By Venus Gentile
Do you remember Chia Pets? It is hard to believe that the original Chia Pet debuted in the late 1970s! Whether or not you grew up in this era, most of you have probably heard of the infamous pottery planter that grows a green coat before your very eyes. It was all the rage back then, but little did we know that the same seeds would be available in edible form decades later!
Chia: The Superfood
As the saying goes, "Big things come in small packages." Despite their small size, chia seeds are packed with essential nutrients. The seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica L. and were a significant food crop in Mexico and Guatemala. Cultivated as a food source as early as 3500 BC, Aztec gods offered it in religious ceremonies. In fact, "Chia" is the ancient Mayan word for "strength."
According to the Mordor Intelligence industry report, the chia seed market is projected to reach more than $2 billion in sales by 2022.
Did you know?
- Chia seeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol protecting against heart attacks and strokes.
- They are high in antioxidants and provide iron, fiber, protein, and calcium.
- Chia seeds are a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot make.
- When mixed with water, Chia seeds can replace eggs in vegan cooking.
Coconut Blackberry Chia Pudding
I love to experiment with Chia seeds, and add them to smoothies and use them in healthy baking.
We made this delicious and healthy Chia pudding that is loaded with nutrients and healthy fats!
The fiber content in the seeds gives them the ability to absorb 10-12 times their weight in water!
What are the benefits of Chia seeds?
1. Helps promote weight loss
Chia seeds contain nearly 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon. The seed can also be consumed as a gel when mixed with water. Its soluble fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in your stomach, increasing fullness and slowing the absorption of food. When combined with a real-food-based diet and a healthy lifestyle, Chia seeds may help promote weight loss.
2. Important for bone health
Chia seeds are high in several nutrients that are important for bone health, including calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein. The calcium content is 18% of the RDI in a single ounce - this is higher than many dairy products. As a result, chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who don't eat dairy.
3. Helps reduce blood sugar levels
Studies show that chia seeds may lower the rise in blood sugar after a high-carb meal, possibly benefiting people with type 2 diabetes. Chia seeds seem to slow glucose passage into the blood. In a study of 20 humans with diabetes, Salba's variety of seeds helped participants control blood glucose, reduce blood pressure, and lower C-reactive protein, a significant marker of heart disease risk. The study was published in the journal Diabetes Care.
4. Helps with inflammation
Chia seeds are loaded with flavonols and highly potent antioxidants, and this helps to promote anti-inflammatory responses and cardiovascular health. They also contain a high amount of vitamin A, B, D, E, and trace minerals such as zinc and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals combine to lower blood pressure and lower the risks involved with free radical damage.
5. Lowers your risk of heart disease Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids can decrease the risk for thrombosis and arrhythmias, disorders that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. Omega-3's may also lower LDL (the 'bad cholesterol), total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, reduce atherosclerotic plaque, improve endothelial function, and slightly lower blood pressure.
At Oasis Integrative Medicine, I recommend eating Chia seeds regularly as part of our detoxification program and overall weight loss protocol.
Here's to eating Chia seeds!
Wishing you happiness and VITAL health.
~Dr. Dave, Venus & The Oasis Team
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This blog is for informational purposes only. It is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a licensed, qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.