Chia seeds have been around long before they became famous as part of the Chia Pet craze (ch-ch-ch-chia). The seeds were believed to have been a staple in ancient Aztec and Mayan diets; supposedly, they’d fill up on chia seeds before heading into battle. But how is this superfood relevant today, when you're not exactly preparing to do battle? (Unless you count the commute to work, which sometimes feels like going into war.) We've got six reasons—including glowy skin and weight loss—why you need to start eating chia seeds.
Scroll down to see them all!
The 11 grams of fiber and 4.4 grams of protein in a single serving of chia seeds can be beneficial to weight loss by helping keep you fuller for longer. Plus, the seeds can absorb 10 times their weight in water, making them nutrient-dense fillers to add to your smoothies and baked goods. But don't go overboard: Any more than the recommended serving, and the fiber can start to upset your stomach.
Chia seeds are chock-full of an unsung nutrient hero: magnesium, which can help keep cortisol (a.k.a. the stress hormone) levels low. Another reason why you want more of this mineral? Low magnesium levels are also associated with headaches and fatigue. Chia seeds are also high in tryptophan (also found in your grandmother's Thanksgiving turkey), an amino acid that can help your body produce serotonin, in turn, helping you fight anxiety and have more regular patterns.
These tiny seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids—a single serving contains more of this healthy fat than a serving of salmon. In addition to helping prevent heart disease, these essential fats strengthen your skin, hair, and nails. According to the Cleveland Clinic, omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation and dryness, and increase circulation: Hello, glowy skin.
Just one serving a day packs nearly 20 percent of the daily-recommended amount of calcium (by weight, that's more than milk), making chia seeds an excellent option for people who don't consume dairy. Getting enough calcium means stronger bones and teeth, not to mention it helps boost skin's cell turnover and moisture levels, according to Livestrong.
Blueberries get a lot of praise for being high in antioxidants, but it's time to give chia seeds their due. One serving packs an antioxidant punch that's three times stronger than blueberries. Antioxidants are essential for your health, since they help your cells defend against free radicals. (Don't forget to add antioxidants into your skincare routine as well.)
Munch on these nutrient-dense seeds after a night of salty Mexican food indulgences. Why? Their high levels of potassium (they've got twice the amount of a banana) will help you look (and feel) less bloated.
Did you know chia seeds could do all of that? How do you incorporate these nutritional powerhouses into your diet? Sound off in the comments below!