the health benefits of Chia seeds…

I thought I would see what all the hype is about these tiny little seeds imported into the UK from the other side of the world by our Australian friends and eaten by the Aztecs thounsands of years ago.

Innocently sitting there in the whole food section of TESCO in their bright orange livery these grains actually boast some very impressive ‘credentials’ when it comes to the health benefits of consuming them.

These little Chia seeds (pronounced chee-a)  absorb 10-12 times their weight in water meaning that an 8g ‘shot’ can potentially increase to between 80 and 96g; thus keeping you fuller-for-longer!

So we now know that Chia seeds are a great source of fibre, but can you believe that in these teeny tiny little seeds are high in quality protein, much higher than most plant foods. Protein is the most weight loss friendly macronutrient and can drastically reduce appetite and cravings; perfect for those of you that want to cut down on your intake of carbs!

Now the bit that I am interested in for my own health is the affects that Chia seeds have on blood pressure. A study showed that with those tested having taken Chia seeds their blood pressure went down by 3-6 mm/Hg. This might not seem like much but it’s a similar result that loosing 8lbs of weight has on blood pressure!

A common dosage recommendation is 15 grams (two ‘Chia shots’ if you buy them in such a way), twice per day.

A 15g serving provides
• 3g Protein
• 3g Omega 3 ALA
• 1g Omega 6 LA
• 5.5g Fibre

They also contain a decent amount of Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Vitamin E as well as other micronutrients. So despite their tiny size, Chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet!

To incorporate them into your diet is super easy. They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, added to porridges and puddings, or added to baked goods. Be warned that soaking them in juice can make them look like tapioca, but fortunately, once soaked, they have the texture of passion fruit/ Granadilla.

You can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes. I’ve sprinkled them on pasta salads and into smoothies – remember to drink smoothies quickly though before they start absorbing the liquid!

You can also use them to thicken sauces and apparently use them as an egg substitute in recipes. Jury’s out on that one for me! But it is safe to say that by adding chia seeds to recipes will dramatically boost the nutritional value.

So the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and as some of you may know I am a staunch anti-dieter but the one thing I have found is that these inoffensive little seeds have most certainly kept me fuller-for-longer.  My favourite thing to do is soak up them overnight in skimmed milk and have the for breakfast topped with fruit and a bit of maple syrup.  Or to soak them overnight with dried fruit, so that by morning the dried fruit is plump and gorgeous; and there’s no need for additional  sugar!  The perfect breakfast!

Chia seeds are incredibly versatile and I consider them to be among the few trendy “superfoods” that are actually worthy of that term!

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