Extraordinary Benefits of Chia Seeds
“Chia” means strength, and according to folklores, these tiny black and white seeds were used as an energy booster by the ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations. Chia seeds are the edible seeds that originate from the desert plant, Salvia hispanica. These seeds are native to Mexico and belong to the mint family. They are a form of concentrated food that consists of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and other essential nutrients.
Chia seed is a whole-grain food that is unprocessed and, unlike flaxseeds, can be absorbed by the body as seeds. As per WebMD, here’s chia seeds’ nutritional profile, “one ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, with additional vitamins and minerals”.
Benefits of chia seeds to your health
Aids in digestion
Chia seeds have very rich fiber content. Fiber serves as an excellent agent for digestion and helps prevent bowel-related ailments like constipation. It helps regularize bowel-movements in the body. Fiber also helps relieve bowel inflammation, irritability, and helps in regulating cholesterol levels as well.
Supports weight management
Seeds are the new superfoods that are not only rich in fiber-content, omega-3, omega-6, and other essential fats but are also very low in calories. A small quantity of chia seeds, when mixed with nuts and dry fruits or included in smoothies/shakes, provide energy and can help keep your stomach full for longer periods of time. Since these seeds can soak a lot of liquid and expand in the stomach, it helps in curbing hunger pangs, thereby suppressing the appetite and warding off untimely cravings. This further helps in preventing binge-eating while facilitating weight-management in the long run.
Assists in the functioning of the nervous system
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the proper functioning of the body. One of the highest sources of plant-based omega fatty acids, also known as Alpha-Linolenic Acid (AHA) is chia seeds. These are a part of polyunsaturated fats which are good fats and extremely vital for the proper functioning of the nervous system of the body.
Helps maintain a balanced nutrition
Chia seeds are loaded with vital nutrients and are an easy way to give your daily diet a quick boost. These seeds are full of antioxidants that help the body fight against inflammation, development of cancer cells, pre-mature- aging and age-related cognitive decline. Two spoons of chia seeds a day can provide for 30% of your daily manganese requirement and 18% of your daily calcium requirement.
Promotes overall good health
According to some studies, consumption of chia seeds helps increase the healthy blood sugar levels, HDL levels (good cholesterol) and reduces the level of triglycerides (blood fat) and LDL levels (bad cholesterol) in the body. These seeds can safely be consumed by diabetic people and can also aid in maintaining improved heart and bone health.
Omega-3 fatty acids help decrease the risk of thrombosis and arrhythmias that may lead to a stroke or sudden cardiac arrest. Chia Seeds consist of minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus and calcium, which help improve bone mineral density. Chia seeds are gluten-free and can be consumed by people who are allergic to gluten.
How to add chia seeds in your diet?
After chia seeds are soaked in water, they bear a distinct texture. They expand in size and become softer with a silky, velvety texture. Chia seeds can contribute to a fresh dimension in your cooking. You can best enjoy chia seeds when added to smoothies, shakes or cold coffees.
You can also:
- Sprinkle chia seeds atop salads as a dressing
- Add them in dips and accompaniments
- Use them in making bread, muffins or granola bars
- Add them in cereals or trail mixes
- Mix it with water and drink on an empty stomach every morning
- In vegan baking, chia seeds can be used as a substitute for eggs
- Consume the seeds in its raw form
Chia seeds are easily available at most online e-commerce stores. Opt for chia seeds that are 100% natural, pesticide-free with no added color and preservatives. Due to its multiple health benefits, it makes an excellent ingredient in cooking and adding to other foods and beverages. Enjoy these seeds for their unique flavor and to boost the fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3 content in your regular diet.