Let’s talk about the heart. Obviously heart health is an important factor in our fitness goals. We all know heart disease is the number one killer of men, but did you know it’s also the number one killer of women too?!? That’s right ladies, cancer, diabetes, stroke….they all take a back seat to heart disease. In the past I’ve mentioned how, high omega-3 fats, high fiber, lots of anti-oxidents (like CoQ10), and a good multivitamin are all important for a healthy heart. I usually mention foods like fish/fish-oil, almonds, flax, avocados, etc as being great for heart health.
Its more than just a toy to grow fake hair on an pet sculpture! Chia seeds are very nutritious, and should be included in your diet as much as possible. You can sprinkle them on salads, in soups, into your oatmeal, or even throw them into a sauce! You may even go so far as to call the Chia seed a SUPERFOOD! (yes I DID just say that!)
Chia seeds are great because they are:
- High in omega-3 (ALA)
- High in fiber
- High in various antioxidants
- They have various B-Vitamins
- Have Calcium
- Did I mention they are high in omega 3?
The chia seed is higher in omega-3 than any other plant source that we know of, including flax. Unlike flax, which needs to be ground to maximally absorb the nutrition, chia seeds can be eaten whole!
Chia can absorb up to 30 times its weight in water. This also works with other liquids like juices. This ability can prolong hydration and retain electrolytes in body fluids, especially during exercise! A 15gram serving of chia contains about 5 grams of fiber. As we all know, fiber is great for reducing the many risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. Specifically, it helps with managing weight, cholesterol, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Chia also contains vitamins C and E, which are great antioxidants. This along with CoQ10 can also help to reduce the risk of heart disease!
The thing to keep in mind, is that chia is basically flavorless. You can add to anything from salads, to soups. Use it as part of a breading for chicken, or mix it into your peanut butter or jams to add good nutrition to you PB&J! As with all “healthy” foods, the greatest benefit comes from consuming them frequently! Try adding chia to your diet at least 3-4 times a week. Also, remember that chia should NOT replace fish/fish-oil as your main source of omega-3. This is because fish contains EPA and DHA. (the MOST beneficial forms of omega-3) No plant source of omega-3 contains much of these, so it’s always important to eat your fish! (maybe breaded or stuffed with some chia!)