In this day and age of celebrity culture and 24/7 media exposure, people are made more conscious than ever of their body image. How much a person weighs is an integral part of this image, and the demand to lose weight and stay slim is greater than it has ever been before. Yet this is also a time of record incidence of obesity and diseases related to it, such as heart disease and diabetes. Hundreds of quick fix products and fad diets saturate the market, each one promising fast results for little or no effort. Unfortunately, such quick fixes rarely work, and often risk damaging a person’s health even further. What people need to know is that the only real way to lose weight and keep it off in a healthy manner is by living a healthy lifestyle. There is still no substitute for plenty of exercise and a well-balanced diet.
Knowing what healthy foods to eat is half the battle. A diet filled with functional foods, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, are a good start. There are also a group of all natural foods known as ‘superfoods’, which are very densely packed with nutrition. One of the most ‘super’ of these superfoods is the humble chia seed.
The health and nutritional value of the chia seed has been recognized since the time of the ancient Aztecs, when their people would harvest them from the salvia hispanica plant. They were so highly regarded and valued that they were used as currency and to pay taxes and tribute. The warriors of those times prized the endurance and stamina that they imparted, and would susbsist on nothing but chia seeds during their long treks through the jungles of South America.
Those same properties of the chia seeds that made them so prized by ancient civilizations are the same reason they have found new acceptance in the modern world. The chia seed, aside from being packed with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, also have special properties that make it a dieter’s dream food.
For starters, the amount of nutrition that a person can get from a chia seed is staggering. It is rich in dietary fiber, protein, carbohydrates, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. It also has significantly large amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, and potassium. Dietary calcium in particular has recently been shown to help fat and weight loss. To have this much nutrition packed in such a small seed is good enough reason for dieters to want it, but this is not all that the chia seed offers.
When exposed to enough water for a long enough period of time, the chia seed begins to turn into a gel. Chia seeds can absorb up to ten times its dry weight in water, thanks to the unique structure of its fibers. When this gel-like state is achieved in a person’s stomach, the chia’s true weight-loss mechanism goes into effect. The gel effectively becomes a barrier between the intestine’s dietary enzymes and any carbohydrates that have been consumed. The presence of this barrier slows down the conversion of the carbohydrates into sugar. The result is a steady stream of energy and a stabilized blood sugar level. This metabolic stabilization is beneficial to diabetics, as it gives them a whole new all natural way to regulate their blood sugar levels. For dieters, the added benefit of this stabilization is the sensation of being full for much longer periods, helping to eliminate any excessive food cravings. The high dietary fiber content of this gel also serves to clean out the digestive system, allowing for better nutrient absorption.
Another reason for dieters and diabetics alike to consider the chia seed is the ease with which it can be mixed into any number of everyday dishes. While traditional health foods are often derided for their unpleasant taste and the difficulty of incorporating them into meals, chia seeds are very mild tasting and very flexible. They can be eaten on their own, or with a glass of water. They may be ground up into flour and baked into any number of dishes. Another way to eat them is to first turn them into their gel form and then add it to meals and beverages. The culinary possibilities are endless. People who are allergic to gluten or are not supposed to eat too much sodium can also benefit, since chia seeds are gluten free and contain only trace amounts of sodium. With its high nutritional value, special metabolic stabilization properties, and their culinary flexibility chia seeds are the ideal super food for anyone looking to live a healthier lifestyle.
- Chia Seed products are available retail at www.HidalgoFoods.com. Hidago Foods (USA) ships to any location within the following countries: USA, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, UK
- For manufacturers looking for Acai Berry and other functional food ingredients in bulk, please visit www.HV22.com.