5 reasons to add chia seeds to your diet

DUBAI: Learn all about the superfoods that will help you live a longer and healthier life. Devinder Bains, personal trainer and nutrition coach, fills you in…

Chia seeds might be tiny in size, but they pack quite a punch when it comes to nutrients. Blend them into superfood smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast, sprinkle them for a crunchy topping on an exotic fruit bowl or healthy bake, or soak in water or milk for a tasty chia pudding base. Find out how they can help keep your mind and body in top condition.

High in plant-based protein

With four grams of protein in every two tablespoons (28g), chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein for non-meat eaters. Protein is key component for everything from building and repairing tissues to making enzymes and hormones. It’s also an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Although the same amount of chia contains 12g of carbs, 11 of those are actually fiber, making chia a great low-carb, high protein option for plant-based and meat-eating athletes alike.

Bone health

Chia seeds are high in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and protein — all essential for bone structure and growth. With 18 percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium in two tablespoons of chia, the amount of calcium gram for gram is higher than most dairy products. High-protein diets have also been linked to decreased bone fractures.

Anti-aging properties

Being rich in antioxidants and omega-3 oils makes chia seeds a superfood for the skin. They contribute to the anti-inflammatory properties that have been linked to both prevention of wrinkles and calming of inflamed skin. They also help treat a number of skin disorders, can help reduce acne scars and keep skin looking radiant. Chia seeds can also be applied topically by making a homemade face mask when mixed with coconut oil and lemon juice.

Brain health

As mentioned, chia seeds are stacked with omega-3 oils, which have been linked to fighting depression, improving sleep, increasing memory and concentration, protecting against cognitive decline, as well as increasing learning in children and adults with ADHD. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, which protect the brain from damage, and in minerals such as iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc which are all necessary for different brain functions.

Aid weight loss

The high protein, high fiber content of chia seeds make them great for keeping you full and away from the naughty snacks. Because of the high soluble fiber content, chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, expanding in your stomach and increasing the feeling of fullness — and in turn leading you to eat less and lose weight. Studies have shown a high protein intake can reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60 percent and the desire for night-time snacking by 50 percent.

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