Sunday, September 30, 2018

What are Chia Seeds, Health Benefits of Chia Seeds | The Ultimate Beginner's Guide - Health and Fitness City

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are small, round seeds that originated as far back as Aztec times in Mexico and South America, although much of the commercial 
chia seed crop is now grown in Australia as well. These seeds come in black and white colors, although there is little nutritional difference between each color. This seed is actually related to the mint family, and according to Aztec legend, chia literally meant “strength,” as these seeds fueled the Aztec warriors through long days of battle. Chia seeds have surged in popularity since the early 2000s, after spending the 1980s and ’90s mostly known via the tchotchke Chia Pet, which sprouts the seeds on a terra cotta animal or celebrity. These are also sometimes known as Salba seeds, so if you see that label, you are looking at chia seeds!

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Nutrient Density
Nutrient dense foods contain rich amounts of nutrients per calorie. Chia seeds may be especially beneficial, given their content of a mix of vitamin and minerals as well as all three needed macronutrients, in the form of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat.

High in Fiber
Most Americans consume too little fiber, reported the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. One ounce of chia seeds provides a whopping 9.8 grams of fiber, going a long way toward the recommended 25 to 38 grams per day for adults age 50 or younger or 21 to 30 grams per day for adults over age 50.

Heart-Healthy Omega-3s
Nearly all of the fat in chia seeds are of the healthy, unsaturated variety. Five of the about 9 grams per serving are omega-3 fats. Consumed regularly, this fat form is linked with a lower risk for cardiovascular problems such as arrhythmias and blocked arteries.

Rich in Calcium
Chia seeds don’t get as much attention for their calcium content, but they're a rich source. One ounce supplies about 180 milligrams, or 18 percent of the recommended daily allowance. This is about equal to the amount you get from 8 ounces of milk.

A Good Source of Iron
Most adults need 8 to 18 milligrams of iron daily. (If you menstruate, particularly heavily, you’ll be on the higher end.) One ounce of chia seeds provides over 2 milligrams of iron, which allows oxygen-rich blood to flow through your body and to your brain.

Valuable Electrolytes
Chia seeds provide minerals that serve as electrolytes in your body, producing a charge that helps your muscles and heart function normally. The seeds are particularly good sources of magnesium, providing 95 milligrams per one-ounce serving. They also provide moderate amounts of potassium.

A Good Source of B-Vitamins
B-vitamins play important roles in metabolism and cardiovascular health. Chia seeds provide numerous B-vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. At 2.5 milligrams of niacin per ounce, chia seeds can help you meet the daily recommended 14 to 16 milligrams.

Appetite Control
Chia seeds can improve appetite control in a couple of different ways. The fiber and protein they provide promotes blood sugar control, keeping your appetite and energy levels more stable between meals. They also absorb fluid when they’re added to beverages, which may make them even more satisfying.

Good for “Picky” Eaters
Chia seeds don’t have much flavor, so you can add them to dishes without worrying that the taste will change. This makes the seeds helpful for adding nutrients such as omega-3s and fiber to dishes for someone who has especially sensitive tastebuds or has trouble eating enough nutritious foods such as fish or vegetables.

Weight Loss and Cholesterol Benefits
A study published Nutricion Hospitalaria in 2015 linked chia seed with doing away with excess pounds. Eating the seeds daily for 12 weeks promoted significant weight reduction, particularly in obese participants. Participants also experienced improved cholesterol health.

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