- Diet & Weight Loss
Benefits of Chia Seeds: Chia Seeds for Weight Loss!
Chia Seeds Health Benefits
Ch-ch-ch-chia! If the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the word “Chia seeds” is the Chia Pet Head in the shape of a sheep, you are in for an interesting discovery. These tiny and unusual seeds are not only healthy but can also help you lose weight quickly. So the question is: What are the benefits of eating Chia seeds and how exactly do they help with weight loss?
Chia seeds are funny looking egg-shaped seeds. If you look at them closely, they are actually quite beautiful with little specks and swirls of black, brown and white fibers. Although these seeds are quite small, they pack a powerful healthy punch and an impressive amount of nutrients!
"Indian Running Food"
Chia seeds are from the chia plant, known as Salvia hispanica, and have been cultivated around the world for over 500 years. These kernels were one of the 3 primary foods of the ancient Aztecs, Tehuantepecs, Mayas, and Indians. Warriors back in the days did not have access to Power Bars but they did have chia seeds! They ate chia seeds for increased energy and endurance. Indian messengers used to carry a little pouch of the seeds around with them. Hence, these amazing little seeds are called “Indian running food.”
Chia seeds nutrition
You would be surprised to learn how much nutrients are packed in that tiny, almost microscopic seed! Below is a list of nutrients found in a one ounce serving of chia seeds.
- Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (2 tablespoon serving of chia seeds provide over 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a lot more than a plate of fish)
- Protein (2x the protein of any other seed)
- Minerals (iron, boron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus)
I recommend buying chia seeds in bulk from Amazon to save $$
Chia Seeds and Weight Loss!
There is a high correlation between chia seeds and weight loss!
1. Provides energy, strength, and endurance
Chia seeds are one of the few natural resources of complete proteins. (About 4 grams per ounce serving of seeds) A complete protein includes all 9 of the amino acids that our body needs to perform biological functions. Yes, that means more athletes, including runners and weight lifters, are incorporating this “super food” into their healthy diet plan! An extra boost of energy from the chia seeds can help you get through that long hour of Zumba class or pump you through that extra mile, which results in more calories burned.
2. Levels blood sugar
Chia seeds reduce food cravings! The chia gel creates a physical barrier between the digestive enzymes that break down the carbohydrates. This will slow the conversion of carbs into sugar, which also means the ENERGY from the food is SLOWLY released. That means no more late night snack attacks or binge eating.
3. Aids intestinal regularity
These seeds break down easily in our body and their nutrients can be quickly assimilated into the body. They can also help ELIMINATE accumulated waste in the intestine. The soluble and insoluble fiber acts as a “sweeper” to keep food moving down your digestive tract. That means no constipation and healthy stool!
4. Keeps you full
One of the unique things about chia is its ability to soak up water. If you mix chia seeds with nine to ten times the amount of water, and leave it for about 15 minutes, you’ll get the consistency of a gel-like substance, similar to tapioca. The amount of expansion creates a feeling of fullness as it is going through your stomach. Furthermore, eating chia seeds will not affect your blood sugar level. It actually slows down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, leaving you feeling full for longer.
How To Eat Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are extremely versatile and tasteless which makes it quite easy to incorporate into your meals. The best way to eat chia seeds is to soak them in a liquid of your choice to make a gel. They will absorb all that liquid within 10 minutes, and take on an interesting halo-like appearance. Since chia seeds lack in flavor of their own, they distribute and take on the taste of whatever food or drink you add them to.
- Blend them in your smoothies
- Mix them with juice
- Mix them with almond milk (or regular milk) to make pudding
- Bake with them! Add to bread, muffin, cookies, or recipes that usually calls for sesame seeds
- Sprinkle them in yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, or salads
- Add it to a bottle of water and take it on your next hike!
Overnight Chia Seed Tapioca Pudding
Ingredients (Yields 1 serving):
- 2 tablespoons raw, organic chia seeds
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or any other nut milk)
- Sweetener of choice: (Stevia, xylitol, or chopped dates)
- Place chia seeds in a bowl
- Pour almond milk in and use a fork/spoon to mix it up.
- Leave the mixture overnight and in the morning add some fruits or coconut flakes
*Tips: I usually don't add any sweeteners. In the morning I just add either chopped dates or bananas which is sweet enough. This is a base recipe, which leaves you a lot of flexibility to customize. Put in your favorite fruits or nuts! The mixture will also clump up after 10 minutes. Simply use your fork and stir it up. Enjoy!
More Ways to Eat Chia Seeds!
Chia-coconut sports drink
I simply scoop a teaspoon of chia seeds in my young coconut water and shake, shake, shake! I have given up sports drinks like Gatorade many years ago. Chia-coconut water is very hydrating!
I also add them to my favorite smoothies, and if I'm in the mood for a sweeter treat I add the following toppings to my chia puddings: fruits, cinnammon, or dark chocolate pieces.
The bottom line
Please note that chia seeds are not “magic pills” that will help you lose weight alone. When used sensibly chia seeds can be a beneficial tool to your weight loss plan or weight management. It is simply a “natural food” that has been cultivated by ancient people as a source of good health and sustained energy. It will decrease your cravings and help you feel more satisfied after meals, while getting all the natural nutrients. Chia seeds WILL help you lose weight!
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2012 Kim Lam (Turtlewoman)
About the Author
Kim Lam is a board certified Health Coach, Healthy Living and Cleanse Expert, half-marathon runner, gardener, and creator of Whole Foods, Whole Body Cleanse.
Kim Lam received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She studied under Dr. Andre Weil, Director of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and Dr. Walter Willet, Chair of Nutrition at Harvard University, among many other leading researchers and nutrition authorities.
She is deeply dedicated to sharing the exciting, yet critical journey to healthy living.
Connect with her on Facebook where she shares many health tips and recipes. Learn how to lose weight, get rid of toxins, and decrease inflammation with her 14-Day cleanse at Lettuce Be Healthy.
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