Monday, September 30, 2013

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

There's been a lot of hype about chia seeds lately. What are they? What are the health benefits? How the heck do you eat them?!

Let's jump into the research and see what these seeds can do for you!

What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds come from the desert plant "Salvia hispanica,"which is grown in Mexico.  They are powerful antioxidants that fight off free radicals in the body.

Fun fact: the word "chia" means strength and these tiny seeds were thought to be great energy boosters.

Health Benefits
Chia seeds are an excellent source of:
 -Omega-3 Fatty Acids (4,915mg per 1oz.); help to improve brain health and decrease inflammation in    the body.
 -Protein (4g per 1oz.); energy source; needed for muscle and blood formation.
 -Fiber (11g per 1oz.); helps improve digestive function; decreases inflammation in the body.
 -Calcium (18% of Daily Value in 1oz.); needed to keep bones healthy and prevent osteoporosis.
 -Phosphorus (27% of Daily Value in 1oz.; ); aids in energy metabolism; also needed for bone health.
 -Zinc (7% of Daily Value in 1oz.); boosts immune function.
 -Manganese (30% of Daily Value in 1oz.); essential mineral needed for bone formation; helps your body use essential B vitamins.

Research has shown chia seeds to help improve blood lipid levels (decreasing LDL and triglyceride levels) and decrease blood sugar spikes by slowing digestion.

How to Eat
There are many ways to eat chia seeds. They can be eaten raw (sprinkled on salads, cereal, sauces, vegetables, yogurt), baked in dishes (breads, muffins, etc), or  mixed with water to form a gel (good as an egg substitute).

To Use As An Egg Substitue
-Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Granola With Chia Seeds
-Combine: 1 cup oats, 2 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread evenly onto a sprayed baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes.

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