Guest Post by Sarah Williams
In the world of weight loss and metabolism boosters, you will find no shortage of special diets, products and references geared to help you in your journey to being a healthier you. Whether trying to shed those last ten pounds or embarking on a significant weight loss journey, more and more products are hitting the market these days claiming that they will help you do so. Among all of the products and hype out there is a small, but powerful gem that doesn’t require a fancy gym membership or trip to the doctor.
What is chia seed?
A little seed that has been around longer than anyone reading this article, the small, but mighty Chia seed tops the list as one of the most powerful superfoods you can put on your plate. Straight from nature, Chia seeds have proven time and time again that their size pales in comparison to the maximum amount of nutrition they provide. Energy, detoxification, and an instantly boosted metabolism are just a few of the advantages to be gained by adding these little powerhouses to your diet.
One serving of these gluten free, vegan seeds contains more calcium than milk, more antioxidants than blueberries and three times more iron than spinach. They also have more potassium than bananas! Protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids are all essential nutrients required to speed the metabolism up, and conveniently the Chia seed is an excellent source of all three. Containing 20% more protein than any other seed, Chia is considered a complete protein source which can help keep blood sugar levels stable. High in soluble and insoluble fiber, these little white and black seeds are a great aid to proper digestion.
Chia Seeds bulk up your meals as they expand, which in turn helps you eat less and remain full longer. Easily digestible, they can be mixed into soups, blended into your favorite smoothie, and even made into yogurts and puddings.
Chia seeds and PCOS
Adopting a healthy eating plan and losing stubborn weight has been shown to drastically improve the symptoms of PCOS, and some women have claimed that their symptoms disappeared altogether when they consumed the daily recommended amount of these seeds on a regular basis. Chia seeds provide the necessary amount of protein and omega fats which can aid the body in re-establishing a balanced blood sugar and hormonal response. Their high Vitamin E content helps reduce inflammation, which is a key factor in keeping flare ups of autoimmune diseases at bay.
Where to find chia seeds?
Found on the shelves at your local grocery or health food store, Chia seeds are an easy and convenient source of nutrition. Since there is no processing required, preparation is simple. Native to Mexico and Guatemala, the Chia Seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant, which belongs to the mint family. Though their popularity in the US has just recently been on the rise, Chia Seeds are nothing new. Cultivated and eaten by Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans, these small, but mighty seeds have been enjoyed as a complete source of protein for many, many years. It is believed that Aztecs would consume a tablespoon of Chia seeds to sustain energy for up to 24 hours. Meaning “strength” in the Mayan language, they were often the most important diet of runners and warriors due to their ability to fortify people for long periods of time and aid in their rapid muscle recovery.
Chia seeds for sporty people
Regular physical activity is indispensable for women suffering from PCOS. Today many continue to consume Chia seeds as a source to aid in their sports performance. Endurance athletes are especially partial to these little seeds because of their easy attainability and great digestion qualities. In the highly popular, “Born to Run” book, an entire tribe of super athletes swear by consuming Chia to live and perform as well as they do. One really distinct feature of the Chia seed is its ability to absorb up to 10 times its weight in water. This helps keep dehydration at bay and allows easy absorption of electrolytes, which is one of the main goals of athletes. In recent studies, several groups of runners that have consumed Chia seeds in place of sports energy drinks such as Gatorade, had the same performance results, but without all the added sugar. Athletes can consume Chia in the form of energy bars or easily consume the seeds alone. Browsing the heath food isle of the supermarket you’ll find a wealth of ready to consume products containing Chia seeds that are geared directly toward fitness enthusiasts and endurance athletes alike.
Other benefits of chia seeds
Chia seeds are also one of the best sources of omega 3 fatty acids and contain more per serving than fish oil. They could almost be classified as a daily vitamin due to their rich content of vitamins A and B, magnesium, zinc, copper and phosphorus. When digested, Chia forms a gelatin like substance in the stomach due to their soluble fiber content. Nutritionists believe this gelatin works to restore the probiotic balance in the gut, which in turn leads to a healthier digestive system.
Maintaining health digestion is thought to be 80% of the maintenance in most autoimmune diseases today and so this dynamic feature of the Chia seed makes it a patient’s best friend. The metabolism and digestive tract aren’t the only part of the body that benefit from these feisty little superfoods, however. Proven to be good for the skin, Chia seeds are now making their way into skin care products such as Avon’s line of “Avon Cosmetics.” They appear to restore skin cells and block environmental toxins from entering the body. It seems like there really is nothing these powerful little seeds can’t do!
How to incorporate chia seeds to your diet
Perhaps one of the best things about Chia seeds is how easy they are to incorporate into your daily diet. Eaten raw, soaked in water or milk or even sprouted, they are very versatile and easy to use. The recommended daily intake of Chia is one to three tablespoons of raw seeds. Whether looking for an easy breakfast dish or decadent dessert, there is a recipe for everyone out there. You can make Chia pudding by soaking the seeds in almond milk and topping with almonds and blueberries.
For a healthy, but seemingly decadent treat, blend Chia seeds with pineapple and coconut milk. If you live life on the go, grab a chia energy bar or make a batch of almond chia bars to eat throughout the week. With the rising popularity of this incredible superfood, there is no shortage of ideas for meals and treats to suit the taste of everyone seeking to restore health and boost nutrition. Just one quick trip to the store to collect this fantastic source of energy and nutrition and you will be on your way to boosting your metabolism and restoring your health instantly!
Sarah Williams free spirit and yoga enthusiast passionate about a healthy lifestyle. Her mission is to help people of all ages create a sexier, body and mind, and find happiness in social interactions. You can check out her blog and get access to life and fitness resources at Study Clerk.