5 Amazing Benefits of Soaking Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are among the healthiest and most versatile foods available to us. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, soluble and insoluble fiber and protein.
A member of the mint family, chia’s benefits can be compared to those of flax seeds. However, what’s unique about chia seeds is that they can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water.
Whole chia seeds are incredibly digestible so you can add them to salads or to your smoothies without processing them in any way. However, by soaking them, you produce a gel that can be added to your drinks, healthy puddings and yogurt to make a filling and nutrient-packed treat. To soak chia seeds, mix one part seeds to nine parts water or any other fluid base of your choice for about half an hour.
1. Soaked Chia Seeds Help You Lose Weight and Build Muscle
Chia seeds are among richest plant-based sources of protein. This makes them excellent for individuals trying to add a variety of protein to their diet, while burning fat, building lean muscle and controlling their blood sugar levels.
They’re rich in antioxidants and are also excellent sources of vital minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, iron and copper.
Because chia seeds can soak up plenty of water, they can also increase your hydration. This property of chia seeds helps slow your digestion, keeping you fuller for longer and reducing your cravings for sugar and junk food.
Chia seeds are also a great source of zinc, which helps your body produce more leptin. Leptin is a hunger regulating hormone that helps control your appetite and monitor how your body uses its energy. Zinc also boosts your endurance, helping you exercise more intensely for much longer.
2. Soaked Chia Makes an Excellent Egg and Fat Substitute
Vegans, rejoice! According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you can replace 25% of the egg or oil in your cake using soaked chia seeds without affecting the texture or taste of the final product.
Furthermore, using chia seeds as a substitute for eggs and butter or oil, increases the omega-3 fatty acid percentage in your baked treats by threefold.
3. You Feel Fuller for Longer
Since hydrated chia seeds are slow digesting, it takes your stomach a longer time to break them down, helping you feel satiated much faster. Furthermore, the process of soaking activates the seeds and makes its nutrients more bioavailable for your body. This helps control your cholesterol levels, prevents blood sugar spikes and keeps your body hydrated for longer.
4. Soaked Chia Seeds Are Easier to Digest and Provide a Healthy Energy Boost
Chia seeds have been used for centuries. The ancient Aztec athletes consumed chia seeds for the energy and prolonged hydration they offer. Soaking chia seeds enables the body to consume more water and retain more electrolytes, which is especially useful during physical exertion.
Soaked chia seeds are easier to digest and as mentioned earlier, the nutrients are much better absorbed and assimilated by the body. This is why chia is also referred to as the “Runner’s Seed”, used by athletes today to stay hydrated, increase nutrient levels in the body and sustain optimum endurance levels.
5. They Make an Excellent Dessert
We get it. When it comes to desserts, there isn’t a huge variety of textures and flavors we can play around with while trying to lose weight. This is where chia seeds can help.
Chia seed gel can be included in your favorite smoothies and cold pressed juices as a base to create a jelly-like drink that feels like a refreshing sweet treat. You can also soak them in almond milk or coconut milk, sweetened with berries and maple syrup, to make a delicious vegan pudding.
As a bonus, the mucilaginous effect of soaked chia seeds also helps in digestion, and improves bowel movements.
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