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Sep 28, 2017
by Vivant Skin Care
It may not look like much, but the tiny chia seed is actually the epitome of muchness. Packed with antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, essential minerals, protein, and fiber, these nutritional giants were a diet staple of the ancient Aztecs and Mayans who gave them the name chia, which translates to “strength.” In addition to their impressive nutritional components, chia seeds help regulate blood sugar, increase your feeling of fullness, reduce inflammation, and protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes. But these mighty minis are not just good for your health; they’re also good for your glow.
Chia seeds are the richest source of soluble fiber available. When you combine these little beauties with liquid, they absorb up to 10 times their weight to form a fibrous gel, which moves slowly through the gut. This slow digestion has a dramatic effect in reducing the rate of glucose absorption, important because elevated glucose levels trigger the glycation process that damages proteins and lipids in the skin and accelerates aging.
Rich in polyphenolic content and vitamins A, C, E and B-complex, chia seeds have more antioxidant property than any other food including everybody’s favorite blueberry. Antioxidants defend against age-accelerating free radicals and encourage optimum cell function to slow the signs of aging.
Omega 3 Overachievers
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain as much omega-3 fatty acid as a 4-ounce serving of salmon. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) like omega-3 are crucial for the synthesis of lipids that are the foundation of a healthy skin barrier. EFAs also help to reduce inflammation and protect skin from UV damage.
Zinc helps fight signs of aging and acne. Calcium (a serving has more than 20% of your RDA) fortifies bones but also plays a supporting role in cell turnover and hydration. Phosphorous, copper, manganese, and iron are important for protein synthesis, as well as healthy cell and tissue function. Magnesium reduces cortisol, the stress hormone, which keeps inflammation in check. Potassium (one serving has twice that of a banana), helps reduce puffiness and bloating. All that mineral goodness is a big win for healthy skin.
Chia seeds are unprocessed, whole-grains that can be absorbed by the body in their natural form, unlike their closest nutritional rival flaxseeds, which need to be ground to deliver their full benefit. One ounce of chia seeds (about 2 tablespoons) has 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals. There’s not a lot going on in the flavor department, but that makes chia the perfect backdrop or add-in to just about anything.
Here’s a basic recipe for a nourishing chia breakfast pudding that can be easily adapted to your tastes. Top it with your favorite fruit and some unsweetened coconut to give it some extra pizazz.
Makes four servings
2 cups of milk, any variety, almond, cashew, coconut, it’s up to you.
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon sweetener of your choice, agave, honey, maple syrup (please no sugar!) You can even forgo the sweetener altogether! Still tastes great.
1 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (almond is also good)
Mix it all together until the seeds are completely coated. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. We like to make it in the evening, so it’s all ready to go in the a.m. Give it a stir before serving, then top it with your favorite fruits, nuts, pomegranate seeds, coconut, granola. Whatever you like.
For more ways to incorporate chia into your diet, try this link from our friends at Food & Wine.
Awesome info! Keep it coming! I love to read your blog! So informative! I’m off to the grocery for Chia seeds!
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