Looking for a way to add an extra dose of healthy to your breakfast? Look no further than the mighty chia seed! It's got all sorts of good-for-you things jammed inside of it, which is pretty amazing since a chia seed is like the size of a pinhead. Of course, if you want to enjoy the benefits of chia seeds, you'll need to eat more than just one. A healthy serving would be 1 or 2 tablespoons a day. What could be easier than adding a dose to your favorite smoothie recipe? Here are just 10 of the benefits you'll enjoy when you make chia seeds a part of your daily diet.
10 Provide Antioxidants
You've heard of free-radicals. You come into contact with them on a daily basis, and they do all sorts of awful things to your body, like make you age more quickly and increase your risk for diseases like cancer. That's why you need the help of free-radicals' natural enemy—antioxidants. Put a heaping spoonful of chia seeds in your favorite green drink, and enjoy the anti-aging, disease-fighting benefits antioxidants have to offer.
9 Boost Energy
Back around 2,600 B.C., the Aztec, Maya, and other tribes indigenous to Mexico and Central America, ate chia seeds before battles because of the boost in energy it gave them. Just a spoonful of chia seeds could keep them going for 24 hours. Why? For starters, chia seeds help you stay hydrated. When soaked in water, they can expand to 10 times their weight! Second, chia seeds are bursting with B vitamins (namely B12 and Biotin), which allow your body to break down the food you eat and turn it into fuel.
8 Ease Joint Pain
Just like red onions and cranberries, chia seeds contain a flavonoid called quercetin, which has been shown to reduce painful and/or arthritic joints. Chia seeds also have copper and zinc, which your body uses to create the ligaments and connective tissue surrounding your joints, and also to repair the joint itself.
7 Added Vitamins and Minerals
They don't call it a superfood for nothing! In terms of nutrition, chia seeds are just about unbeatable. Check out the stats:
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- 15 times more magnesium than broccoli
- 6 times more protein than beans
- 4 times more phosphorus and 6 times more calcium than milk.
All of these foods have their merits, but nobody wants to eat that much spinach or drink that much milk every single day. Fortunately, when you add chia seeds to your daily smoothie, you won't have to.
6 Stabilize Blood Sugar
Once they find out carbs can cause blood sugar to spike, most people decide to avoid them as much as possible. The fact is, carbs can be really good for you. Particularly fiber, because it helps stabilize your blood sugar levels. Even though a tablespoon of chia seeds contains 12 carbs, 10 of those carbs are from fiber, so it's safe—even recommended—to add them to your daily diet, and it might help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.
5 Aid in Digestion
Good health starts in the gut, and if you want to keep your gut healthy, you need to eat plenty of fiber. The average adult should get somewhere between 25 and 30 grams of fiber to keep everything in good, working order. Some days, it can be difficult to reach the recommended amount of fiber, but adding a spoonful to a smoothie or some yogurt will help you out.
4 Help Detoxify
When you start eating chia seeds every day, and your body begins to reap the benefits of all of that fiber, it creates a chain reaction. First, your blood sugar stabilizes. Then, your digestive system starts to regulate. The next thing that happens is your body starts to detox. All of the toxins that make their way into your system from things like pesticides, plastics, and cosmetics, get stuck to that fiber, then eliminated through—well, you can figure the rest out. Anyway, there's another benefit to all that fiber and it's this. . .
3 Lose Weight
Fiber keeps you full. Chia seeds have a ton of fiber. Therefore, chia seeds will keep you full. And when you're full, you're not tempted to pig out on that leftover cake that's in the office fridge from your coworker's birthday last week. No cake, no cake-related weight gain. Good deal. But wait, it gets better! Chia seeds can actually help regulate your appetite, which will make cutting calories that much easier. What an awesome seed!
2 Source of Omega-3s
If you're trying to be healthy, but you're also sick of having smelly breath after eating fish for lunch every day, you should know that gram-for-gram chia seeds contain more omega-3 fatty acid than salmon. Omega-3s lower cholesterol, reduce your risk for certain types of cancer, like colon, prostate, and breast cancer, and they also works to protect your heart.
1 Improve Sleep
With a good night's sleep under your belt, you can conquer anything! Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your smoothie every day, and it might just help you get more rest. Chia seeds contain tryptophan, which increases levels of serotonin to keep you calm and relaxed, thereby promoting restful sleep.