Skincare Nutrition: Chia Seeds
Chances are that by 2019, you're familiar with chia seeds. This little superfood has received a lot of recognition in the past few years as an excellent source of fibre, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium and potassium - that's one hard-core plant protein.
The trifecta of fat, protein and fibre means that chia seeds are digested slowly, allowing for a long, slow release of energy that keeps blood sugar levels stable and helps you feel fuller for longer. As if that wasn't good enough, magnesium levels in chia balance cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, and because they're high in potassium (they have twice as much potassium as bananas) chia seeds help to reduce bloating.
So yeah, if you didn't already know, chia seeds are kind of a nutritional wonder (hence "superfood") and because they're relatively tasteless you can add them to just about anything. They also absorb liquid easily which make them a great egg substitute in vegan baking and, if you haven't tried chia seed pudding before, you're seriously missing out.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of healing food. The idea that consuming real ingredients can keep our bodies and brains working properly, potentially even boost our moods, is pretty wide spread; as Hippocrates said "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". If our bodies benefit from what we put in them, it follows that our skin (the body's largest organ) can benefit as well - which raises the question: can you eat your way to better skin? We think the answer is definitely yes, and chia seeds look like a good place to start. Here are 4 skincare benefits of chia seeds:
1. Omega 3s
Omega 3 fatty acids are an anti-inflammatory, which means they enhance brain and heart health. It also means they can combat wrinkles, acne and dryness, as well as strengthen hair and nails. Most high level Omega 3 foods - eggs, dairy products, oily fish - aren't vegetarian/vegan so chia is a great plant based alternative.
One 25g portion of chia has 157mg of calcium - that's more than a 100ml glass of milk! We know that calcium is great for bones and nail growth but did you know that calcium helps to boost your skin's cell turnover rate and moisture levels? True story.
When we think of antioxidant rich foods, most people think of dark berries. While chia seeds may not be as pretty as a handful of fresh berries, they have three times the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries. Antioxidants help cells defend against free radicals, which can damage cells and skin tissue, resulting in wrinkles, lines and loss of volume.
By now it's pretty clear that chia is a godsend for the vegetarian/vegan crowd, but beyond satiation, protein is also extremely important for healthy skin. Collagen, the main component of connective tissue and what keeps skin firm and smooth, is made up of amino acids from protein. Collagen is found in a lot of anti-aging products and was something of a buzzword when injectables became a thing, but instead of adding another step to your skincare routine (or considering injections), it makes a lot more sense to boost your own collagen production.
If you haven't already, we definitely recommend giving chia seeds a try. There's a lot to be gained from these little seeds, and luckily the internet is brimming with chia seed recipes these days. If you're not sure where to start, one of Ingrid's latest obsessions is a chia seed drink that she discovered in Costa Rica at the local organics store- just blend desired amounts of papaya, orange juice, banana and chia together. Give it a shot and let us know what you think!