Benefits of Chia Seeds

When looking at the nutrition profile of chia seeds, you will see that an ounce of them contains 12 grams of carbohydrates. Surprisingly, 11 of those grams are fiber, which isn't digested by the body.

Fiber doesn't raise blood sugar, and it doesn't cause any insulin to be released, therefore it really shouldn't be counted as a carbohydrate.

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Because of all the fiber, chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, resulting in an expansion of gelatin like material. This is great for controlling weight because it's packed full of fiber and nutrients that keep you feeling full longer.

Chia seeds are 40% fiber, by weight. This makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the world, and with the fewest calories which is only one of the many benefits of chia seeds.

Massive Amount of Nutrients With Few Calories:

In ancient times chia seeds we're a dietary staple, but only recently did chia seeds become recognizable as a modern day superfood. Now, health conscious people from all over the world enjoy this nutritious snack.

A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contain:

Fiber: 11 grams.

Protein: 4 grams.

Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).

Calcium: 18% of the RDA.

Manganese: 30% of the RDA.

Magnesium:30% of the RDA.

Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.

They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

This is very impressive when considering that this is just a single ounce, which supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate.

If you subtract the fiber, which may not end up as usable calories for the body, chia seeds then only contain 101 calories per ounce. Chia sees are a "whole grain" food, usually grown organically, and are GMO free and are also naturally free of gluten.

Loaded With Antioxidants:

Another one of the many benefits of chia seeds is that it is packed with antioxidants. This is present in chia seeds to protect the sensitive fats and keep them from going rancid. Getting antioxidants from food like chia seeds is much more effective than getting it from antioxidant supplements.

These antioxidants can fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. This is extremely beneficial to your health.

Chia Seeds Can Help You Lose Weight:

Many health experts believe that chia seeds can help with weight loss.

The fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach creating that gel-like material that I mentioned before. This will increase fullness and slow the absorption of food.

There have been a few studies on Glucomannan, a fiber that works in a similar way, showing that it can in fact lead to weight loss.

Although if you think that just adding chia seeds into your diet is going to make you lose weight, you might be disappointed. This is because a weight loss diet is about more than just adding or subtracting certain foods. You still have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, with proper sleep and exercise.

Although when combined with healthy lifestyle, proper exercise, and good sleep, chia seeds can definitely help a person lose weight.

High Quality Protein:

Chia seeds contain a decent amount of high quality protein. By weight, they are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants.

Chia seeds have a great balance of essential amino acids in them which our bodies can make great use of. Protein has all sorts of benefits for health and it's also the most weight loss friendly nutrient in a diet.

A high protein intake reduces appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about eating by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50%.

This is a great source of protein for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone else that has a restricted diet.

Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Similar to flax seeds, chia seeds are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. They actually contain more omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram. This surprises a lot of people because they automatically think fish like salmon whenever omegas-3s are mentioned.

Its important to keep in mind that the omega-3s in chia seeds are mostly ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), which is not as beneficial. ALA needs to be converted into the "Active" forms, EPA and DHA, before it can be used by the body.

Even though chia seeds contain a large amount of ALA omega-3s, it doesn't benefit your body like omega-3s that come from animals like salmon. This is because our bodies are inefficient at converting ALA into the active forms we can use.

Chia Seeds Help To Improve Cardiovascular Health, As Well As Improve Blood Markers, Resulting In A Lower Risk Of Heart Disease:

As mentioned before, chia seeds are very high in fiber, protein, and Omega-3. This means that it can improve your metabolic and cardiovascular health.

Chia seeds also help to remove unnecessary cholesterol in your system, which can help with your circulatory system.

Chia Seeds Can Help Type 2 Diabetes:

The most successful application of chia seeds to date was in a study on type 2 diabetic patients.

In this study, 20 diabetic patients received either 37 grams or chia seeds, or 37 grams of wheat bran, for 12 weeks.

When the patients ate the chia seeds, they saw improvements in several very important health markers.

Blood pressure went down by 3-6 mm/hg and an inflammatory marker called hs-CRP went down by 40%. A risk factor called vWF also decreased by 21%.

There was also a insignificant drop in blood sugar. Given the high amount of fiber in chia seeds, one could eat them after a meal to reduce blood sugar spikes.

Packed Full Of Important Bone Nutrients:

Chia seeds are packed full of important nutrients that can keep bones healthy and help to prevent osteoporosis.

These include high amounts of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein.

The calcium content is very impressive with a whopping 18% of the RDA in a single ounce. Gram for gram, it's higher than most dairy products in bone nutrients.

For people who are lactose intolerant or that don't eat dairy, chia seeds are a great alternative. Its essential to get proper amounts of calcium, and other important bone nutrients.

Improve Athletic Performance:

The Aztecs and Mayans in ancient times used chia seeds to give them vast amounts of energy throughout the day. Chia seeds we're prized by Aztec warriors for the energy it gave them to fight, and defeat their enemies with.

It was the perfect food on the go because of the large amounts of fiber, protein, and fats, and nutrients in chia seeds.

Easy To Incorporate Into Your Diet:

This is not a health benefit but it's definitely important nonetheless.

Chia seeds are incredible easy to incorporate into your diet. The seeds themselves are rather bland, with little to no flavor, making it easy to add them to pretty much anything you'd like.

Another one of the benefits of chia seeds is that they don't need to be ground like flax seeds, which makes them easier to prepare. They can be eaten raw, soaked in water or juice, added to porridge and puddings, baked goods, salads, and more.

Just remember that if you put them in a liquid it will turn into a gelatinous liquid because of the chia seed's ability to expand. This can be used to thicken sauces, and even be used as a substitute for eggs in recipes. Adding chia seeds will dramatically boost the nutritional value of anything that you put them in.

A recommendation would be to start off eating a tablespoon or less once or twice a day because of the fiber content. Your body needs to get used to the fiber if you aren't already incorporating it into your diet. In conclusion, the benefits of chia seeds are very impressive.

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Posted in Other Health and Medical Post Date 05/16/2015


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