Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet.
They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain.
chia seeds deliver
a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is related to the mint. This plant grows natively in South America.Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day. They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy… in fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, only recently did chia seeds become recognized as a modern day superfood. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.
Chia seeds are a “whole grain” food, are usually grown organically, are non-GMO and naturally free of gluten.
chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants
Another area where chia seeds shine is in their high amount of antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid.
Most importantly, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer.
There are some claims online about chia seeds having more antioxidants than blueberries, but I was unable find a study to verify this claim.
almost all the carbs in them are fiber
Almost all of the carbohydrates in cha seeds are fiber. Chia seeds are 40% fiber, by weight. This makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
This gives them the ability to absorb 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach. Fiber doesn’t raise blood sugar, doesn’t require insulin to be disposed of and therefore shouldn’t count as a carb.
Theoretically, this should increase fullness, slow absorption of your food and help you automatically eat fewer calories.
chia seeds are high in quality protein
Chia seeds contain a decent amount of protein. By weight, they are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants. They also contain a good balance of essential amino acids, so our bodies should be able to make use of the protein in them.Protein has all sorts of benefits for health. It is also the most weight loss friendly nutrient in the diet, by far.
A high protein intake reduces appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50%.
Chia seeds really are an excellent protein source, especially for people who eat little or no animal products.
chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids
Like flax seeds, chia seeds are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids.In fact, chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.
However… it’s important to keep in mind that the Omega-3s in them are mostly ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), which is not as beneficial as you may think. ALA needs to converted into the “active” forms, EPA and DHA, before it can be used by the body.
they are high in many important bone nutrients
Chia seeds are high in several nutrients that are important for bone health. This includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein. Gram for gram, this is higher than most dairy products.
Chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy.
Amaranth is considered a weed by much of the world, but it has been grown as a grain-like seed and a vegetable for thousands of years. The Aztecs used it as a staple and even included it in their religious rituals. It has about the same yield as many other commonly used grains like rice and a similar nutritional value to quinoa, which makes it well worth looking into.
Amaranth isn’t really a grain and it does not have the sometimes troublesome proteins you find in wheat, rye, and barley. Amaranth flour can be used to thicken soups, sauces, and more. It can also be used with other gluten free flours and gums in baking.
The oils and phytosterols in amaranth help lower cholesterol levels, including LDL and triglycerides.
Inflammation – The anti-inflammatory properties of peptides and oils in amaranth can ease pain and reduce inflammation. This is especially important for chronic conditions where inflammation erodes your health, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The same peptides in amaranth that protect against inflammation may also help prevent cancer. The antioxidants in this grain may even help protect cells from other damage that can lead to cancer.
The fiber and phytonutrients in amaranth lower blood pressure according to some recent studies. This seed tackles cholesterol, inflammation, and blood pressure, making it an all-around good food for heart health.
Amaranth is a very rich source of protein and this protein is also highly bioavailable. The protein in amaranth is more digestible than other seeds and grains and has been compared to the digestibility of milk protein.
Vegetables and grains are often lacking in this essential amino acid. Amaranth has a good amount of lysine which helps the body absorb calcium, build muscle, and produce energy.
Amaranth is a high fiber food. This makes it filling and means it aids digestive health, cholesterol, blood pressure, and slows the absorption of sugars to let the body keep up with energy production.
Amaranth is a very rich source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, and copper. It is also a good source of zinc, potassium, and phosphorus. These build strong bones and muscles, aid hydration, boost energy, and are vital in thousands of processes throughout the body.
Amaranth is also a good source of many essential vitamins too, including A, C, E, K, B5, B6, folate, niacin, and riboflavin. These act as antioxidants, raise energy levels, control hormones, and do much more.
Amaranth may boost immune function according to some studies, probably thanks to the potent vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Amaranth helps prevent premature graying, mainly due to the minerals this seed has in abundance.
Amaranth, like most seeds, nuts, and grains, does contain some phytic acid, a phosphorus storage molecule that can bind to many minerals and keep us from digesting and using these vital nutrients. It is always better to soak, ferment, or sprout seeds and grains before cooking them to neutralize most of the phytic acid. Amaranth has a modest amount of oxalic acid, which should be avoided or only moderately used by those with gout, kidney problems, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods.Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids.
It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
Quinoa technically isn’t a cereal grain, but a pseudo-cereal. In other words, it is basically a “seed” which is prepared and eaten similarly to a grain.
Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire back in the day. They referred to it as the “mother of all grains” and believed it to be sacred.It has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only became trendy and reached “superfood status” a few years ago.
contains the plant compounds quercetin and kaempferol
It contains large amounts of flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. These are potent plant antioxidants with numerous health benefits.
very high in fiber, much higher than most grains
Another important benefit of quinoa is that it is high in fiber.One study that looked at 4 varieties of quinoa found a range of between 10 and 16 grams of fiber, per every 100 grams.
Unfortunately, most of the fiber is insoluble fiber, which doesn’t appear to have the same health benefits as soluble fiber.
gluten-free and perfect for people with gluten intolerance
Quinoa is naturally free of gluten and using it instead of typical gluten-free ingredients can increase the antioxidant and nutrient value of a gluten-free diet.
very high in protein, with all the essential amino acids
Protein is made out of amino acids. Some of them are termed “essential” because we can not produce them and need to get them from the diet.
If a food contains all the essential amino acids, it is seen as a “complete” protein.The problem is that many plant foods are deficient in certain essential amino acids, such as lysine.
However, quinoa is an exception to this, because it contains all the essential amino acids. For this reason, it is an excellent source of protein. It has both more and betterprotein than most grains. Quinoa is an excellent plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans.
has a low glycemic index, which is good for blood sugar control
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly foods raise blood sugar levels.
It is known that eating foods that are high on the glycemic index can stimulate hunger and contribute to obesity. Quinoa has a glycemic index of 53, which is considered low.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that it is still pretty high in carbs, so it is not a good choice for a low-carb diet.
high in important minerals like iron and magnesium
There are many nutrients in the modern diet that people tend to be lacking in.This is particularly true of some minerals, especially magnesium, potassium, zinc and (for women) iron.
Quinoa is also pretty high in oxalates, which reduce the absorption of calcium and can cause problems for certain individuals with recurring kidney stones.
very high in antioxidants
Quinoa also happens to be very high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals and are believed to help fight aging and many diseases.
Allowing the seeds to sprout seems to increase the antioxidant content even further.
may help you lose weight
In order to lose weight, we need to take in fewer calories than we burn.
It is known that certain properties of foods can facilitate this process, either by boosting metabolism (increasing calories out) or reducing appetite (lowering calories in).
Interestingly, quinoa has several such properties.It is high in protein, which can both increase metabolism and reduce appetite significantly.The high amount of fiber should also help to increase feelings of fullness, making you eat fewer calories overall.
The fact that quinoa has a low glycemic index is another important feature, but choosing such foods has been linked to reduced calorie intake. Although there is currently no study that looks at the effects of quinoa on body weight, it seems intuitive that it could be a useful part of a healthy weight loss diet.