Even if you never eat at fast food outlets (we can’t even call them restaurants) you are still eating fast food. Fast food isn’t just served at the drive-thru window – it is any food that is easily accessible in a bag, box, or package.
These foods quickly flood your bloodstream with calories without sufficient micronutrients. Bagels, muffins, chips, snacks, rice cakes, and whatever else you can pull out of a package is the primary reason why our waistlines are surging and diseases are hitting people at a younger and younger age.
The worst part of eating these ‘empty calories’ is that they stimulate our brain to eat more and more by increasing dopamine production. It is a self-perpetuating problem that resembles drug addiction. The more we eat – the more we need to feel good. In fact, these foods delivering instant calories with low micronutrients are the real gateway drug. To make matters worse, we are introducing this way of eating to our kids – all in the name of convenience.
If you have been following our video series with Dr. Joel Fuhrman then you understand the biggest threat to our health in America is fast food. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Part 1 and Part 2.
Finding delicious natural foods that deliver calories slowly over time with a high micronutrient load is the goal. Moderately cooked vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits are the foundation of a clean diet that keeps us healthy and slim. The challenge to eating this way is the habit of filling up on junk to get that ‘satisfied feeling’ our brain has been conditioned to seek from years of eating packaged foods (even if they are organic!).
One of the best ways to break this vicious cycle is by eating Chia Seeds.
Chia seeds are the ideal food to break the cycle of empty calorie eating. They are loaded with micro-nutrients like phosphorus (essential for strong bones), calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and selenium. Not only rich in minerals, Chia contains flavonoids like quercetin (also found in capers) that make us happy by uplifting our mood. Adding to its nutritional firepower Chia contains omega-3 fatty acids that are required for brain function and development as well as overall cellular health. Omega-6 fatty acids are found easily in the plant kingdom but omega-3’s are much harder to come by. In terms of feeding our body and mind the nutrition it needs for ideal health Chia has easily earned the reputation as a ‘superfood’.
The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
High in nutrition, and low in calories, chia seeds have been consumed for centuries and are still one of the most popular superfoods for health-conscious people today. Ancient civilizations used chia seeds for currency, religious ceremonies, and as the staple food for warriors heading into battle. “Chia” means “strength” in the Mayan language and to this day, the Mexican Tarahumara tribe is famous for its runners who drink a mixture of chia seeds, lemons, and water before running hundreds of miles at a time.
1 – Digestive Support
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 11 grams per ounce! Fiber helps balance blood sugar and keeps your digestive system moving. Chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their own weight in water, which aids in hydration, staves off hunger, and reduces sugar cravings. They encourage the growth of healthy probiotics in the intestine which supports your immune system and studies are now showing that chia seeds can even help burn belly fat!
2 – Heart and Brain Health
Chia seeds are fantastic for heart and brain health. They are one of the richest plant-based sources of polyunsaturated fats (60% omega-3 fatty acids) which helps blood pressure stay in the normal range. They are especially high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This particular fatty acid helps fight against inflammation, reduce bad cholesterol, and improve overall brain function.
3 – Skin Health
Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that neutralize free radicals from the bloodstream and have powerful anti-aging effects. They maintain your youthful appearance by increasing the skin’s collagen production. This increases elasticity and firmness creating healthy, supple, vibrant skin. Chia also helps to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and protect the skin from sun damage. This is why you are starting to see more and more skin care products featuring chia seeds as an ingredient!
4 – Hormone Helper
Because chia seeds are high in zinc, they help your body increase leptin, which is a hormone that regulates things like appetite, energy levels, stamina, and endurance.
5 – Versatile Food
Chia seeds are naturally gluten-free. They are a complete protein and are a great source of nutrition before and after workouts. They can be mixed into superfood smoothies, added to salads and baked goods, made into raw puddings, and used as an egg substitute in recipes, and much, much more.
When mixed with berries and other superfoods Chia can become an essential staple of our daily diet. Armed with a few good Chia recipes we will save thousands of dollars by saying goodbye to those overpriced ‘natural’ snack foods that do nothing to improve our health and keep us bound up in the empty calorie addiction.
Starting the day with a powerful Chia breakfast loaded with nutrition is a certain recipe for health and success! One of our favorites is the Longevity Coffee Shop’s Power Oatmeal Recipe below.