Chia, the common name of Salvia hispanica, is a flowering plant from the mint family. It is native to Mexico. It is one of the most versatile and popular ingredients eaten all over the world.
Chia seeds are valued for the medicinal and nutritional property they hold. They are easy to digest and have fewer calories. They are enriched with nutrients and act as an energy booster. In fact, they were used by warriors and runners as a fuel, because of the strength they provide.
Chia is rich in antioxidants, fiber (11g per ounce), proteins, vitamins. They are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids. They have a nutty flavor. They easily add to food, vegetables, beverages and can be mixed with water and made into a gel form.
Nutritional value of Chia seeds
1 Ounce (28 Grams) servings of Chia seeds contains:
- Carbohydrate – 12.3g
- Dietary fiber – 10.6g
- Omega-3 fatty acid – 4915mg
- Omega-6 fatty acid – 1620mg
- Protein – 4.4g
- Calcium – 177mg
- Phosphorus – 265mg
- Potassium – 44.8mg
- Sodium – 5.3mg
- Zinc – 1.0mg
- Manganese – 0.6mg
- Water – 1.4g
Chia seeds also contain vitamins A, B, E, D; iron, iodine, thiamine, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.
Benefits of chia seeds
1. Proper digestion– They are high in fiber content. Fiber, balance the insulin levels of the body. Chia seeds act as blood sugar balancer. It helps to promote bowel regularity. The fiber content in chia seeds makes people feels fuller because they quickly absorb water and expand stomach when eaten. This curbs the hunger and suppresses the appetite.
2. Healthy skin– The free radicals damage the skin cells and cause premature aging. Antioxidants present in chia seeds destroy the free radicals and speed up the repair system of skin thus, prevent the damage and keep skin healthy.
3. Bone health- These tiny seeds contain calcium which maintains the bone strength. Boron is also present in chia seeds which promote the healthy growth of bones by metabolizing magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus.
4. Boosting metabolism- consuming these seeds boosts metabolism and enhance the performance. It’s like an energy drink which athletes take. Chia seed with no sugar content, fiber-rich source doubles energy for the workout. In fact, chia seeds can be soaked in water and used as a gel. The ‘chia gel’ helps to keep the body hydrated.
5. Regulating cholesterol level- chia seeds are anti-inflammatory which help to regulate the cholesterol level and maintain blood pressure. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acid which protects the heart by bad cholesterol and lowers the blood pressure. The linoleic acid helps to absorb vitamins A, D, E, K.
6. Lose weight– chia is a good source of protein. The fiber absorbs water and makes feel fuller which suppress the appetite thus, helps to lose weight. Zinc, present in chia seeds increases leptin, which regulates the body appetite and improves stamina. Chia seeds also beneficial for body builders. High in nutrients, they provide the body with minerals, vitamins, which are lost during exercise. They also block the calorie absorption thus maintaining strength and weight. You can also use Stirt Diet used by Adele & other Celebs to Lose weight in a Healthy Way!
7. Fights cancer- chia seeds are rich in alpha lineic acid which causes death of cancer cells. ALA is an omega-3 fatty acid. It destroys the cancer cells. It is much beneficial for women because it prevents breast and cervical cancer. The anti-oxidants present in chia seeds destroys the free radicals which promote the growth of cancer cells.
8. Dental care- chia seeds are rich in calcium, vitamin A, and zinc which helps mouth to be infection free. Calcium, vitamin A, phosphorus makes teeth strong. Zinc has antibacterial properties that inhibit plaque and bad breath germs, keeping the mouth healthy.
9. Diabetic control- Chia seeds prevent the excessive fat in blood and insulin resistance, which cause diabetes. They are rich in fiber and alpha-linolenic acid which help to prevent the metabolic disorders. The fiber content balances the insulin levels and promotes healthy stool. Learn 21 Easy ways to Lower down your Blood sugar Naturally!
10. Easy to digest – chia seeds are free of gluten and grains. They can be digested as a whole. they are much easier to digest than flax seeds because of the fewer calories they contain.
Tips to include chia seeds in your diet
The best way to consume chia seed is to soak them and enjoy the gel form. You get the best results out of it, nutrients are fully exposed to your body. Here are few tips how you can enjoy the benefits of chia-
- You can mix raw chia seeds with any wet food like oatmeal, yogurt, which make them gelatinous and easy to digest.
- You can mix chia seeds with sandwich ingredients like with peanut butter, cream.
- Sprinkle them over salad or veggies, which gives a crunchy taste.
- Make a porridge by cooking them with milk or fruit juices.
- You can also blend it and make flour and mix it with regular flour of chapattis you eat.
- They can be used to make gravy of soups and sauces, giving a nutty taste.
- Do not eat raw chia seeds. They expand in the esophagus and block the path.
- Make sure that chia seeds are mixed with enough liquid before eating, allowing them to expand.
- Consult your doctors if you are under any medical supervision.
- In Pregnancy special care must be taken, because everyone’s body does not respond same to them.
- As said excess of everything is bad. Eat precisely and limited, following the rules.
Bottom Line: Despite their small size, these seeds are one of the healthiest food on earth. They are enriched with fibers, proteins, Omega-3 fatty acids and several other important micronutrients.