The Benefits of Chia Seeds And 5 Ways You Can Include Them In Your Diet
Chia seeds got really popular in the past few years. I remember the first time I decided to try them out because of all this health craze. At that moment I had no idea why they were healthy, I just knew they were all around the health articles and recipes, so I figured I had to eat them as well.
I immediately loved their taste so now I eat them pretty much every day. However, it’s good to know why you eat certain things and how they can benefit you, so let’s see what chia seeds can do for you.
Chia seeds are full of antioxidants
Antioxidants help fight the free radicals in your body which can damage our cells, leading to diseases and premature aging. The tiny black chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, so eating enough of them will help you stay young, beautiful and healthy for long years.
Chia seeds have loads of fiber
Chia seeds are full of fiber. And even though that’s a type of carbs, your body doesn’t digest it. This is why fiber doesn’t raise the levels of your blood sugar and it’s very good for your digestion. Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in your gut which is important for your overall health. And since chia seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, they expand in your stomach giving you the feeling of fullness. Also, I’ve found they’re really good against bloating (and I know this is something a lot of us struggle with).
They reduce inflammation
Chia seeds are full of Omega-3 fatty acids and according to research, these fatty acids are able to reduce inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation can lead to serious conditions and chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease, fatigue, cancer, and diabetes. The fatty acids, minerals and vitamins chia seeds contain can help fight inflammation and protect vital organs like your heart, liver, and brain.
Chia can help you lose weight
If you’re trying to lose weight or to get leaner, then incorporating chia seeds in your diet can help you reach these goals. As we already mentioned above, chia seeds are full of fiber and since they expand in your stomach, they keep you full for a long time. I really feel like just 2 tablespoons of chia, whether they’re in my meal or in my water, do keep me happy and full. Also, I don’t feel like snacking all the time or have constant food cravings. Of course, chia by itself is not magic, so if you’re trying to get fitter, you still need to maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Chia can regulate blood sugar levels
High blood sugar levels are associated with diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Chia is great for controlling insulin sensitivity and the levels of your blood sugar. Thanks to its fiber, chia doesn’t spike your blood sugar and can help you prevent such diseases. This is especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
So besides being good for you, chia seeds are delicious and easy to incorporate in many meals. There are tons of ways and healthy recipes you can include in your diet but some of my favorite ones are these:
Chia seed pudding with coconut milk and blueberries
- 6 tbs chia seeds
- 2 cups of coconut milk
- a splash of vanilla extract
- honey, agave syrup or maple syrup for sweetness
- 1-2 tbsp of flax meal (optional but helps thicken your pudding)fresh or frozen blueberries
In a bowl or a mason jar mix together the chia seeds, coconut milk, vanilla and your sweetener of choice. Stir well until everything is combined. If I want to have more protein, especially after a workout, I also put 1-2 scoops of vanilla protein. This makes it thicker and even more delicious.
- 1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds
- a squeeze of lemon (optional)
- sweetener (optional)
Chia water is so easy to make. You simply put 1-2 teaspoons of chia seeds in your water bottle. In a few minutes, the seeds will absorb some of the water and will become soft and chewy. It’s really fun to chew on them and you can take your water bottle with you to work, to the gym or while running some errands. If you prefer, you can also add a squeeze of lemon. Whenever I have my water like this, my digestion is so much better. I don’t get bloated and I don’t feel like snacking all the time.
- 1 tbsp of chia
- 2,5 tbsp of water
If you’re vegan or if you simply want to make a vegan recipe but need eggs, that’s the answer for you. You can mix 1 tbsp of chia with 2,5 tbsp of water until it forms a gel. Then you add this to your recipe instead of an egg. This is the ratio that substitutes 1 egg. If the recipe requires more eggs, then you simply make more chia ‘eggs’.
Homemade protein balls are so simple and delicious. Once you make them, you will never buy the overpriced ones from the health stores again. You can literally put whatever you like in them. I will tell you how I make mine and they become so delicious that they are literally gone within 2 days.
- 1 cup of grounded oats
- 1-2 tbsp chia seeds
- 3 tbsp of cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp of carob powder
- 1 tbsp of maca powder
- 1 cup of pitted dates
- 2 scoops of chocolate pea protein powder
- 3 tbsp of honey
- pinch of salt
Start with soaking your dates in warm water for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix your grounded oats, cocoa, maca, carob, protein, chia seeds, and spices. Blend the dates with a little of the water you soaked them in and your honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well. Depending on your ingredients, you might need to add more grounded oats or protein powder if your mixture is too wet. If it is too dry, add more honey and some more date water. Roll this deliciousness into balls and enjoy!
Strawberry chia jam
- 4 cups of fresh or frozen strawberries
- 3 tbsp of chia seeds
- sweetener of choice – honey, agave, maple syrup
Add your strawberries to a saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook them for about 15 minutes until they break down. Mash the strawberries with a fork until you reach the desired consistency. I like it a bit lumpy. After that add your chia seeds and sweeter and stir. At this point, you can remove the mixture from the heat. The chia seeds will expand and will gel up the mixture. When the jam has thickened, you can place it in a mason jar and refrigerate it. It’s delicious hot or warm and it’s amazing on pancakes!