Everything You Need To Know About Chia Seeds : Benefits, Facts & More

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chia seedChia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Known by its scientific name Salvia hispanica. Chia seeds originally grown in central and southern Mexico and Guatemala and are highly valued for their medicinal properties and nutritional value.

Chia seeds are considered one of the most popular superfoods on this planet as they are easy to digest and a great ingredient known for its versatility for it can be added easily to recipes.

The chia seed are rich in nutrients and densely contains energy boosting power. The Aztec warriors consumed chia seeds for high energy and great endurance. The wonderful benefits of chia seed are even greater than we realised.  

Nutritional Value

Source of rich dietary fibre, Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids, protein, vitamins and minerals such as essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including zinc, potassium, calcium, copper, sulphur, iron, iodine,  magnesium, manganese, niacin and thiamine.

health benefits of chia seed
image via : draxe.com

100g Chia Seeds Contain:

Calories- 486Kcal
Carbs- 42g
Fiber- 34g
Fat- 31g
Protein- 17g

Chia Seed Facts: 

1. Chia Seeds Are Packed With Rich Antioxidants

image via: goodfoodeating.com

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants. These high amount of antioxidants help to protect the sensitive fats in the seeds  from going rancid.

Studies show that chia seeds contain total natural phenolic (antioxidants) concentration and the antioxidant activity has shown to stop up to 70% of free radical activity.

Although the supplements, other substitutes for antioxidant are not very effective, receiving the healthy antioxidants from foods like chia can have positive effects on your body.

Antioxidants present in chia seeds improve skin’s repair systems, and prevent further damage by fighting the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and could lead to to ageing and diseases like cancer.  

2. Natural Blood Sugar BalancerControl Diabetes

Chia is super-high in fiber as almost all the carbs content in chia seeds are fiber. Being high in dietary fiber, chia has the ability to absorb 10-12 times their weight in water.

Fiber content present in chia seeds has wonderful effects on your health and has the ability to balance the insulin levels of your body. Due to the presence of high fiber content and healthy fats flax and Chia seeds can be a natural blood sugar balancer.  Chia seeds also help promote bowel movement. Chia is known for curbing hunger and suppressing appetite, which can also lead to weight loss. It happens because when you eat chia seeds you feel full quicker as it absorbs adequate amount of water and expands immediately in the stomach.  

Chia seeds when consumed create a gelatin-like substance in the stomach. The soluble fiber in chia seeds helps produce gelatin-like substance and  supports the growth of probiotics promoting healthy gut.

3. Chia Seeds Are High in Quality Proteinchia-seed-pudding

Chia seeds really are an excellent source of protein and essential for people who eat a little or no animal products at all. Chia seeds contain 14% protein by weight and are a very great source as compared to other plants.

Chia seeds have maintained a good balance of essential amino acids required by our body.

The presence of high quality protein in chia seeds helps provide all sorts of health benefits to our body.  This high quality protein is the  most weight loss friendly macro-nutrient in the diet, by far and its intake can drastically reduces appetite and cravings by 60%.

4. Build Muscle and Help You Lose Weightweight-loss-diet

Chia seeds also rank among the top plant based sources of protein.  This is another reason this super seed is great to consume for those trying to put on lean muscle, burn fat, and balance blood sugar levels.

Chia seeds pack a powerful antioxidant punch to help replace some of those nutrients lost when exercising. They’re high in essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron and niacin.

One of the characteristics that make chia so unique is that it can absorb up to 10X its own weight in water.  Because of this, chia seeds can prolong hydration and improve nutrient absorption of electrolytes.  This also slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer reducing sugar cravings.

And because chia seeds are also high in zinc, they help your body increase leptin. Leptin is a key hormone that regulates your bodies appetite, how your body spends energy and regulates how your energy levels! It also improves stamina and endurance, making chia a great source of nutrition if you are looking to get in shape.

5. Dental Healthdental-health-chia-seed

Chia seeds  are packed with calcium, Vitamin A, phosphorus and zinc. This is the reason they are considered among top foods to help your teeth. Calcium is fundamental and the building block of your teeth and necessary for tooth health.

Zinc helps prevent tarter by keeping plaque away from mineralizing onto your teeth. The antibacterial property of zinc keeps bad breath & germs away. Vitamin A and phosphorus present in chia seeds are also important for strong teeth and a healthy germ-free mouth.

6. High In Omega-3 Fatty Acids-Improves Heart Health

Chia-seeds-for-heart-health
image via: goodfoodeating.com

Like flax seeds, chia seeds are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia seeds has the ability to reverse inflammation,lower blood pressure and  regulate cholesterol. Thus consumption of chia seeds is  extremely beneficial for heart health.

Chia seeds are quite high in healthy fats boasting more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Linoleic, a fatty acid present in chia helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Hight Omega-3s present in chia protect your heart by lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and inflammation. Inflammation can cause damage to blood vessels contributing to heart disease. So regular consumption of chia seeds helps  boost and protect your heart and reverse oxidative stress level as well.

7. Fight Cervical & Breast CancerBreast-Cancer

Chia seeds are rich in alpha lineic acid (or ALA)-an Omega-3 fatty acid. Recent study and research show that alpha lineic acid, ALA halted the growth of cancer cells responsible for both breast and cervical cancers.

It was found that alpha lineic acid, ALA present in chia completely destroyed the cancer cells without causing any damage to the normal healthy cells.   

8. Stronger BonesCalcium-for-Bones

Chia seeds contains 18% of the recommended daily amount of calcium required for the body.

Calcium is fundamental element in the development of strong bones and helps maintain bone strength and mass. Chia seeds also contain boron which is another essential nutrient for bone health and strength.

Boron present in chia helps metabolize calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for growth of strong bones and muscles.

9. Energy Booster & A Great Sports Drinkchia seed water

The legends like the Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds to fuel performance back in the day.

According to the study, the two athlete groups showed no difference in their extreme performances, each group provided with carb loaded with gatorade and chia seeds respectively.

This study proves that consuming chia seeds can be a great replacement for energy drinks and might help athletes “carb load” for endurance events and strenuous physical workout while increasing their level of nutrients and decreasing their level of sugar. By adding a serving of chia seeds in your diet, can help boost your metabolism.

10. Help Prevent DiabetesChia seed for Diabetes

Chia seeds are proven to halt diabetes and reverse the conditions. Chia seeds are packed with alpha-linolenic acid and fiber. Research and studies show that chia seeds can be very helpful in preventing metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia (excessive fat in the blood) and insulin resistance which are known to be the main factors in the development of diabetes.  

When scientist experimented on healthy Wistar rats it was found that-

  • Eating chia seeds completely halted the onset of dyslipidemia and insulin resistance in healthy Wistar rats. In addition, the blood levels in the rats didn’t show any change at all, in spite their 65% of diet contained sugar for 3 weeks!

When scientist experimented on dyslipidemic and diabetic rats it was found that-

  • The rats completely recovered by eating chia seeds as these seeds help reverse the conditions.  It was also discovered that the dietary addition of chia seeds also reduced visceral adipose tissue.  Visceral adipose tissue-  a component of obesity and a “belly fat” tissue that effects the metabolism of the body.

How To Incorporate Chia Seeds Into Your Diet chia-seed-smoothie

Chia seeds give a mild nutty taste and due to its versatility they can easily be added to any recipe, from pudding to your favourite smoothie.  Grinding or Soaking chia seeds is the best way to get the complete benefits from their vitamins and minerals.

How To Consume Chia Seed: Raw or Soaked ?chia seed benefits

You can eat chia seeds either straight raw or soak them before consuming. You can eat a spoonful of chia seeds straight-whole-raw and can receive a “energy-packed” punch, but beware – they do tend to stick in your teeth and makes it difficult to chew and swallow!

But if you soak them, they sprout and release “enzyme inhibitors” that  provides protection to the seed. This makes it easier for your body to digest in addition you can access the rich nutrients present in the seeds.

Tip- Soak chia seeds before adding them to your favourite healthy recipe or smoothie to get the amazing benefits.

How to Soak Chia Seed: benefits of chia seed

To soak chia seeds simply mix chia seeds with water. The correct ratio of chia to water should be 1:10. That would be around 1.5 tablespoons chia seeds in one cup of water. To get the correct consistency before you consume soaked chia seeds, that is not too sticky or watery, let them sit for about half and hour to 2 hours.

As chia seeds have the capacity to  hold up to 12 times its weight in water, they are great to prevent dehydration.

Tip- Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep you hydrated if you  are eating chia seeds straight without soaking, for they absorb water from your body during digestion.  

How to Grind Chia Seed:use of chia seed

Take the chia seeds simply mixed with water in soaked form or add the grind chia seeds in your favorite healthy recipes and smoothies besides pleasing your taste buds.  You can grind chia seeds in a coffee grinder to simply break down the hard outer shell.  After grinding, you can add chia seed flour  in most gluten-free recipes like breads, muffins, pancakes and even pastas.

Tip- When pulverized, always store grind omega-3 rich chia seeds in a sealed, glass container in your refrigerator or freezer.

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