Meaning “strength” in the Mayan tongue, chia seeds are widely regarded as one of the world’s healthiest foods, and for good reason.
We know that eating chia seeds carries some wonderful health benefits – did you know that you can also incorporate these diminutive black and white seeds into your beauty regimen?
5 Ways Chia Seeds Heals & Restores:
Chia seeds are rife with beneficial compounds that do a body good. Although you can achieve many of these benefits with a diet rich in chia seeds, it is a slow process since foods need to be digested and metabolized before seeing results.
Applying chia topically is a much more efficient and targeted way to supply these essential nutrients to the body because the skin is so absorptive. The combination of nutrients in chia seeds has a rejuvenating effect on the outward aspects of beauty, with moisturizing, strengthening, and restorative properties. They belong just as much in the bathroom cabinet as they do in the kitchen. Here’s why:
1. Vitamin E
A vital element for the maintenance of healthy skin, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which neutralizes free radicals that cause premature aging. It helps to prevent and repair fine lines, wrinkles, and dry skin, while amping up collagen production. Vitamin E is also photoprotective, absorbing some UV light and preventing inflammation of the skin after exposure to the sun. It will reduce swelling, redness, and thickening of the skin, while speeding up the wound healing process.
Vitamin E also stimulates the growth of capillaries, which increases overall blood flow throughout the body. When vitamin E is massaged directly into the scalp, the increase in blood circulation helps promote new hair growth to come in thicker, stronger, and faster.
Because vitamin E is fat-soluble – stored in the sebaceous glands and used as needed – a little goes a long way. Solutions with as low as 0.1% have shown improvements in vitamin E levels in the skin; one ounce of chia seeds provides 1% vitamin E.
2. Omega Fatty Acids
A diet rich in omega-3 fats offers many far-reaching benefits for the heart, brain, and bones. Lesser acknowledged, however, is that both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play an important role in the health and appearance of the skin.
The combination of linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) in these omega fats help to strengthen the skin barrier and structural functions by stymieing pro-inflammatory molecules that tend to age the skin. Topical applications of omega fats provide a more youthful appearance by increasing the skin’s collagen, elasticity and firmness. It also assists in healing and improving skin sensitivities.
Omega fats also hold a promising cure for hair loss. A 2015 study on 120 women suffering from mild hair thinning supplemented omega fats for 6 months. The results: more than 86% of participants experienced reduced hair loss as well as improvements in hair density and thickness.
Containing 5.05 grams of omega-3s and 1.65 grams of omega 6s per ounce, chia seeds are a good source of these polyunsaturated fats. When consumed, omega fats will work their way to the epidermis eventually but digestive processes can destroy up to 60% of its LA and ALA content. A much more efficient route is to apply them directly to the skin and scalp. Interestingly, topical use of omega fats will also transport them to the rest of the body too.
Technically a metal, zinc is a trace element that is essential for many roles in the body, including normal growth and development, immune function, gene expression, and the stabilization of DNA. It is found in meats, such as beef and lamb, but chia seeds are also a good source, containing a daily value of 12% or 1.3 mg per ounce.
Zinc is also an antioxidant and so it has many reparative functions for the skin. In addition to mitigating free radical damage, it is a crucial component for healing wounds, repairing tissue, and assisting in cell regeneration. Studies on the topical use of zinc on acne, warts, boils, ringworm, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, alopecia, and dandruff, have shown that this micro nutrient is quite effective at healing and preventing these, and other, skin conditions. It is a key ingredient in mineral sunscreens as well because zinc possesses natural anticancer and photoprotective properties.
Found in every cell type in every organism, magnesium is vital to life. And chia seeds are a rich source; each ounce contains 94.97 mg of this mineral.
As far as skin treatments go, magnesium therapy is among the oldest remedies for ailments of the body – the practice goes back as far as the ancient Egyptians. Called the Dead Sea therapy, soaking in a mixture of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, chloride, and bromide was an effective way to combat inflammation and to improve skin hydration.
Modern studies have revealed that an abundance of magnesium in the water helps improve moisture levels in dry skin while reducing roughness and redness. Bathing in it is believed to work so well because magnesium is so readily absorbed through the skin.
To look and feel healthy, our hair needs both moisture and protein. Each strand of hair is made primarily from the protein keratin. It is surrounded by a protective layer, known as the cuticle, which is scaled with interlocking cells, much like the shingles on a roof. When hair is damaged by heat treatments, chemicals in perms or dyes, pollution, or prolonged sun exposure, the scales in the cuticle separate, exposing the inner layer of keratin and allowing moisture to escape.
Thankfully dry and damaged hair can be restored to its former glory by adding protein. Protein hair masks smooth and fortify the hair shaft, repairing the scaly cells and making it less brittle and susceptible to breaks. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein; each ounce contains 4.7 grams.
Chia Seed Beauty Recipes:
To achieve all these wonderful benefits, you’ll need to get your hands on some organic chia seeds. Grind up a ¼ cup of chia seeds and then soak in one cup of water for about 30 minutes to break them down and create a sort of chia goop. Apply it to the face and body, or work it into the hair, massaging it into the scalp from root to tip. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes before rinsing.
Another option is to purchase pure chia seed oil. It’s great for everyday applications – use a few drops of it directly on your skin, or add 2 to 3 drops to your moisturizer, shampoo, or bath water.
And because we can’t resist a good DIY recipe, here are some more ideas for incorporating chia seeds into your beauty regimen:
– 1 tablespoon of chia seed oil + 2 egg whites + 1 cup of yogurt
Strengthening Hair Mask
– 1 teaspoon of pre-soaked chia seeds + 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar + ¾ cup of organic honey + 6 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
– 2 teaspoons of chia seeds + one teaspoon of lemon juice + ½ cup of semi-solid coconut oil
– 2 tablespoons of chia seeds + 2 cups of cooled green tea + 1 tablespoon of organic honey
– 1 tablespoon of chia seeds + ½ cup of semi-solid coconut oil + ¼ cup of grapeseed oil + 1 cup of organic sugar + fresh strawberries, mashed
Where To Buy Chia Seeds…
If you’re ready to experience all of the great uses for this incredible natural seed, you can purchase Chia seeds from a number of places.
For best value and quality, try these Organic Chia Seeds from Thrive Market. Thrive Market is an online marketplace for the best quality natural, non-GMO foods and healthy products – nearly always at 25-50% below retail price. Read about why we love Thrive Market so much – and why we think you will too – here.