Weekly Meal Plan – 4/17/15 – Benefits of Chia seeds

benefits of chia seeds
Ch-ch-ch-ch-chia seeds are popular. Maybe not as popular as they were in the 1980s when they transformed ordinary houseplants into pseudo-pets, but they are making a comeback. This time, though, as a super food. Who knew the pottery that grows also could be good for a person? Chia seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant and are naturally gluten-free and non-GMO, which makes them pretty much a Paleo superfood. Here are some more benefits of chia seeds.

Benefits of Chia Seeds

There has been much debate in the paleo/primal world on whether chia seeds are ok. I don’t have a particular position, I just want to share with you all the benefits of chia seeds. If you want to read another expert opinion, here is what the Primal God Mark Sisson had to say.

  • Chia seeds are ancient. Chia seeds were an important staple food in ancient Mayan and Aztec cultures. In fact, it is believed that “chia” was the Mayan word for “strength.”
  • Chia seeds are high in fiber and protein. Each ounce (approximately 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. By weight, chia seeds are actually 14% protein, which is higher than the protein content in many other plant food sources.
  • Chia seeds are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Just one ounce (approximately 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds contains 30% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of manganese and magnesium, 18% of the RDA for calcium, and 27% of the RDA for phosphorus. Chia seeds also contain zinc, potassium, niacin, thiamine, Vitamins B1 and B2, and many more vitamins and minerals.
  • Chia seeds are rich in anti-oxidants. Chia seeds are high in anti-oxidants, which fight free radicals and help safeguard the body from toxins, aging, and certain diseases, like cancer. Some research even suggest that chia seeds have even more anti-oxidants than blueberries.
  • Chia seeds help to regulate blood sugar. Due to their high fiber content, chia seeds help to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals and to regulate insulin production by the body.
  • Chia seeds can be consumed whole. Unlike flaxseeds, which must be ground in order to obtain their nutrients, a person can consume whole chia seeds and still receive their nutrients and health benefits. However, due to the fact that chia seeds can be consumed whole, they are sometimes labeled as “whole grain,” which is inaccurate as they are a seed from the Salvia hispanica plant and not a grain.
  • Chia seeds can be made into a natural sports drink. Store bought sports drinks typically contain corn syrup (usually GMO), food dyes, as well as a whole host of other additives and chemicals. To avoid this and create a healthier version at home, just add a tablespoon of chia seeds to several cups of coconut water to make a sports drink to fuel your performance. Since chia seeds absorb more than 12 times their weight in liquid, they also help to keep a person hydrated during workouts.
  • Chia seeds help a person to feel full. Chia seeds have a satiating effect due to their high protein and fiber contents. In addition, their ability to form a gel when mixed with liquids, which slows the absorption of food in the stomach, also helps to reduce a person’s appetite.
  • Chia seeds can be used as an egg-replacement in baking recipes. Combine 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes for each egg to be replaced in a recipe. Chia seeds are great substitutes for those with egg allergies. However, chia seeds should not be used as an egg replacement (and should be avoided completely) by those who follow an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) lifestyle. This is one of my favorite recipes that uses Chia Seeds as a replacement, Apple mug muffins.
  • Chia seeds have a long shelf life. Due to their high amounts of anti-oxidants, which help protect the fats in chia seeds from going rancid, they have a shelf life of up to two years when stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
  • Chia seeds are easy to incorporate into a diet. Chia seeds have a slight nutty flavor, which makes it easy to incorporate them into many different kinds of food. Chia seeds can be added to granola, mixed into smoothies, used to thicken sauces and gravies, used to replace breadcrumbs in meatballs and meatloaf, sprinkled on top of salads and vegetables, and made into pudding and cereal just to name a few!

So how do you start reaping the benefits of chia seeds? The first place to start is ensuring you get the highest quality chia seeds that you can. Thrive market carries both black and white chia seeds that are all non-gmo.

I personally incorporate chia seeds into my diet and love reaping the benefits. My advice is that if you can tolerate them, and you enjoy the results then jump in and start using them. What’s great is you don’t need to worry about them going bad. Like we stated above, they last up to two years if stored correctly.

benefits of chia seeds

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