What Are Chia Seeds and Why Should You Eat Them?

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Chia SeedsChia seeds are one of the most popular super foods on the market today, and with good reason. These versatile seeds are affordable, easy to cook with, tasty, and packed full of nutrients.

The Benefits Of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds were first grown by the Aztecs in ancient times as a crop that they would use to feed themselves while they were on long marches. The seeds are a great source of slow-release energy thanks to their high essential fatty acid content. The Aztecs were able to march for days at a time on the sustenance that the seeds would provide for them.

Today, most people don’t need the kind of calorie-dense sustenance that the seeds provide, but they are still a valuable source of other nutrients. The essential fatty acids are useful for hormone production, and the protein in the seeds is good for muscle growth and repair. The seeds are a good source of dietary fibre, which is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

Chia seedsIn addition to these macronutrients, chia seeds are a good source of calcium, magnesium and zinc. This means that they promote healthy teeth and bones, and can have a beneficial effect on the immune system too.

That’s not a bad set of benefits for some simple seeds that you can sprinkle on to everything from your breakfast cereal to your evening side salad.

How Long Do Chia Seeds Stay Fresh For?

Unlike so many other popular super foods, Chia seeds are long-lasting and easy to store. If you buy fresh seeds and keep them in a cool, dry place, or in your refrigerator, you should find that the seeds stay good for several months. The seeds are quite hydrophilic, however, so you must take care not to let them get damp.

A chia seed can hold as much as twelve times its own weight in water. In fact, this is one reason that people like to add them to smoothies. The seeds bulk up well and their high fiber content means that they are quite filling. So, if you are on a calorie restricted diet and find yourself feeling hungry all the time, eating some Chia seeds could help you to resist the urge to snack.

chia seedsA one ounce serving of chia seeds will provide you with 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and nine grams of fat.

In addition, it will give you 18% of your RDA of calcium, 27% of your RDA of phosphorus and 30% of your RDA of magnesium and manganese.

This makes chia seeds a good option for people who are vegan and struggle to get calcium from other sources.That one ounce serving of Chia seeds contains 137 calories in total, but your body will not be able to digest all of the fiber. If you ignore the fiber on the assumption that it will not turn into useable calories, then you are taking in only 101 calories per serving of seeds.

This means that chia seeds are ideal for people who are on a diet. Add in the fact that they are usually organically grown and GMO free, and do not contain any gluten, and you have a food that almost everyone can enjoy, and that has numerous clear and proven health and wellness benefits.

How to Cook With Chia Seeds

You can add chia seeds to almost any meal. They make a good addition to breakfast cerals and museli, and they can be mixed in with yogurts to provide some bulk. They can also be sprinkled on salads to add some interesting texture to them.

chia seeds mixedBecause the seeds have a mild flavor they can be mixed with almost anything. You can add them to a coconut curry in the place of some other more calorie dense seeds, and you could add them to stir fries or stews as well.

Their mild taste means that even if the other members of your household aren’t as interested in healthy eating as you are, they probably wouldn’t notice that the seeds are in there. So you can sneak some essential nutrients into your home cooked meals without causing arguments!

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