Chia Seeds: Nutritional Value & Health Benefits
Chia belongs to the Lamiaceae family of oleaginous plants, which originates from Southern and Central America. The chia seed comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica. The plant is native to Mexico, and it dates way back. Aztec and Mayan cultures knew of the chia seed's remarkable properties and used it as an energy booster. Chia seeds were prompted by their high content of ω-3 fatty acids, with a potential role in reducing the risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, nervous system diseases, and inflammatory diseases. Chia seeds are increasingly popular as a gluten-free alternative, and the grain is widely available as whole seed, oil, and flour. Additionally, chia seeds are often incorporated into various food products such as multigrain bread, cereals, and nutrition bars due to their nutritional properties.
Rich in AntioxidantsChia contains many antioxidants that make the impossible possible: they slow down ageing signs, resulting in younger-looking skin, healthier hair, and can even reduce the risk of cancer. Basically fountain of youth/miracle molecules.
Full of FibreAlmost all the carbs in chia seeds are fibre. This means so many good things.
- You'll stay full longer.
- It will aid in keeping your gut health in check.
- You'll be regular! Being regular is the best!
Rare Source of Omega-3 Fatty AcidsOmega-3s are super important. They have a wide range of benefits, from fighting depression to improving sleep to reducing the risk of heart disease. The bummer is, there aren't very many foods that supply omega-3s. There's just fish, walnuts, and flax seeds. Over half of chia seed's fat is omega-3s, making it an excellent choice for all omega-related health.
Digest Quickly & EasilyOne of the best benefits of chia seeds is that they are so simple to incorporate into your diet. You don't need to grind them (like flax seeds, for example) to make them digestible. They mix well with liquids, and they are a quick but straightforward addition of nutrients to various foods.
Chronic InflammationWe all know that inflammation is harmful to the body overall. Chronic inflammation, often brought on by unhealthy eating habits and lack of exercise can wreak havoc on the body. Chia seeds are anti-inflammatory, which means adding them to your diet helps fight cancer and other illnesses like heart disease.
Help Reduce Blood SugarAnother benefit of chia seeds is that they can stabilize blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity. This reduces the chance of spikes and crashes sometimes experienced after meals. This is of great help to diabetics, in particular. Pair were adding chia seeds to smoothies, dressings, and food like oatmeal with eating non-processed foods. Doing so will be very good for you in the long run.
Better Bone HealthChia seeds have several nutrients that are vital for bone health, including magnesium and phosphorus. A single ounce of the sources also contains 18% of your recommended daily allowance of calcium, essential for healthy bone, muscle, and nerve functioning. When compared gram for gram, chia seeds have more calcium than dairy products.
Weight LossBecause chia seeds are high in protein and fibre, they are thought to be helpful with weight loss. Protein is known to reduce appetite and leave you feeling satisfied, which means less snacking on potentially unhealthy foods. If you are a snacker, read my post on healthy, high-protein snacks. The fibre in chia seeds can also help you to feel complete.
What Are The Best Ways To Eat Chia Seeds?There are several excellent ways to eat chia seeds. As previously mentioned, please don't eat them dry other than sprinkled on a salad. Here are some tasty ideas:
- Add to muffins
- Stir into salad dressings and marinades
- Thicken smoothies and soups
- Add to overnight oats
- Make puddings and jams
- Use as an egg substitute in baking