Chia seeds may be little-known, but they are packed with a range of health benefits. Some weight-loss nutrition programs have recently brought this much-ignored item to public attention. Chia seeds are nutrient-dense and contain omega 3 fatty acid, high levels of calcium, and also magnesium, copper, and manganese. But what makes it a great inclusion to a weight-loss diet plan is its high-fiber content.
Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico. They can be absorbed by the body. They are a much healthier whole grain option than refined foods. As per the American Nutrition Association, chia seeds carry 137 calories per 28 g. But they only contain 13% or 9 grams of fat. Another benefit is that they are low in sodium and cholesterol. Though there are conflicting studies about the effectiveness of chia seeds alone in causing weight loss, they can definitely complement your dietary plan and contribute to shedding weight.
Benefits of a chia seeds diet
1. Since chia seeds are high in dietary fiber, they fill you up faster and keep you full for longer periods of time. The fiber in chia seeds is highly soluble and absorbs a significant amount of water in the stomach to form a gel-like substance that keeps us satiated. They also aid in digestion by promoting healthy bowel movement and supporting good bacteria. Therefore, chia seeds are the perfect addition to weight loss diets.
2. Studies also show that these seeds help to improve stamina and performance for more intense workouts and exercises. So they can replace some health supplements and sports or health drinks as well.
3. Chia seeds can help in reducing Type2 diabetes by lowering insulin resistance. The fiber in chia reduces inflammation and also stops the body’s blood sugar levels from shooting up by slowing the natural breaking down of carbs.
4. They are also a very rich source of calcium, plant-based omega 3 fatty acids as well as antioxidants.
5. However, if you suffer from food allergies, particularly to mustard or sesame seeds, or take blood thinners or high blood pressure medicines, you should consult your doctor before eating chia.
Ways to eat chia seeds
Chia seeds are quite versatile and can be eaten in a number of ways. You can eat them raw, as toppings on toasts or salads, or mixed in smoothies, puddings and with vegetables. Here are some dishes in which you can easily incorporate chia seeds.
1. Fruit Smoothie with chia
This is a quick and easy snack that is full of nutrients and proteins and tastes great as well. You can easily include chia seeds in your diet by blending them with your favorite smoothie. Throw in some fresh fruits like bananas, strawberries or apples along with chia seeds and yogurt or milk. The seeds have a light nutty flavor and lend a crunchy texture to the smoothie.
2. Easy fruit and chia pudding
A chia pudding is a great breakfast option that can be made without using refined foods. Just mix chia seeds, milk, honey and vanilla essence and refrigerate. You can top the pudding with some chopped fruits, dates and nuts like cashews for a delicious and filling meal.
3. Blueberry and chia muffins
Chia muffins are one of the most popular ways of using these seeds, and they taste very good too. While they are rich in protein, they contribute very moderately to your daily calorie count. So, blueberry chia muffins are definitely worth the effort.
4. Sprinkle chia seeds on your salads
You can use chia seeds on any kind of salad–green salad, fruit and nut salad, or stir-fried salad.
5. Chia seeds with vegetables
Chia seeds are high in plant-based fiber, nutrients, and Omega 3 fatty acids. So, they are a great vegetarian and vegan option as well. You can easily use it other vegetables to make a healthy dish. Chop some healthy, low-carb vegetables and boil them. Add pepper, salt, and chilies and saute them lightly in oil and then add the chia seeds. Saute them for 5 minutes more and serve hot.
Chia pancakes, chia-coated fried chicken, and chia hummus are some other easy dishes that you can also try.
However, you need to keep in mind that no single food can miraculously cause weight loss without a careful, regulated diet suited to your body along with exercise and physical activity. So aim for a holistic weight loss program while consuming chia seeds for the best results.