What are the health benefits of chia seeds?

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I have been putting chia seeds in my green smoothies and peanut butter banana smoothies for quite a while now, without really knowing their specific health benefits. I knew they were good for me, but if you asked me why I was putting them in my smoothies, I couldn’t have provided you a specific reason.

So I decided to investigate for myself, beyond simply reading the package label.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have been deemed a superfood, meaning they are packed with nutrients and have potential health-promoting and disease preventing qualities. Here are a few:

Fiber & Protein

Chia seeds are high in fiber. A one ounce serving (about two tablespoons) of chia seeds provides about 11 grams, or about 40% Daily Value (DV), of fiber.

Chia seeds also provide about 4 grams of protein in a one ounce serving, or about 9% DV.

Micronutrients

Packed with key vitamins and minerals, a one ounce serving supplies 18% the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of calcium. Much better for us than ice cream, and approaching the amount of calcium in a glass of milk.

Chia seeds supply 30% RDA each of manganese and magnesium, and 27% RDA of phosphorous. All good for bone health, among many other health benefits.

Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants, on the level of blueberry antioxidant content.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, however, it is important to note that the omega-3s in chia seeds are primarily ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). The omega-3s that our bodies can use are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which ALA needs to be converted to in order to be beneficial. Since our bodies are not equipped to tackle this task efficiently, chia seeds cannot be seen as a complete source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Overall Impression

I don’t really taste the chia seeds in my smoothies, but I know they are in there, making my body healthier by the second! If they stand in water, they turn into a gel. I put the two tablespoons of chia seeds in my Nutri-Bullet with about a quarter cup of water, and mix them up so it looks like cookies and cream ice cream before adding in the other smoothie ingredients. That way, I don’t have to deal with chunky (or gel-like) seeds in my drink.

Regarding price, I bought a package on sale the other day for $5.99. If I were to use two tablespoons a day, this package would last me two weeks. Too expensive? You do the math.

What recipes do you like to use chia seeds in? Please share your thoughts!

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