“Chia” means “strength” in the Mayan language, and nutrient-rich chia seeds, originally grown in Mexico, kept Aztec and Mayan warriors fueled during long fights. Today, chia seeds are considered a “superfood” by many, and they add a nutritional punch to salads, soups, stews, and smoothies.
Chia seeds are packed with fiber, and they’re rife with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Just one ounce of chia seeds provides you with 30 percent of your daily requirements for manganese, 27 percent of your daily phosphorus needs, and 18 percent of your recommended daily calcium intake. They also contain copper, zinc, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B, D, and E, making them a potent source of antioxidants.
Chia seeds are beneficial for your skin, digestive health, bones, and brain, but they’re particularly helpful for people who have diabetes. Here are three specific ways chia seeds can benefit your health if you have–or are at risk for–diabetes.
1. They help treat insulin resistance and dyslipidemia
A ground-breaking study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that chia seeds prevented insulin resistance in rats who were fed a sucrose-rich diet for three weeks. They also prevented the development of dyslipidemia or excessive fat in the blood. In rats who had already developed dyslipidemia and diabetes, a chia seed diet administered for two months led to complete recovery from both conditions. As an added benefit, researchers found that the chia seeds also reduced visceral belly fat, which affects metabolism.
2. They boost weight loss
Chia seeds are among the top plant-based sources of protein, so if you’re looking to burn fat, add lean muscle, and balance your blood sugar, chia seeds should be an integral part of your daily diet. Chia seeds are an abundant source of insoluble fiber, which means that they expand and form a gel when they come into contact with water. This adds bulk to your stool and helps keep you regular, and it also helps you feel fuller longer to prevent sugar cravings and feelings of hunger. Chia seeds are high in zinc, which helps increase your body’s production of leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and energy levels. And according to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, chia seeds enhance exercise performance and boost metabolism.
3. Promote heart health
Diabetes increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, but chia seeds may help reduce the risk. That’s because chia seeds contain antioxidants that reverse oxidative stress, and they’re known to reduce inflammation, regulate cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, thanks to their high levels of omega-3s.
If you have diabetes, add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your daily diet. Sprinkle them over your food, blend them into drinks, or look for chia seed recipes online. In addition to a daily dose of chia seeds, Nerveology’s Nerve Support Complex can help improve blood flow and circulation as well as reduce pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. Rich in B vitamins, powerful antioxidants, and omega-3 fats, our Nerve Support Complex is another proven way to reduce the effects of diabetes and promote better overall health and wellbeing.