Chia seeds have formed part of the staple diet in Central and South America for centuries. However, here in North America, until recently chia seeds were used not for their nutritional properties, but for their ability to resemble hair when grown in animal-shaped terracotta pots. But not any more. Chia seeds are having their moment of fame as a powerhouse superfood. And rightly so.
Chia seeds are made up of 15 to 25% protein, 30 to 33% fats, and 26 to 41% carbohydrates. In just 1 ounce of chia seeds you will find around 12 grams of fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Further, they are an excellent source of essential omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, act as an anti-inflammatory, and protect against arthritis, cancer, and autoimmune diseases, amongst other things.
Chia seeds have also been shown to have significant antioxidant properties. They contain many flavonols and phenolic acids, including Quercetin, know for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antithrombotic properties. And if that is not enough to tempt you to sprinkle these bad boys on your oatmeal, chia seeds are also naturally gluten free, fitting in with the latest trend against gluten.
So how can you include these antioxidant-rich seeds in your diet? You can sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal or yogurt, add them to a fruit smoothie, throw half a cup into your favorite muffin recipe, or make delicious chia pudding by soaking them overnight in almond milk and adding the berries of your choice. Whichever way you choose, these seeds have earned their place in the superfood line-up, and you would be well advised to include them in your diet.
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