2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds A Day: What it Can do For You
CHIA: THE TINY SEED WITH MASSIVE BENEFITS
Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain.
Don’t be fooled by the size; these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.
- 5 x the omega-3 content of a 1/4-cup serving of walnuts
- Twice the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach
- As much calcium as a half-cup of milk
- As much potassium as serving of banana
- More than twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal
Chia contains twice more potassium than bananas. It is particularly ideal for people with hypertension and heart disease.
Why is potassium so important for our body?
Potassium enables your heart to beat. It helps trigger your heart to squeeze blood through your body, and it helps establish stable blood pressure. Potassium also helps your muscles to move, your nerves to work, and your kidneys to filter blood.
There are lots of foods that are high in potassium like bananas, papayas, prunes, mangos, kiwis, oranges and melons. But they are also high in sugar. Chia seeds are ideal for diabetics and people who need to control their weight and sugar content.
Researchers from Mexico uncovered that chia seeds had a total natural phenolic (antioxidants) concentration nearly two times higher than previously reported, and the antioxidant activity was shown to stop up to 70 percent of free radical activity.
This research essentially proves that chia seeds are one of nature’s riches high-antioxidant foods. Antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems and prevent further damage. Taking chia seeds can prevent premature skin aging due to inflammation and free radical damage.
Chia is super-high in fiber, providing nearly 11 grams per ounce. One serving can provide the recommended fiber intake for the day, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Fiber is essential for your body’s ability to balance insulin levels. According to the National Institutes of Health, seeds like flax and chia can be a natural blood sugar balancer due to their high fiber content and healthy fats.
Being high in dietary fiber, chia seeds benefits bowel regularity and healthy stool. The rich fiber content in chia seeds also helps people feel more full quicker because it absorbs a considerable amount of water and immediately expands in the stomach when eaten. This may explain why clinical studies have proved that chia curbs hunger and suppresses appetite, which can also lead to weight loss.
Also when consumed, chia seeds create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach. This gel-forming action is due to the soluble fiber in chia seeds, and it can work as a prebiotic that supports the growth of probiotics in the gut.
Chia seeds are full of calcium. There are 233 milligrams in a 3-tablespoon serving, which is almost the same amount of calcium as found in 1 cup of milk (299 milligrams). Adults should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, and a serving of chia is a great, dairy-free source of this mineral.
You need iron to form red blood cells and carry oxygen throughout your body. Eating 2 tablespoons of chia seeds gives you 2.2 milligrams of iron, or 12 percent of the DV.
Chia seeds also rank among the top plant-based sources of protein. This is another reason this super seed is great to consume for those trying to put on lean muscle, burn fat and balance blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds pack a powerful antioxidant punch to help replace some of those nutrients lost when exercising. They’re high in essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron and niacin.
One of the characteristics that make chia seeds so unique is they can absorb up to 10 times their own weight in water. Because of this, chia seeds can prolong hydration and improve nutrient absorption of electrolytes. This also slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer, reducing sugar cravings.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include low energy, anxiety, tension, heart palpitations, high blood pressure, diabetes, inflammation, migraines and constipation. Fluoride in drinking water binds to magnesium in the body, preventing it from being absorbed properly. Some specialists even fear our modern farming is depleting the mineral content in soil, resulting in crops with lower then normal magnesium levels. Alcohol consumption has a detrimental effect on magnesium levels as well by lowering the minerals availability to the body’s cells. All these reasons combined have set a growing number of Americans up to experience the many symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
This where our tiny little super-seed comes into play! Few foods on the planet are higher in magnesium then chia seeds. In fact, chia contains 335mg of magnesium in 100g serving (28g=1oz ; 100g=4oz ; 4oz=8tbs). If you eat chia seeds on a regular basis, consuming 4 TBS a day, that’s half of the RDA for magnesium! To compare, consider that leafy greens like spinach are also considered a good source of magnesium. One cup of raw spinach has about 25mg of magnesium. Basically you will need 6.5 cups of spinach to give you the same magnesium value as 4 TBS of chia seeds.
The name chia comes from the Aztec word for ‘oily’, which is ‘chian’, and this explains well what one of the main benefits of chia is; it is very high in omega-3 acids, which are a type of unsaturated fat.
It’s easy to get mixed up between omega-3 and omega-6. Basically, omega-3 acids are the fats which are not so easy to come by. They’re in fish oils, flax seeds, kiwi seeds, and chia seeds, among other things. Omega-6, on the other hand, is found almost everywhere you look: nuts, vegetable oils, avocadoes, etc. As important as omega-6 oils are to our health, the balance of omega-3 to omega-6 is equally important.
*Blueberry Chia Seed Smoothie Recipe*
- 2 cups raw milk or coconut milk
- 1 cup frozen, organic blueberries
- 1 oz (about 2 tbsp) chia seeds
- handful fresh greens of choice (optional)
- splash of vanilla extract