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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Clean Eat Education: Chia Seeds - Big Benefits from a Little Seed!

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Do you know what a chia seed is? If you have heard it before, you are probably familiar with Joseph Enterprises' Chia Pet.. Ch..Ch..Cha..Chia! Did you know you can eat chia seeds and they are fabulous for your health?


What are chia seeds?
Chia is actually a flowering plant, grown commercially, which is in the mint family. (Imagine that!) It is native to Mexico and Guatamala. 

What are the health benefits to consuming chia seeds? Chia seeds are wonderful for you! See below...
  • Great source of Omega-3. Infact, chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega-3, which protects against inflammation and heart disease. Studies have found that chia seeds contain more Omega-3 than similar servings of salmon!
  • Assist in controlling blood sugar. Important for diabetics and dieters, blood sugar regulation can be tricky. Since chia seeds slow the conversion of carbs into simple sugars, they help to regulate blood sugar levels in the body.
  • Help promote weight loss. Chia seeds help promote weight loss by blocking the body's absorption of some (not all - we wish!) of the calories ingested when you eat.
  • Keep you feeling fuller, longer. What weight loss pill or new diet craze hasn't cited feeling fuller longer as a benefit? Why spend extra money on pills that you have no idea what the content of them are when you can eat something natural and scientifically tested? Chia seeds absorb approximately 8-10x their weight in water, turning to a gelatinous texture. This takes your body a little longer to digest and keeps your metabolism in that fat burning zone.
  • Helps stave off dehydration. As mentioned earlier, chia seeds can absorb 8-10x their weight in water. When the gelatinous gel is consumed, the body breaks down the chia seed gel and uses the water in the gel for important body functions.
  • Increases Energy Levels. As a good source of plant protein, with just at 4g per one ounce serving, chia seeds help maintain proper metabolism levels through the breakdown of protein, leaving you less tired.
  • High in Antioxidants. Looking for the next beauty remedy to keep your skin looking flawless. Keep eating your blueberries, but add in those chia seeds! Chia seeds are so high in antioxidants that no chemicals or preservatives are needed to maintain their freshness for 2 years at room temperature! Hello younger looking skin and a more youthful you! Talk about a power food!
  • Lowers Blood Pressure. With the high fiber content (11g of it's 12g of carbs in just a one ounce serving) in chia seeds, adding a daily serving of chia seeds can help to reduce blood pressure.
  • Helps Prevent Digestion Diseases such as Diverticulitis. Again, the fiber content in 1g of chia seeds is a huge benefit. As you digest the chia seeds, their movement and absorption throughout your body helps to keep your colon hydrated, thus helping to prevent certain digestion diseases.
How can I eat chia seeds?
It doesn't matter how you prepare the chia seeds, you will reap their benefits. Chia seeds can be eaten raw and in their natural form, gelled with water or juice (just be careful of the sugar content), added to baked goods including breads, muffins, cereals, added to puddings, shakes, protein powders, or just sprinkled on your favorite salad or meal. They are relatively tasteless, although they may have a faint nutty taste.

What is a suggested serving?
1 to 1.5 oz daily

What is the nutritional content of 1.5g of Chia Seeds?
205.5 calories, 108 calories from fat
13.5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat
0g cholesterol
7.5mg sodium
18g carbohydrates, 16.5g fiber, 0 sugars
6g protein
Vitamin A - 0%, Vitamin C - 0%, Calcium - 27% (Wow!), Iron - 0%

Where can I buy Chia Seeds?
You can buy chia seeds at most health food retailers. Additionally, if you plan to have them on a daily basis, you can take advantage of Amazon's auto-ship feature on chia seeds. Below are a few varieties and price points to choose from.




Go Forth and Go for the Chia!
Tiffany

Informational Sources:
Top 10 Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds - http://www.mychiaseeds.com/Articles/Top10ChiaBenefits.html
Salvia Hispanica, Chia Seeds - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_hispanica

12 comments:

  1. Interesting things you post in here! Some of them I didn`t knew.

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    1. Nicole, We are glad you learned something!

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  2. Care with chia seeds as they have caused bowel obstruction...one seed lodged in the colon can be very serious. My 24 yr old son spent 4 days in hospital on IV flush and morphine for pain until seed was flushed ... Otherwise surgery. A short while later another friend's 21 yr old son had same issue. Neither guys know each other and both are health/fitness & clean living young men. Coincidence is that mothers' are colleagues and found out thru conversation of sons' mutual hospitalizations on separate occasions. Just be cautious.

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    Replies
    1. I know a guy that knows a guy.... well that guy knows a guy that said this is dangerous.

      By the way I will post anonymously...

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    2. Anonymous, We are so sorry to hear that! We suggest that you use only the recommended amount of chia seeds and do not eat them in bulk!

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  3. unfortunately just like everything else we consume that had seeds it has the possibility to cause a BO.

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    1. We are unaware of this. We will check into it.

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  4. How do you substitute these into a recipe?

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    1. Ground chia seeds and ground flax can be substituted for egg whites. Additionally, you can add chia seeds to smoothies.

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  5. 205 calories is almost a meal....suggestions on how do fit it in my daily cal intake?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jenn! I would add them to your protein shakes. Many shakes are about 180 calories, so this would go well!

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  6. I recently came across a recipe for "chia fresca" which is just water, chia seeds, lemon juice and a touch of sweetener. Though it looks very odd (like bugs in water), it's super refreshing and when I drink it in the morning, it satisfies my appetite until well after noon. You have to keep shaking/stirring it since the seeds will gel up and stick to each other or gather at the bottom of the glass.

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