Chia Seeds help weight loss
Most people in the United States don't know about chia seeds, but they've actually been around for hundreds of years. The Aztecs relied on chia as a staple food and held it in such high regard that they used it for religious ceremonies and medicinal purposes, too.
What are the health benefits?
Chia is the richest combined plant based source of Omega 3, protein and fiber. It's also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help nourish the skin from the inside out. Apart from being great for skin regeneration, chia is extra beneficial because it helps increase energy levels, heart health, joint function and encourages a healthy digestive system. Nutritionist Vicki Edgson told us: 'Chia provides a sustained release of energy into the body. Many consumers are athletes who eat chia to improve endurance and aid joint mobility and muscle repair. It also naturally contains 37% fibre, which can aid intestinal health, including regular gut function. Diets high in fibre have been shown to reduce the risk and occurrence of colon cancer.'
How come chia is so good for healthy skin, hair and nails?
Edgson says: 'Chia contains a high source of Omega 6 LA, antioxidants (gram for gram Chia provides four times the antioxidant power of fresh blueberries) and protein which are all important for healthy skin. Studies have shown a diet containing antioxidants can slow the process of aging in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein and as the human body uses protein to build and repair tissues we need relatively large amounts. As protein is not stored in the body it is important to include it in the diet and chia is a great natural source of protein containing 20% in each serving.'
Can it help with weight loss?
'Chia seeds when eaten daily are an excellent food for supporting natural weight loss as they're a rich source of Omega 3 helps to break down and liberate stored fat,' Edgson told us. 'In addition, when added to foods chia seeds have the effect of thickening or bulking which may lead to a full sensation, this can result in you taking in fewer calories over the day and may assist with weight loss. Chia also provides a slow release of energy which can sustain you for longer.’
How much chia should you eat to get the full benefits?
A tablespoon of chia every day is recommended, but no more than that because it's very high in fibre and could cause stomach upset for more sensitive people.
How can chia be eaten?
'Chia can be consumed in many ways,' says Edgson. 'Mix it into smoothies, sprinkle over salads or even add to bread.' The chia seeds won't change the flavour of a dish but they are a bit crunchy.
Try this recipe:
Green Chia Morning Smoothie
1 mango, scooped from skin
2 Tbsp Chia Seed, soaked in 2/3 cup water for at least 15 mins
1 scoop Spirulina powder or greens powder
1/3-1/2 cup almond milk
Blend all ingredients in a strong blender until smooth.
This can be made into a pudding by serving into ramekins, and stored in fridge until set, as the Chia will expand, and semi-solidify the other ingredients.