Have you heard of chia seeds? They are fast being known as one of the world’s superfoods – foods that are so packed with nutrients that they offer nothing but good things to the human body when ingested. As well as becoming a popular food among celebrities, the rest of the world and the ‘normal’ people are starting to jump on the bandwagon.
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are originally from South America and come in the form of tiny black seeds. The plant on which it grows is actually a relative of the mint plant, known as Salvia Hispanica.
Back in ancient times, the Mayans and the Aztecs regularly consumed chia seeds, and in fact made up an important part of their diet. For many years, despite the nutritional benefits the food has to offer, the seeds were relatively unheard of or used until the last few years when they seem to have been ‘rediscovered’.
Why are chia seeds so nutritionally valued?
Although these are just tiny little seeds, they pack a very powerful punch. Just 28grams or 1ounce of them contains the following:
- 11 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of protein
- 9 grams of fat (5 grams are Omega-3 fatty acids)
- 18% of your RDA of calcium
- 30% of your RDA of manganese
- 30% of your RDA of magnesium
- 27% of your RDA of phosphorous.
It also contains a number of other vitamins and minerals that are vital for your body including vitamins B2, B1 (also known as Thiamine), B3 (also known as Niacin), potassium and zinc.
Not just that but those 28grams of chic seeds contain just 137 calories and only 1g of what is classed to be ‘digestible’ carbohydrates. This makes it suitable for those on a low-carb diet. This is roughly around two tablespoons of chia seeds.
Not just that but chia seeds are suitable for those following a gluten-free diet, and they’re a ‘whole grain’ food too, usually grown organically.
Chia seeds are good for your insides!
There are so many reasons why chia seeds are considered to be a superfood and the nutritional content is just one of them. Another reason why they are good for the body is because of their high fiber content.
The high fiber content encourages your bowel movements to be as natural and as healthy as they should be, getting rid of waste products and toxins as quickly as possible. In some cases, the seeds can aid with getting rid of waste products that have been held by the body for a while. They also swell up when combined with water meaning you won’t need to eat a lot of them to start to feel full. Because of this one fact alone, you’ll automatically consume fewer calories when you incorporate chia seeds into your meal because you won’t have the room to eat anymore without starting to feel sick.
Nutritional content aside, chia seeds also contain high amounts of things called antioxidants which, over recent years, people have become seemingly obsessed over. These antioxidants are well known to help fight against free radicals which can cause cancer. These free radicals are what causes cell mutations, according to researchers and scientists, so when you eat foods that counteract that, you are reducing the chances that you will suffer with various cancers later on in life. Obviously, more studies need to go ahead to determine how far these reports can go but so far, results seem to be very promising.
With links to reducing the risks of diabetes and heart disease added to the list, and the fact that the many nutrients help with things like bone density and health, improving performance when it comes to working out and the fact that they are easy to add to your diet, chia seeds should play a much higher role in your diet than they currently do.
How to eat chia seeds
One of the easiest ways to incorporate more chia seeds into your diet is to start drinking more smoothies or juices. They are easy to throw into the blender along with other fresh fruits and vegetables, giving you an easy way to eat low-calorie on the move, and they’ll fill you up quicker and for longer, keeping you going right through until lunch when you have one for breakfast as an example.
You can also sprinkle chia seeds on top of other foods including oatmeal or yogurt. Why not look at having yogurt and granola for breakfast, sprinkling some of the seeds into the granola itself? The gelatinous coating of the seeds when they combine with water make them easy to digest so in reality, there are plenty of ways you could consume them.
You can add the seeds to muffins, bread recipes and even with protein shakes pre-workout.
In conclusion, how much chia seeds per day do you need?
You can eat as much of this stuff as you like. As far as dietary restrictions go, they are a pretty healthy superfood so you won’t suffer too much if you overindulge a little. Remember that these are seeds that will swell when they come into contact with water so they will instantly make anything you eat much more filling, and the filling effects will last for longer too.
It is recommend that adults consume around 15 to 20 grams of chia seeds per day.
Children between the ages of 10 to 18 years of age are recommended to consume around 10 to 18 grams of chia seeds per day.
Young children under the age of 10 are recommended to consume under one tablespoon of chia seeds per day.