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13 Interesting Facts About Chia Seeds

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Chia seeds are an ancient superfood that has recently soared in popularity. Despite their tiny size, these little seeds pack a serious nutritional punch.

Here are 13 fascinating facts about this modern-day superfood:

Introduction

Native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala, chia seeds were a staple in the diets of the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. Prized for their energy and endurance-boosting abilities, chia seeds were given as an offering during religious ceremonies. Chia simply translates to “strength” in the Mayan language.

Despite their long history, chia seeds have only recently caught mainstream attention as a modern-day superfood. They provide ample protein, omega-3s, and fiber. Additionally, they’re packed with antioxidants and are a great source of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.

Here are 13 interesting facts about this tiny but mighty seed:

Facts About Chia Seeds

Chia-Seeds-Presoak-9510
Chia-Seeds-Presoak-9510 by graibeard is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .
  1. Chia Seeds Are Loaded with Fiber.
    A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber — about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults. Fiber is essential for your digestion, and heart health and for keeping blood sugar levels stable.
  2. They Have More Omega-3s than Salmon.
    By weight, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Omega-3s are incredibly important nutrients that most people don’t get enough of. They help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.
  3. Chia Seeds Have Very High Antioxidant Levels.
    Antioxidants help prevent cell damage from free radicals in your body. Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants that may reduce aging and protect your cells from damage.
  4. Just Two Tablespoons Pack 8 Grams of Protein.
    Getting enough protein is important for weight loss, muscle growth and bone health. Chia seeds are about 14% protein by weight, providing a whopping 4–8 grams per ounce.
  5. Chia Seeds Can Absorb Up to 10 Times Their Weight in Liquid.
    One of the unique properties of chia seeds is their ability to absorb liquid. When soaked in water, the seeds increase in size and weight. This gel-forming action is responsible for some of their therapeutic effects.
  6. They Help Improve Blood Sugar Control.
    A study on type 2 diabetics found that adding chia seeds to bread reduced blood sugar spikes by up to 90% compared to plain bread. Thanks to their ability to slow down digestion, chia seeds can significantly improve blood sugar control.
  7. Just a Small Amount Has 18% of Your Daily Calcium Needs.
    Calcium is crucial for your bone and teeth health and also helps maintain proper nerve and muscle function. Chia seeds provide 18% of your daily calcium needs in just a single ounce.
  8. Chia Seeds Provide a Massive Amount of Micronutrients with Few Calories.
    One ounce of chia seeds provides up to 9% of your daily value (DV) for manganese, 30% for magnesium, and 42% for phosphorus in just 137 calories. Eating chia seeds is an easy way to reach your daily nutrient targets.
  9. Chia Seeds Can Improve Exercise Performance as Effectively as a Sports Drink.
    A study found that a chia seed drink was just as effective as a carbohydrate sports drink at maintaining exercise performance over a 90-minute run. Chia seeds can help boost energy during exercise.
  10. They Were a Staple of Mayan and Aztec Warriors.
    Ancient warriors would use chia seeds to provide high energy and endurance during battle. They set strict rules around chia’s use and would severely punish anyone who gave chia to non-warriors.
  11. Chia Seeds Have Been Shown to Lower Blood Pressure.
    In a study of type 2 diabetics, consuming chia seed powder for 12 weeks lowered systolic blood pressure compared to a placebo. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for chronic disease, making chia seeds’ blood pressure-lowering effect very beneficial.
  12. They’re Highly Versatile and Easy to Incorporate in Your Diet.
    Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor that goes well with many dishes. They can be sprinkled over cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, salads, or smoothies. They can also be mixed into baked goods, protein bars, and granola bars, and used to thicken sauces or as egg substitutes in recipes.
  13. Chia Seeds Are Easy to Digest.
    Despite their tiny size, chia seeds do not need grinding or processing to be easily digested. Their outer coat quickly breaks down after being soaked or exposed to stomach acids. You can absorb their nutrients whether they’re whole or ground.

Conclusion

Incorporating just a small amount of chia seeds into your diet can provide you with a boost of antioxidants, protein, essential fatty acids and micronutrients. Their many health benefits, versatility and long shelf life make them an easy addition to a healthy diet.

So if you’re looking to up your nutrient intake or make your smoothie bowl a bit more Instagram-worthy, consider adding these powerful little seeds into your routine.


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