By now, many of us have sprinkled chia seeds over our cereal, sipped it in our Kombucha, or blended some into a smoothie. But these healthful morsels are not just beneficial as food—chia has become a hot new beauty ingredient that boasts pretty amazing results.
Chia oil, when extracted, contains essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6, as well as antioxidants called tocopherols, explains dermatologist Dr. Julie Russak. In fact, it has highest levels of antioxidants in the oil family—beating out other popular oils like flax.
As we age, Russak explains, the barrier of the skin’s outer layer (the epidermis) becomes compromised due to thinning, weakening cells, making it harder for skin to repair itself. Topical omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which chia oil has plenty of, actually help strengthen the epidermis. “The beauty of directly applying chia oil directly to the skin is you are delivering these potent, raw nutrients directly to the source of concern, enforcing the cell membrane and improving the texture and quality of the skin,” she says.
Omega-3 is not only an anti-aging property, it’s anti-inflammatory, too, making chia oil a great remedy for irritated and inflamed skin, Nazarian says. She adds that it’s even shown success in decreasing chronic and severe itchy skin.
Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, adds that these anti-inflammatory molecules not only soothe inflamed skin, they can even reduce UV damage, to boot.
Pumpkin seeds are incredibly high in iron and magnesium, and contain a larger amount of protein than chia or flax per ounce, boasting a total of 5 grams per ounce. They even contain high amounts of anxiety-relieving trytophan, an essential amino acid, which helps improve serotonin levels.
Hemp seeds are known as one of the top sources of complete vegan protein, 13 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons.
They’re also rich in iron, chlorophyll, magnesium, Vitamin E, and B vitamins.
Chia seeds provide both calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium in incredibly in high amounts and also high amounts of water and fiber that help your body absorb these nutrients much easier. They have 5 grams of protein per two tablespoons.
Sunflowerseeds have 6 grams of protein in two tablespoons and 7 percent of your daily iron requirements. They also contain a large amount of magnesium and fiber. Sunflower seeds are also pretty easy to digest.
Tahini is a popular condiment made from the almighty sesame seed. It’s packed with amino acids and with calcium, not to mention iron, manganese, copper and magnesium. Like other seeds, they provide a large amount of zinc, which boosts your immune system health and their fiber will help keep you full. Per 1/4 cup, these seeds provide 35 percent of your daily calcium needs, which is actually more than a serving of milk.
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