Chia Seeds: A Dieter's New Best Friend?
Whether you want to fit into your swimsuit this summer or you just want to be able be seen in public in your new favorite pair of shorts, then you are probably looking for a quick, easy way to lose a few pounds in the next couple of months.
There are many diet plans you can follow and many expert tips that can help you lose that extra weight, but recently a secret super food has come to light. Not only will it help you lose weight, it is healthy too.
Remember the chia pets that you had as a kid? Chia seeds, the same seeds that are used to grow chia pets, are gaining in popularity as the next great dieting secret.
The Truth About Chia
Chia seeds really are good for you. Grown in Mexico, they have been used as natural energy boosters for thousands of years. The Aztecs and Mayans used them to increase their stamina and energy. They consumed them by mixing them with water and drinking them and also grinding them into flour, mixing them into their baked goods.
Chia seeds are one of the few "super foods" that contain healthy fatty acids, protein, fiber, calcium, and anti-oxidents, all in a little seed.
Chia Seeds and Weight Loss
One of the ways that chia seeds help promote weight loss is that they help reduce food cravings, which is one of the primary reasons that people have a hard time losing weight. Less cravings means less calories consumed during the day.
Chia seeds also help you feel full faster. Chia seeds have the unique ability to absorb water. As a matter of fact they are able to absorb ten times their weight in water, helping you stay full and eat less.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
While research is still being done to determine the health benefits of chia seeds, preliminary research shows that chia seeds may help reduce blood pressure and even help control blood sugar, which is great news for diabetics.
Some arthritis sufferers have also reported that they have experienced less pain and inflammation since incorporating chia seeds into their daily diets.
Chia Seeds and Exercise
Athletes are fans of chia seeds because of the hydration that chia seeds can provide during physical activity. The water that the chia seeds absorbs give you more energy than normal, allowing you to exercise longer and more effectively.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
Chia seeds can be eaten raw or mixed with other foods. They are a great addition to breakfast smoothies. They can also be added to cereal and breads.
Banana Chia Seed Muffins
If you are looking for an easy recipe using chia seeds, then try this recipe for banana chia seed muffins. They contain extra fiber and are a great healthy way to start your morning.
2 ripe bananas
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 c. butter or margarine, room temperature
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 egg whites
6 oz. plain yogurt
1/4 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. flour
1 c. rolled oats
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mash ripe bananas with a fork and stir in chia seeds.
In another bowl, mix together butter and brown sugar. Add egg whites one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in milk, vanilla extract, and yogurt.
Stir in all of the remaining dry ingredients and then stir in the banana and chia seed mixture.
Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Experts say that for maximum benefit, you can consume up to an ounce of chia seeds a day. If you consume more than that you may experience somewhat of an upset stomach due to the high fiber content. In moderation, however, chia seeds really can help you lose weight, so consider incorporating some chia seeds into your daily diet today.
Copyright 2013, Creative Homemaking, LLC. This article may not be reprinted.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/barbdunn/
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