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SUPERFOOD SPOTLIGHT:  CHIA SEEDS

benefits-of-chia-seeds

While the beneficial properties of Chia seeds have only recently been popularized in the U.S (instead of only a decorative plant, yes we all recall the "Chia Pet"), Chia was first cultivated as early as 3500 BC! Chia, the Mayan word for "strength", has a long list of impressive benefits.

This ancient seed has been touted by the ancient Mayans, Aztecs and Incas alike as having magic and medicinal powers. Delivering more antioxidants than blueberries, more omegas than salmon, more calcium than milk and more than 50% of the recommended daily value for fiber in a single small serving, this super seed deserves your attention.

What are Chia Seeds

Derived from a flowering plant and a relative of mint family, Chia seeds are teeny tiny black and white seeds. Chia seeds are native to Mexico and parts of Central America, and have long been a dietary staple of these part.  As an extra bonus to the seed's extraordinary nutrient profile. . . unlike flax seeds, your body is able to fully absorb all of the nutrients from these seeds in their whole form without the need for additional processing.

What are the benefits of Chia Seeds

While the list is numerous, here are our top FOUR reasons why chia seeds are the perfect addition to your everyday routine! 

1.  Chia seeds are touted for supporting weight loss
The seeds absorb liquid and expand in your stomach, helping you to feel full for longer, ultimately reducing your daily caloric intake.

2.  Chia seeds deliver healthy fats
Ounce for ounce, chia seeds deliver more essential omegas than wild salmon, making them one of the richest plant based sources of polyunsaturated fats, such as Omega-3. These healthy fats are important for proper brain function, mood elevation and joint health.

3.  Chia seeds facilitate elimination
Nearly all of the carbohydrates in this seed (10 of the 12g per ounce) are attributed to fiber, making it a low glycemic, waistline friendly food. The high fiber content of chia seeds along with their capacity to hold up 12 times their weight in water, help your bowels to move waste through your system quickly.

4.  Chia seeds give you energy!
Fatigue is often attributed to mineral deficiency, which is a serious problem today due to our modern farming practices which deplete soil of its vital nutrients. The mineral profile of Chia is impressive, with a single serving providing 18% of the RDI for calcium, 50% of manganese, 24% of magnesium and 30% of phosphorus. A study by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning offered more insight and indicated a relationship between Chia seed intake and greater levels of endurance performance.

How to Use Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are often available for purchase in bulk at your local health foods store or are available online. The best part is you can incoporate chia seeds in your nutritional aresnal in a variety a ways!

We love to use a salad topper, adding a wonderful texture to greens and providing an extra boost of nutrition - like in our Strawberry Spinach Salad.  

You can also add to your next smoothie as a superfood smoothie booster - it offers a mildy nutty taste and leaves you feeling full. Find it in our Ulimate Breakfast Smoothie!

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Another favorite of ours - as a delicious breakfast, go-to snack or even an extra healthy dessert - is a chia seed pudding! We are partial to a super simple recipe featuring our Project Juice Almond Mylk which consists of simply stirring 3 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds in a bowl along with a single bottle of PJ Almond Mylk and allowing it to sit for at least an hour. Once the chia seeds plump, stir well and top with an extra dash of cinnamon or some fresh berries. 

How do you like to use chia seeds in your health routine? 

Photo credit: Stacy Spensley | CC By: Visual Hunt