CHIA SEEDS - Should You Be Using Them?

food nutrition Jun 22, 2019

 You want foods that provide a lot of benefits, but are also easy to incorporate and prepare?  Duh!  Then you WANT chia seeds!

Short & sweet, here's why....


Quick Facts:

  • Chia seeds are NUTRIENT DENSE!  What's that mean? It means low in calories, high in nutritional benefits! = Perfect for everyone, even those trying to lose weight.

  • One of the most nutritious foods on the planet! - Loaded with fiber, protein, omega 3 fatty acids, and various micronutrients.

  • Chia seeds are high in antioxidants which protect their healthy fats from going rancid and they also fight the production of free radicals in your body which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases such as cancer!

     

  • Excellent source of plant based protein and have a good balance of essential amino acids.

  • Some studies have found that chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, stabilizing blood sugar levels after meals.

  • High in fiber! - Chia seeds are 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the best sources of fiber in the world!

  • Chia seeds super expand in water.  This means a 2 Tbsp serving, when soaked in plant milk or water will create more than 1 cup of chia pudding! And all that expansion, fiber, and healthy fats will keep you feeling fuller, longer and help with weight loss efforts and craving control.


Low-Carb Friendly

Although chia seeds do contain carbohydrates, most of that is from fiber - which neither raises your blood sugar nor requires insulin to be disposed of.

The DIGESTIBLE carb count per ounce (~2 Tbsp of chia seeds) is ONLY 1 GRAM!


Good For You Gut

And all that fiber is also good (PREbiotics) for feeding the friendly bacteria you desperately NEED in your gut! 

Good For Your Bones

Chia seeds are high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein - all of which are important for bone health.

Better Than Animal Products

  • Gram for gram, chia is higher in calcium than most dairy products! (and if anyone tries to tell you that phytates in seeds block the calcium absorption - soaking the seeds breaks down the phytate, reducing, if not eliminating, this problem. So if you're soaking to make chia pudding, you're good to go - take that negative Nancies!)

  • Gram for gram AGAIN, chia seeds contain more omega 3's than salmon! (just know that this is ALA, not DHA)  Plant-eaters have no fear though!  Vegans have been shown to convert ALA to DHA within the body very well.  Meat and fish eaters, however, do not because they are used to receiving outside sources of DHA so their body's conversion from ALA to DHA is inefficient.

    If you are just transitioning from omnivore to plant-based and are worried that your conversion may be weak, don't worry - given some time without animal sources and fish oil supplements, your conversion can improve again.  In the meantime (and forever really cuz it's so awesome), we recommend Clean Machine's Ahiflower Oil as an Omega supplement. You can use code "ALPHA" to receive 20% off any order on their website!  And if you live outside of the US, you can purchase Clean Machine products on IHerb using this link for a discount there as well (this one saves you 10%).

Bonus Tips

  • According to this study, ALA levels increased in the test group who consumed ground chia, but not in the group who consumed whole chia seeds.  So for now to be on the safe side and get the most you can out of these little guys, use milled chia seeds or even blending them with a good blender like a Vitamix should do the trick.  Sprouted chia seeds would probably also be amazing, but just soaking alone may not be enough.  No worries though! All you have to do is place your chia seeds and liquid into your vitamix and blend well to make your chia pudding! (many people prefer this method anyway so it doesn't resemble some sort of tadpole eggs in their consistency lol)

  • You may find chia seeds in both black and white varieties, but the nutritional content is the same, so don't stress! It doesn't matter if they're black or white! (Did you just sing that in Michael Jackson voice cuz that's how I wrote it...)

So What Do You Do With Chia Seeds?

Whatever you want really!  My preferences are adding them to smoothies & making chia pudding - that way they are always soaked a bit as well.

You can also use them as an egg substitute in recipes or as "gellers" or thickeners! (just soak in water for a bit and it becomes jelly-fied like egg) 

Let us know you're favorite way to use chia seeds in the comments below and follow us on Instagram @EvolvingAlpha to see more photos and food ideas!

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