Many of us are concerned with our food habits and what nutrients we put in our bodies. Sometimes we fall victim to junk food cravings, while other times we find ourselves looking at the nutritional facts on the back of a product at a supermarket to see its health value.
It is common to wonder what is sustainable for our bodies and often times we may unknowingly overlook types of foods that can be good for us. Chia seeds, for example, could make an important addition to our meals. They are considered “superfoods” that may lower cholesterol, improve gut health, reduce appetite and potentially improve blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds are high in alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) and contain enough fiber that may help lower LDL cholesterol when consumed frequently. The Nurses’ Health Study found a 40% reduced risk of sudden cardiac death in women who ate the highest amounts of ALA. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber and are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain nine amino acids that the body does not produce on its own. The most vital nutrients that chia seeds provide are zinc, phosphorous, fiber, protein, and omega-3 acids.
Due to its high fiber content, when consumed, chia seeds provide a feeling of fullness that may help prevent overeating. Also, they may be effective in regulating bowel movements and correcting digestive issues. The best way to eat chia seeds is by cooking or mixing them with water first. It is not recommended to eat them dry, considering that they may harm the esophagus. They are flavorless and can be added to yogurts, cereal, bread batter, and smoothies. For those who avoid consuming dairy products, eating chia seeds may also be a good way to improve calcium levels in the bones and protect their density.
Of course, the health benefits of chia seeds are important when paired with other healthy alternatives and foods that are also rich in vital nutrients. The more you incorporate chia seeds into your healthy diet, the greater the benefits.