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Turn Off Fat Storage and Regulate Blood Sugar With These Superfood Seeds (Plus: 3 Recipes to Try)

Craving a delicious pick-me-up, but don’t know what to eat? Curb cravings and satisfy your hankerings with a chia seed smoothie. They’re easy to make and they pack a nutritional punch: Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain five times more calcium than a glass of milk!

The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Calcium is key, because it reduces our bodies’ output of a fat-storing hormone called calcitriol. This prompts us to burn fat for fuel instead. Plus, there’s science to back it up. A study in Nutrición Hospitalaria found that subjects who increased their calcium intake lost significantly more weight than those who skipped it.

Even better? Sipping a chia-spiked smoothie can keep you full for up to four hours. The reason: When exposed to liquid, these tiny seeds swell to absorb up to 12 times their weight, creating a viscous gel that slows the movement of food through the GI tract and prolongs feelings of satiety.

In addition, the magnesium in these seeds increases cells’ sensitivity to the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin, nixing fluctuations in blood sugar that cause cravings. Indian researchers report that this can help slash blood-sugar swings by 41 percent in two weeks. Magnesium also helps convert sugar into usable fuel, doubling energy levels in just seven days.

Ready to try it? The three smoothie recipes below topped with tiny seeds deliver big benefits, like extra energy and speedy weight loss. Plus, they taste great!

Cucumber-Lemon Refresher

Ingredients:

  • 5 mini cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Instructions: Puree the first three ingredients and one cup ice. Sprinkle in the chia seeds and drink immediately. Makes two servings.

Bonus! Cucumber kills energy-sapping yeast.

Pineapple-Mango Dream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1⁄2 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Instructions: Puree first three ingredients; divide between glasses. Sprinkle with chia seeds; drink immediately. Makes two servings.

Bonus! Pineapple enzymes cut the risk of indigestion by 55 percent.

Very Berry Blastoff

Ingredients:

  • 1 1⁄2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 mint sprig
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Instructions: Blend first three ingredients on high speed until smooth. Divide between two glasses and stir in chia seeds. Chill until seeds swell and soften, about 30 minutes. Makes two servings.

Bonus! Anthocyanins in berries lower inflammation by 70 percent.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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