I don’t like to over-exaggerate the benefits of certain foods. Eg) “Chia Seeds have 8 times more omega-3 than salmon,” “6 times more calcium than milk,” etc. as these percentages are usually based on unrealistic portion sizes. Therefore, it’s important to do your research and not to believe everything you read on the internet. Even though a certain food may be healthy, it’s unwise to go overboard and eat loads of it, like 5 servings of it 5 times a day. It is possible to have too much of a good thing.
That being said, I do include chia seeds in my diet almost every day; usually for breakfast in my oatmeal. Recently, I’ve also been adding them to my water. I think it’s a great way to get some extra nutrients and add texture to your food and drinks. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe that living healthy means having to eat foods you hate or do exercises you dread. So if you don’t enjoy chia seeds, you don’t HAVE to eat them. There are other ways to get your nutrients. But don’t be afraid to try something new, you might be surprised at what you end up enjoying. Even if you decide that you hate it afterwards, at least you tried and now you know! I could go on and on blabbering about this topic, but let’s get to the point of this post! Here are my top 5 reasons to include chia seeds in your diet:
1) Fiber Content
A tablespoon of chia seeds contains about 20% of your daily fiber intake. This helps develop a healthy digestive system, keep you regular and prevent blockages. Yanno what I mean? Not having regular bowel movements can cause you to bloat and retain that belly gut that we all hate. I know this may not be what you wanna hear, but you could literally be full of crap. And to be real with y’all, I usually go to the washroom every morning shortly after breakfast. If I don’t, I know that means I ate something that caused indigestion. IE) A cheat meal the day before. (*Gasp* girls poo??!?!) Yup. #RealTalk.
2) Keeps You Full Longer & Lowers Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The gelling action of chia seeds, combined with its fiber and protein content all contribute to a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. Even when I put just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in my water, I feel full for hours. And 1 tablespoon is only 60 calories! I can see why there are ads saying that chia seeds contribute to weight loss, etc. I don’t completely agree with that, as losing weight is a combination of various things. However, if you find that you’re having constant cravings, chia seeds can help give you a feeling of fullness. Chia seeds also slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars, which helps balance your blood sugar. Thus, lowering your chance for Type 2 Diabetes.
3) Quality Protein
Chia Seeds are a complete protein, which means that it contains all the essential amino acids necessary for humans. Animal meats and fish are the most popular source of complete proteins. However, chia seeds are also a great way to help you achieve your daily protein intake, especially if you are vegan/vegetarian. (But remember variety is key!! Don’t eat chia seeds as your only source of protein…)
4) Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Don’t let the word ‘fat’ scare you, as omega-3s are important for a healthy heart and brain. These fatty acids are usually found in fish; however, if you don’t eat a lot of seafood, then chia seeds are a good way to get in these healthy fats. Another bonus is that you don’t have to worry about mercury poisoning or other contamination associated with seafood.
Chia seeds contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron – all great stuff. Magnesium and iron are especially important for women during our ‘time of month’ to give us energy and generate healthy red blood cells.
See my recipe for 2-Ingredient Chia Seed Pudding here.