How to Use Chia Seeds for Weight Loss: Health Benefits & Recipe Tips
You can gain many nutrition and health benefits from eating chia seeds, but can chia seeds make you lose weight? Read on to find out what is behind the hype of chia seeds benefits for weight loss.
Chia seeds have long been a staple food in Latin America, particularly Mexico. Now they’re finally being discovered across the world and are often recommended to people looking to lose weight. Having said that, anyone working to shed the pounds will probably soon discover that they’re an attractive target for anyone looking to sell the latest “wonder product” and even for well-meant and utterly sincere, but still questionable recommendations. So let’s look beyond the hype and talk about what chia seeds actually do.
Chia seeds fill you up
Chia seeds are full of fiber and also have a decent amount of protein for a plant product. Fiber and protein are both filling and hence stop you from feeling hungry. This can be invaluable for dieters since losing weight generally involves adjusting eating habits. It often takes a bit of practice before you finally learn to hit the sweet spot between eating enough and eating too much. This is even more true if you’re also trying to increase your activity levels at the same time, which is also often the case when people are trying to lose weight.
Chia seeds help to keep your sugar levels stable
This point really picks up from the first one. Even on a weight loss program, your body is still going to need some sugar, preferably natural sugar of the sort found in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. What you generally want is for your sugar intake to be at regular times and for it to be absorbed slowly over a longer period so it lasts until you are ready for your next meal. What can happen, however, is that it actually all gets used up quickly, leaving you genuinely hungry for more.
The fiber in chia seeds helps to slow down the rate at which your body absorbs food and in particular sugar so you avoid both sugar rushes and sugar crashes either or both of which can derail your diet. As an added bonus (and it’s a big one), chia seeds contain a huge range of vitamins and minerals. In fact vegetarians and vegans are highly recommended to look at chia seeds as a means to get nutrients usually found only in meat, such as iron and omega 3 acids.
Chia seeds absorb up to 10 times their weight in water
This is actually two benefits in one. First of all, like fiber and protein, water is filling. It stops you from feeling hungry. In fact, if you’ve been reading up about dieting, you may have learned that sometimes what we take for hunger pangs is actually a need for water rather than food.
Secondly, water is important for the proper functioning of the body. While we all probably know that many of us don’t get enough of water, the reality is that it can still be hard to get ourselves into the habit of drinking water or indeed drinking anything.
How to eat chia seeds
Chia seeds are incredibly flexible in use. Frankly chia seeds are nothing special to look at. If you eat them raw, you’ll probably find the taste is pleasant enough rather than delicious. It’s mildly nutty so assuming you like nuts (or at least can eat them), then you should be just fine with raw chia seeds, if that’s how you want to eat them. Just remember to drink a glass of liquid, preferably water, if you do eat your chia seeds raw, so your body has liquid for them to absorb.
For the most part, however, chia seeds tend to be soaked in liquid before use. The staple is actually milk rather than water, thereby creating a chia seed porridge, which can be eaten as it is or added to regular oatmeal or breakfast cereal. You can, however, soak them in pretty much any liquid you like from fruit juice to soup to salad dressing. We’ve even heard of them being soaked in coffee to make desserts. You can also add chia seeds to your weight loss smoothie. Check the berry and chia smoothie recipe.
Easy chia seed pudding recipe
To make a basic chia seed pudding, combine 3 tablespoons of chia seeds with a cup of unsweetened milk. You can use any milk you like: coconut, cashew, soy or almond milk are great alternatives to dairy milk. Add a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup to sweeten your pudding. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for at least an hour or for a night if you want the pudding for breakfast. Top your pudding with berries (for example, kiwi and strawberry) and enjoy.
To lose weight, you can use chia seeds as a healthy alternative to processed grains. For example, you can substitute chia seeds for white flour. Use a coffee grinder or a small blender to blend chia seeds until you get fine chia flour. Soft, fluffy, nutty in flavor, chia flour is great for smoothie recipes as well as baking muffins and pancakes.
Enjoy chia seeds for their health benefits and to add fiber, protein, iron and omega 3 acids to your diet.