Seeds are one of those things in life that has me so totally blown away by the power(s) that be. The fact that a tiny little seed holds everything a new life needs to sprout is just mind-bending and so freaking cool. Add to it a healthy place to grow (soil), and the energy to draw it to the surface so that it can sprout (sunlight) and you're on your way to whatever beautiful plant that seed was destined to become; be it a giant redwood sequoia, a nutrient-rich carrot, or in this case, an adorable chia pet.
The fact that a seed is full of a budding life, means that it is super nutritious for us humans to consume.
The first three days of my blog series focused on BRIGHTENING foods for the skin. For the next three days, I've chosen foods designed to support PLUMPING to align with Beautycounter's No. 2 Plumping + Peony collection skincare line. Who doesn't want nice, supple, plump skin - it signifies a healthy youthfulness that can be had at any age. Thankfully over the years, we as a population have moved away from our fear of healthy fats and away from the fat-free era (which ironically made us fatter and less healthy). We now understand the value of healthy fats and the amazing benefits they can have for our skin. I can tell you from personal experience and experimenting with my own diet over the years, that the addition of some beauty-boosting fats in my diet has lead to smoother, plumper skin, as well as the disappearance of some seriously dry skin, especially in the winter months.
So, let's get to the beauty food of the day - CHIA SEEDS!
Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, which absorb and remove free radicals from the body. If you think of the word "anti-oxidant" it means to literally oppose oxidation. Oxidation is what occurs to your cells similar to when you leave a cut apple out on the counter - it ages and oxidizes right in front of your eyes. When cells are exposed to free radicals (some of which are naturally occurring and normal for our body), but you don't have the proper support of enough antioxidant-rich foods, you are speeding up the aging process in your body, which will eventually become evident through the appearance of your skin. Since chia seeds contain a high amount of antioxidants, they will help your body eliminate aging free radicals
These adorable little seeds are also rich in vitamins, minerals (like magnesium and boron, which both help with calcium absorbtion), and fiber - further beauty-boosters. Like any food that has gelatinous qualities (Aloe Vera is another one), chia seeds have the power to cling to toxic substances and impurities in your body and draw them out. Chia oil contains the perfect mix of essential fatty acids - the precise balance our bodies need of Omega-3 and Omega-6 - thank you mother nature!
Chia seeds also contain another inside out skin-plumping nutrient - vitamin E.
Because chia seeds can absorb 10-15 times their weight in liquid, they are super hydrating for our bodies. And on top of that, they fill us up and keep us satiated long after eating. A little chia seed snack may look small, but it is mighty! It can fill you up and give you level energy that lasts for hours. Since chia seeds are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, they promote a slow conversion of starches to sugars, which helps balance blood sugar levels - for this reason they are great for those with type 2 diabetes (or any of us looking to balance blood sugar).
Chia seeds also happen to be a plant source of complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids. And since their outer shells are easily broken down upon consumption, we can access the nutrients without having to grind them up first (like with flaxseeds). (1)
Some general tips on consuming seeds (same goes for nuts, and beans) to maximize healthy skin benefits:
- Consume them raw if possible (or very lightly heated/toasted)
- Soak them prior to eating (the harder the shell, the longer you want to soak)
- While nuts and seeds have amazing health benefits, you don't want to over-do it. Keep it to 2-3 ounces per day max.
- Beware of commercially-packaged nuts and seeds as they are sometimes cooked in hydrogenated oils. This means that not only have they been heated to high temps, but also that unhealthy trans fats (and probably lots of salt) have been added. Damaged oils are major beauty-busters. Buy raw and unsalted whenever possible.
- For delicate seeds like chia and flax, keep them out of direct sunlight. I keep mine in mason jars in the refrigerator!
- Side Note: Peanuts and cashews are susceptible to accumulating potentially toxic molds (this may be part of what makes them such common allergens). They are usually steamed to remove their outer shell, in which case they are not truly raw, also making them un-sproutable through soaking.
More on why we soak our seeds
Seeds and nuts are protected by inhibitor enzymes also known as phytates. In nature, it helps protect them from germinating before they are ready. By soaking your chia seeds (and same goes for any raw seed, nut, or bean) you help deactivate the inhibitor enzymes, making them less acid-forming for your body, and making their nutrients more bioavailable for your cells!
If you want to nerd-out on soaking, check out this helpful link. I am relatively new to soaking - it used to totally intimidate me. Now that I've done it, I realized it's super easy and just requires a little bit of planning. If you have a dehydrator - you can soak in larger batches and then dehydrate at a low temperature for easy grab-and-go snacks.
Since chia seeds literally PLUMP, I thought they were the perfect food to pick for today's focus on plumping the skin!
Healthy Girl Hack
I started making this recipe I'm sharing with you today just a few weeks ago. And I'm totally hooked. It's super easy to edit based on what you have on hand and very on-the-go friendly. Since all of us are on-the-go pretty much all of the time (who's with me!?), it's nice to have something you can throw together on your way out the door and save you from that rumbling stomach in your 10am meeting! Just make sure to stock your fridge with coconut yogurt and coconut milk, your freezer with frozen berries (also great for throwing in smoothies) and any fresh fruit in your kitchen is an added bonus, plus, of course, chia seeds! My favorite part of this easy snack, is that by using frozen berries, they defrost perfectly and keep the whole thing cold for a few hours until you're ready to eat - no refrigeration required! OR you could definitely make this ahead the night before and keep refrigerated until you're ready to head out the door.
CHIA SEED BERRY PARFAIT
(one 16-oz. mason jar)
- 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries (chop any large strawberries into smaller pieces)
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup coconut yogurt (COYO is my new favorite brand!)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
- optional toppings: cacao nibs, maca powder, cinnamon
Layer ingredients in order into 16-ounce mason jar, starting with frozen berries and banana, then coconut yogurt. Be sure that the coconut yogurt creates a sealed-in layer on the top so that when you add the coconut milk, it sits on top. Then add coconut milk and chia seeds. Gently stir chia seeds with milk to mix, but without breaking the layer of yogurt. Top with your favorite spices. Add lid and wait at least 45 minutes before consuming.
Want more chia in your life?
Click here for my recipe for a Pumpkin Spice Chia Seed Pudding
And see below for my video on chia seed pudding!
If you want to participate in our Beautycounter giveaway, just use the link below to shop. Each item you buy will enter you for a chance to win a Lip Intense Lipstick!
Thanks so much for joining me for today. Four beauty foods down, eight more to go. I'm thrilled you're here!
1. The Beauty Detox Foods, 2013. Kimberly Snyder, C.N.