lot of recipes waiting for you, so start diversifying your diet today. Take a look here.

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