Nutrition

Our nutritionist reveals the health benefits of chia seeds, cacao, coconut sugar and more

If you’re just starting out on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge you might sometimes see some ingredients in our recipes that you aren’t familiar with.

So if you’ve ever wondered what those little chia seeds are good for, or why you should choose coconut sugar over regular sugar – read on!

Our Healthy Mummy nutritionist Cheree Sheldon (who helps write the recipes for the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge) today gives us the lowdown on these super nutritious ingredients, what they are, and how they can help you on your weight loss journey.

PLUS we share some recipes that make the most of these special ingredients.

health benefits chia coconut sugar cacao

What are the health benefits of these unusual ingredients?

Ever wondered why we recommend you eat the unusual ingredients and wonderful recipes that are in our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge?

Why do certain foods assist with weight loss and what benefit could a tiny chia seed or some smooth coconut oil possibly have on your health?

To start with, you should know that every single thing you eat and drink has an influence on the body, whether it be good, super or not so great. All real whole foods are in some way medicinal and functional. This means it has a positive effect on the body and your health.

What is a real or whole food? Think unchanged, as it came from nature. Food that has avoided processing, laboratories and has not had added synthetic vitamins or minerals. Fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, meat and so on. Many of the recipes in our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge make the most of real foods, using as few processed ingredients as possible.

Essentially this means that every time you eat, you have the opportunity to eat food that serves you well and helps you achieve your health goals. This is especially true for weight loss as we can eat foods that detox the liver, encourage the body to shed excess fat, provide energy and balance hormones.

Food can even help maintain a positive mind frame and reduce anxiety.

So, let’s talk food and why we recommend you include these powerful ingredients in the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, to help you kick your weight loss goals!

Coconut sugar

delicious-healthy-chocolate-chip-biscuit-recipe health benefits chia seed coconut sugar cacao

This has a low GI (glycaemic index) at 35. This means that it does not spike the blood sugar levels in the body the same way white table sugar does (with a GI of 70).

It is also packed with minerals due to the low amount of processing needed such as iron, zinc and calcium. You can get it from health food shops, and some supermarkets.

You can use coconut sugar in the Raspberry Coconut Slice or the four ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Cacao

chocolate banana loaf healthy benefits chia seeds coconut sugar cacao

This is a natural antidepressant and stress reliever! Cacao is full of antioxidants, which keep our mind sharp and our skin young. Plus, it’s the highest magnesium food in the world, which is important in preventing cramps and headaches (hence why we girls crave chocolate around our cycles!) as well as helping with stress and anxiety.

It is the most mineral-rich superfood and is energising and mood enhancing since it increases serotonin levels in the brain (our feel-good chemical). It has almost double the ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) as acai berry and is rich in polyphenols to help reduce cholesterol and support heart health.

It’s a great way to add the chocolate flavour you love, without using highly processed chocolate which tends to contain a lot of sugar and fats.

Use cacao in the Chocolate Banana Loaf or the Raw Double Chocolate Peppermint Slice.

Coconut oil

sweet potato brownies health benefits chia seeds coconut sugar cacao

This is a rich source of super good saturated fats (90%) which are medium chain triglycerides. This means that they are metabolised uniquely and can actually help to burn fat when eaten by increasing the calories you burn.

This oil is also antimicrobial so can help kill pathogens in the body and on the skin as well. It will keep you full and reduce hunger and sugar cravings.

Try using coconut oil in the Chocolate Weetabix Slice or the Sweet Potato Brownies.

Hemp seeds

These are full of chlorophyll, all 8 essential amino acids, essential fatty acids- omega 3 and gamma-linolenic acid. They are also high in iron, magnesium and zinc, and are a great source of plant protein. They are easy to digest and are alkaline to help balance hormones. Note: hemp seeds DO NOT contain THC.

Try using hemp seeds in the Hemp Chocolate Caramel Balls or Hemp Cacao Fudge – recipes are pictured at the top of the page and are available from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Chia seeds

health benefits chia seeds coconut sugar cacao Low Fat Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Muffins

These are the ultimate seed and are thought to be the most nutritious food in the world! Full of omega 3, 6 and 9, antioxidants, protein, calcium, protein, magnesium and fibre, these little miracle seeds are anti-inflammatory, blood sugar balancing, satiating and great for detoxing the gut and bowels. They’re easy to throw into your Healthy Mummy Smoothie or sprinkle on top of salads.

Try using chia seeds in the MANY chia puddings on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge. You can also use them in the Chocolate Chia Muesli Bites or the Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Muffins

Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to all foods. Through trial and error, you will find out what works best for you and your weight loss goals.

Access thousands of recipes on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge!

challenge - busy mums

Our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge is a family-friendly, breastfeeding-safe program designed FOR MUMS to help them tackle their health and lose the baby weight. 

Every week you are given a different meal plan to follow and each month we add new recipes to our Challenge Recipe Hub. That way, you’ll never get bored and stay on weight loss track while digging into healthy, yummy recipes.

Learn more about our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge HERE

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The Healthy Mummy

We have an amazing team of 10 writers at the Healthy Mummy that are all dedicated to getting you the best stories, information and content.