Chia seeds have gained in popularity in recent years due to the many health benefits that can be gained by eating them on a regular basis. These seeds can easily be incorporated into your diet by doing things like mixing them into your yogurt at breakfast, adding them to a post-workout smoothie, or including them in a peanut butter sandwich.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are small, edible seeds that come from a desert plant. These seeds date as far back as the Aztec and Mayan cultures; both cultures used them for a boost in energy and health.
Chia seeds can be eaten unprocessed, and they are absorbed into the body more effectively than other seeds, such as flax seed. They are a great source of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds have a pleasant flavor that can be easily added to many dishes.
Major Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
When you start looking at the health benefits of chia seeds, you will find a long list of the ways that chia seeds can have a positive impact on your overall health. Some potential health benefits include:
- Weight loss –Chia seeds are high in fiber and protein, and low in calories. Chia seeds will also help you to feel full and satisfied so that you can avoid overeating.
- Improved digestion – The high fiber content within Chia seeds is believed to help improve digestion in people who consume the seeds regularly.
- Antioxidants – Chia seeds are packed full of antioxidants. These are very beneficial to fight free radical activity within your body which can result in a decreased risk for specific health problems.
- Gut health – Eating Chia seeds can improve your gut health because the fiber within the seeds helps to feed the healthy bacteria in your intestine.
- Immune system – Chia seeds can give your immune system a serious boost as a side effect of balanced gut health consuming the seeds help produce. The immune system is impacted by your gut health, so improving your gut can help you to avoid many types of diseases and illnesses.
- Decreased inflammation – These little seeds are packed with omega-3 essential fatty acids that are crucial for reducing inflammation in the body.
- Stronger bones – Did you know eating chia seeds can improve your bone health? One serving of Chia seeds contains 18 percent of your daily recommended intake of calcium which is beneficial for maintaining good, strong bones.
How to Include Chia Seeds in Your Diet
Because of the delicious taste and versatile properties of chia seeds, they are very easy to incorporate into your diet. Try adding chia seeds to a few different recipes and you will find something that suits your tastes.
You can mix chia seeds in with your morning oatmeal, add them to a smoothie, sprinkle them on a salad, or use them to thicken up a soup. You can also find a number of chia seed recipes online if you are looking for more ways to eat chia seeds each day.
Chia Seed Pudding Recipe
One of the easiest ways to prepare chia seeds is by making a pudding. When chia seeds are used in cooking, they can soak up the water and expand. The texture of soaked chia seeds is similar to tapioca, and you can make a chia/tapioca pudding with just a few simple ingredients:
- 2/3 cups chia seeds
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons shredded coconut flakes
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Add all of the ingredients into the bowl and stir together well. Let the mixture sit on the counter for 15 minutes before stirring again, and then store the pudding in the fridge. Allow the chia seeds to soak in the almond milk mixture for a minimum of 8 hours, or as long as overnight.
If you don’t want the raisins or coconut to get soggy, you can wait to add them until right before it is time to serve the pudding. Sprinkle those ingredients on top right before serving.
Chia seeds make a great addition to most any meal. They’re great for your health, easy to prepare, and delicious to eat.
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