I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately in regards to the health benefits of chia seeds and more importantly what are chia seeds? Well, if your looking for a great way to boost your energy and add some protein to your diet, or boost your omega 3 intake, look no further.
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name “chia” as well as several trademarked names.
Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States. These gems are fantastic in so many ways, what makes chia seeds so powerful? Lets take a closer look!
Skip The Coffee And Boost Energy:
Don’t want to feel like taking an afternoon nap? Your energy levels have a lot to do with what you eat. Chia is one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein. Usually protein from items like peanut butter and some beans are incomplete, meaning you have to combine them with other foods to get the full benefit. Not Chia though, it’s protein is complete to raise your energy levels. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood-sugar balancing gel all work together to make sure you have steady, never jittery energy.
Chia Seeds And Weight Loss:
Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber in chia absorbs water and expands to form a gel that fills you up faster, so you consume fewer calories, hence weight loss. Fiber and protein slow the digestive process so hunger isn’t triggered as quickly as with sugars, starches and other simple carbohydrates. The insoluble fiber, which does not digest, aids in preventing constipation and digestive disorders by cleaning the colon.
Did you know that your body produces its very own fat burning hormone? A wonderful little hormone called leptin! Yes that’s correct, you do not need to be buying these “fat burning supplements” (which are highly processed and ironically enough, never seem to work) to lose those couple of pounds that you’ve been wanting to.
As diabetics we all know how vitally important it is to maintain a proper weight to ward off potential complications as well as help maintain proper blood sugar levels.
So lets take a look at leptin and see how you can increase levels in your very own body and start burning fat!
So what is leptin?
Leptin, also referred to as the hunger hormone, is a protein that performs a major part in the human body. This hormone oversees consumption of energy as well as expenditure of it. It plays an important role in metabolism and appetite.
The creation of leptin comes from our fat cells or adipose tissue. There’s a primary link between leptin levels and appetite. If leptin levels are higher, you feel less hunger. Probably the most interesting aspect about this hormone that quite a few individuals are not aware of is that when your exercising and dieting to shed those extra pounds, it actually has adverse effect and actually lowers the amount of leptin that we carry around. Here is an interesting study done by the NIH, you can read about it by clicking here.
Leptin And Obesity:
An individual whose hypothalamus (area of the brain that regulates our appetite) is responding appropriately has a built-in check against excessive weight gain, the leptin induced feeling of satiety.
However, if a person is obese, their hypothalamus gland can become resistant to the effects of leptin. As they accumulate more fat cells, the fat cells produce ever greater amounts of leptin, all the while making a hypothalamus that weekly responds to the hormone. Why does this happen?
How Leptin Works:
Leptin is secreted by fat cells and is received by receptors in the hypothalamus. If leptin is absent, feeding is uncontrolled and relentless. In normally healthy people, if leptin is present and receptors are sensitive, feeding is inhibited. More body fat means less food is required, and so leptin is secreted to inhibit feeding and the accumulation of excess adipose tissue. Overweight people generally have higher circulating leptin, while leaner people have lower levels. A severe caloric deficit will result in reduced leptin secretion – this is your body’s way of getting you to eat when you need energy. It’s the hunger hormone. Overfeeding temporarily boosts leptin, reducing hunger.