Chia Seeds and Weight Loss
by Health Hound
If you are about my age, then surely you remember the catchy “Chi-chi—chia” jingle in the commercials for what is arguably the weirdest gift ever created – the Chia Pet.
So, you can imagine my surprise, when I found out that instead of a worthless knick-knack, the chia plant actually could help with managing your weight! And, no it does not involve putting a “Chia Head” by your refrigerator, and the resulting revulsion keeps you from eating – it is found in chia seeds.
Before they wound up on direct response TV Spots, and K-mart shelves, for centuries the Chia Plant, technically known as Salvia hispanica was considered a medicinal plant in Mexico.
The seeds of the plant are generally recognized as a superfood, and were a staple of the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas. Much like Hoodia, which also has been touted for weightloss, it has been suggested that these native peoples would eat chia seeds to sustain them for long periods of time when they were out hunting, or otherwise without access to another food source.
Fi-fi-fi-fiber Chia seeds are made up of soluble fiber, which is how they can help with controlling weight by staving off hunger. Because of all the soluble fiber, when eaten, the seeds absorb large amounts of water and other liquids like a sponge. The chia seeds expand in your belly making you feel more full. The gel like mass they form in your gut, not only makes you feel less hungry, it slows digestion, which also makes you feel full longer, as well as absorb more nutrients from the food you eat, so you are less likely to crave more.
The high fiber content of Chia seeds may also help with weight loss because of the all too familiar colon-cleansing effect of fiber.
You could easily incorporate chia seeds into your daily diet by simply adding them to your morning juice, cereal, yogurt, or anything else you could think of.
But because of that soluble fiber, don’t try to eat them plain and dry. You should always have water to wash them down. If you ate them dry without following with water, they could swell in the esophagus, and obstruct your air supply – not a good thing!
While they may or may not be as effective as claimed for weight loss, there is no denying that chia seeds are packed with nutrition and are a great source of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants, as well as many other vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, and potassium.
Dr. Oz’s website also has this:
Chia: Ancient Super-Seed Secret
Long ago, before the Spanish conquest of Latin America – and well before the Ch-ch-ch-chia Pet was born – chia seeds were a staple food, like corn and beans, in the diets of the Aztecs and Mayans. Chia actually got its name from the Mayan word for “strength.”
Most evidence shows that humans began using chia seeds around 3500 BC. Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds regularly, grinding them into flour, pressing them for oil and drinking them mixed with water. At this time in history, chia seeds were considered to be almost magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy over long periods of time.
After the Spanish conquest of Latin America, chia seeds and their benefits became somewhat eclipsed, as the Spanish introduced their own foods and prohibited the farming of chia. Now, as modern scientists and nutritionists are recognizing the extreme lack of certain nutrients in the standard American diet, they are looking to history for natural solutions, including chia. Because of this, it is regaining popularity and its benefits are becoming known to modern America. The chia seeds are “super” because, like a superfruit, they deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories. They have several of the same benefits as the more well-known “super seed” flax, but unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind them to reap the health benefits. The nutritional benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and much more – even protein!
While the American Dietetic Association recommends 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day, unfortunately the average American only gets 12 to 15 grams. With nearly 11 grams of fiber per ounce, chia delivers 42% of your recommended daily value of fiber in a single serving. Fiber is vital for all aspects of health, and is especially key for weight loss and digestion. Fiber helps slow digestion and makes you feel fuller by soaking up fluid and expanding in your digestive tract.
Chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight and expands to curb your appetite, so adding just an ounce or so of chia seeds to your diet can reduce caloric intake and help lower the energy density (or calories) of foods, plus double the amount of fiber you receive.
My favorite way to eat chia is as a snack or dessert in a weight-loss pudding. To make the pudding, simply mix 3 tbsp of ground chia seeds with a cup of your favorite juice – my favorite is pomegranate and berries with resveratrol, for an extra boost of antioxidants. Click here for the complete recipe.
Contributing to its super-seed status, ounce for ounce, chia seeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon! Chia is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 in any food. It also contains high amounts of omega-6. Everyone needs to consume high amounts of these essential fatty acids in their diet, because these EFAs build new cells and regulate various processes of the body, but our bodies cannot make them internally. They also support heart health and beautiful skin, hair and nails.
Chia also contains calcium; in fact, it delivers 18% of your daily value per ounce, which is three times more than skim milk. Many Americans – especially vegetarians or those who avoid dairy – are not getting enough calcium. Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, a disorder characterized by porous and fragile bones. Osteoporosis is a serious health problem for more than 10 million US adults, 80% of whom are women. Another 34 million have osteopenia, which is essentially pre-osteoporosis.
Overall, this tiny little seed packs a big nutritional punch.
Another website: http://chiaseedshealth.org/chia-seeds-health-benefits/