Chia seeds are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. They make a good thickener for smoothies or pudding and add a nice crunch to muffins. You can even sneak them into fruit squeezes for your kids. However you want to use them, chia seeds can be a great healthy addition to your diet. Here are five reasons you should start eating chia seeds.
They’re an excellent source omega-3 fatty acids
Chia seeds are a good source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have a wide range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving your cardiovascular health. This essential nutrient can be found in oily fish, but if ocean creatures aren’t your favorite food, you can find omega-3 fatty acids in plants as well. Chia seeds are a good way to get this nutrient in your diet.
Maria Enriquze, dietary manager at Holladay Healthcare Center, said omega-3s are an essential nutrient that should be part of every healthy diet. “These healthy fats can help improve cardiovascular health and could help prevent a stroke,” she says. “Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3s and can be used in a variety of dishes.”
Chia seeds are high in fiber
Chia seeds are rich in soluble fiber. One serving of chia contains about one-third of the daily recommendation for fiber. Getting the recommended amount of fiber can help you avoid constipation. It can also help you with your diet plans, as fiber helps you stay full longer. Adding some chia to your lunch could help you to avoid heading to the refrigerator for an afternoon snack.
They have loads of vitamins and minerals
One tablespoon of chia seeds contains almost 10 percent of your daily requirement for calcium, iron, and magnesium. Getting enough calcium will help keep your bones strong, while magnesium is good for your bones, muscles, and heart. Iron is an essential nutrient that is used to make a part of red blood cells called hemoglobin.
Chia seeds are packed with protein
Protein is an essential part of a person’s diet and helps the body to function well. However, wolfing down a large steak every day may not be the best way to get it. Meat is an excellent source for protein, but some meats can also be high in unhealthy fats.
Chia seeds are a great way to get protein without the extra fat. A single tablespoon contains about two grams of protein. They are also a complete protein, which means the seeds contain the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot make itself.
They may lower your cholesterol
Some studies have shown that chia seeds may be able to help lower the LDL cholesterol that is bad for your body. Research indicates that the fiber in chia seeds, and the way it is digested in the body, could be a key to lowering LDL and total cholesterol.
Chia seeds have become one of the latest health crazes, and it is easy to see why. Although more research is needed to determine the full health benefits chia seeds can offer, throwing them in a smoothie or muffins could help keep your body chugging happily along. It’s a simple addition with huge benefits, so why not make the change?
A version of this article was published the Orange County Register