Chia Seed – An Easy Win for Health

I’ve discussed a few superfoods in these articles in the past such as coconut oil and quinoa, but one I haven’t addressed yet is Chia. Chia seed is a low-carb, gluten-free ancient grain that’s incredibly healthy, but has no odd taste and will barely be noticed when added to your diet. Chia seeds deserve your attention, because they come with a host of benefits:

  • Makes you feel full due to its unique gelling action
  • Is high in fiber to help with weight loss
  • Helps keep your blood sugar stable
  • Aids digestion and helps prevent diverticulosis/diverticulitis
  • Rich in “good fat“: omega-3 fatty acids
  • High in complete protein
  • Rich amino acid, vitamin, and mineral content
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis
  • Improves blood pressure in diabetics
  • Increases healthy cholesterol (and lowers bad cholesterol)
  • Gives you energy and endurance
  • May help regulate mood and sleep due to high tryptophan content
  • Slows down carbohydrate digestion and prevents blood sugar spikes

Chia Seed is a Superfood

Chia Is the Mayan Word for Strength

Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, a type of mint which grows natively in South America.

You may have heard that Chia seeds were used by Aztec and Mayan warriors as a super – energy food. Warriors would carry a small pouch of Chia into battle. It has also been called “Indian Running Food” because long-distance messengers would eat nothing but Chia as they ran their messages from town to town. Chia is very concentrated nutrition, so a small amount can provide a steady, consistent flow of energy with nothing else required except water.

Chia Gel for Weight Loss

Although studies of Chia seed for weight loss have been limited and inconclusive, there is evidence that Chia has a particularly beneficial effect for diabetes. Since we know that limiting blood sugar spikes and hunger while adding nutrition and fiber are all beneficial to weight loss, Chia seems like a good call for healthy nutrition when you’re trying to lose weight.

Chia can be added directly to foods and smoothies, but it’s even more effective nutritionally if you create Chia Gel.

Simply add one third of a cup of Chia seed (2 ounces) to 2 cups of water. Stir well, and leave it in a sealed container in your fridge. The gel will be ready to eat within 10 minutes, and can be stored for up to three weeks.

Many Ways to Eat It

Chia Seed PuddingAdd a few tablespoons of gel to soups, smoothies, juices, oatmeal, granola, salad dressings, pudding, salsa, dips, sauces, almond milk, or even to drinking water. Chia has no taste of its own, but because it has the ability to hold so much water (especially as Chia Gel), it seems to enhance the flavor of whatever it is added to.

You can even eat Chia Gel plain – a few tablespoons 15 minutes before each meal will significantly reduce your appetite and help prevent overeating. It’s not terribly attractive on its own, so mixing it with a bit of chopped fruit or juice or greek yogurt will definitely make it more visually appealing.

Chia offers an easy way to increase fiber and omega-3’s in your diet, which is very important for weight loss. One ounce (28 g) of Chia seed contains 11 g of dietary fiber, plus 5 g of omega-3 fatty acids. By weight, that’s the highest omega-3 content in nature, more omega-3 than salmon, and it certainly has no fishy aftertaste!

Chia Seeds at a Glance

By weight:

  • 40% fiber
  • 14% protein
  • 18% omega-3 fatty acids

By RDA based on one ounce (28 g):

  • 137 cal (101 cal if you subtract fiber)
  • 1 g of digestible carbohydrate
  • 18% of the RDA of calcium
  • 30% of the RDA of manganese
  • 30% of the RDA of magnesium
  • 27% of the RDA of phosphorus

Chia seeds also contain good amounts of zinc, iron, potassium, niacin (vitamin B3), folate (vitamin B9), , thiamine (vitamin B1), and riboflavin (vitamin B2).

How to Buy Chia Seed

Chia is becoming commonly available in health food stores and even in grocery stores. Generally you’re best to buy Chia seed whole, as it does not need to be ground (like flaxseed) in order to be digested. Preground Chia seed will not last as long, as it contains healthy fats which may become rancid over time when exposed to oxygen.

If you can’t find Chia seed locally, it’s easy to purchase online from Amazon or other vendors. Because Chia seed is rich in antioxidants, whole Chia seeds stored at room temperature will last up to two years.

Lose Belly Fat and Look Great Free eBook

, , , , ,

6 Responses to Chia Seed – An Easy Win for Health

  1. HunkyDoire May 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

    Wow, I never heard of this…you learn something new every day, I guess! Even spending 5 years eating a completely Vegan diet, I never read about the benefits of eating chia seeds. It sounds like a relatively easy addition to a diet that can make a significant difference. I will definitely be picking some up on my next trip to the co op!

  2. Tevita Apina May 6, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    I looked into this Chia seed business. After reading your artical, I’m wondering how can you tell if Chia seed is really organic or if it’s processed? I’m from Hawai`i and here we have Don Quijote super market and it specializes in Asian foods… anyway…
    Usually they have a 2 for $5 sale on bags of Chia Seeds. I’m trying to loose weight, and I heard they were great for weight loss if you add them to foods and drinks. I did not loose a single thing. Is it because the Chia seeds were processed and not completely natural / Organic.

    To put it easier: Does Chia seeds really help with weight loss or is it just a weight loss aid like eating Ice Cubes to fill yourself up or drinking a glass of water before eating?

    • DrBruce May 7, 2015 at 9:55 am #

      Most Chia seed is organic, simply because spraying isn’t usually required on it when it’s grown as a crop. If you want to make sure, of course, you should look for the packaging to say organic. There’s no GMO Chia seed, so that’s not an issue (as yet).

      Chia seed on its own won’t magically create significant weight loss. If you have cleaned up your diet and are making the lifestyle changes necessary for weight loss, then the extra fiber and reduced hunger from Chia should certainly help you on your way. In your terms, it’s an aid – but aids do really help, they just don’t do the job on their own. If you’re still drinking pop and eating fast food, for example, don’t expect Chia seed to help much.

      Good luck with your weight loss.

  3. dawnolsen June 4, 2015 at 3:27 pm #

    I have heard of adding Chia seeds to smoothies but I did not know much about it. The Benefits of this seed are amazing! I often have a problem sustaining energy throughout the day because I do not eat enough. I think I will look into Chia seeds and start adding them to my oatmeal at breakfast.

    • DrBruce June 4, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

      Chia seed really is amazing, yes!

  4. Brandon Roberts November 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    Wow, I never would have thought that organic chia seeds could have so many health benefits. My wife is trying to loose weight, but she isn’t sure what else she could be doing to help. That being said, I definitely think that if she were to implement chia seeds in her diet, that they would help her out a ton! Thanks for making me aware of this.

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On LinkedinCheck Our Feed