This Underrated Superfood Has Skin-Boosting Benefits

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Seeds are something of an underrated superfood. Many seeds are packed with health benefits – think flax, pumpkin, hemp, buckwheat, sesame and aramanth – but if you’re thinking about including more in your diet, consider putting chia seeds right at the top of your list. Nutritionists recommend them for their multiple health benefits, as they’re rich in calcium, iron and omega 3, and they have skin benefits, too.

Why chia is a super seed

The chia seed comes from the desert plant salvia hispanica, part of the mint family, and is thought to have its origins in Central America, where the seed was a staple in the Aztec diet. Medical nutritionist María José Crispín highlights its polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as omega 3 and, specifically, linoleic acid, which helps to reduce cardiovascular disease. Chia seeds are also rich in phytosterols which can help lower cholesterol. “The phytosterol most present in chia seeds is beta sitosterol, and as a whole, they also help to further reduce cardiovascular risk,” Crispín says.

Chia seeds are also rich in fibre, which “helps reduce cholesterol in the diet and lower blood sugar levels”, Crispín points out. In turn, it is a food rich in polyphenols, which, as the nutritionist explains, are “antioxidants that prevent free radicals that are produced in our body and help reduce inflammation, but also delay ageing and the risks of cancer”.

“It should also be noted that chia contains minerals such as calcium,” says Crispín, who explains that chia seeds can be a good alternative source of calcium for people who avoid dairy.

Chia seeds for the skin

Beyond our general wellbeing, the health of our skin can also benefit from eating certain foods – chia seeds among them. The seeds are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory effects that are great news for the skin. The antioxidants they contain also have anti-inflammatory effects, Crispín says.

Ways to start including chia seeds in your diet

Add them as a topping to natural yoghurt, fruit bowls (such as açai) and salads, or add them to a stew. Try a chia pudding recipe for a sweet treat with skin-boosting benefits.

This article was originally published on British Vogue.

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