Chia seeds are small round-shaped seeds that come in white or black, with no significant difference in nutritional benefits between the two colors. Originally from Mexico and Guatemala, they are now grown in different parts of the world. In addition to being traditionally ground into flour, blended into beverages, or pressed for oil, there are a number of ways to use them to attain their nutritional benefits.
Health benefits of Chia Seeds
The health benefits of chia seeds come from their nutritional values that include omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, proteins, and antioxidants. They also have a small number of vitamins, and a large number of minerals. Chia seeds can be eaten raw, soaked and added to porridge, and made into pudding. They can also be ground and used in baked goods, or just sprinkled onto salads or yogurt. Because they are able to absorb liquid and form a gel, they can be used to thicken sauces or as a substitute for eggs.
Although safe for most people, chia seeds may be an increased risk of choking for people who have difficulty swallowing, due of their ability to absorb fluid 10-12 times their weight. Therefore, it is important to consume them carefully.
There are multiple benefits of chia seeds that include:
- Strengthen bones – chia seeds are a rich source of minerals necessary for bone health, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Daily intake of chia seeds will make your bones denser and stronger and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
- Good for hearth health – chia seeds contain a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid, which is beneficial for heart health and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Support brain health and cognitive performance – A German Study found that the students who ate 5 grams of chia a day for three weeks had much better results on an academic test than the control group. As a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids chia significantly improves brain functions and cognitive abilities.
- Support digestive health – chia seeds are a rich source of soluble and insoluble fibers and as such a good cleanser of the digestive tract. Daily intake of sufficient fibers has great potential in reducing the risk of bowel cancer. Fiber from chia is also useful for balancing the microbiome, as it serves as a nutrient for good the bacteria in our intestines. Adding 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to your daily diet can help you meet the recommended daily fiber intake of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
- Can reduce inflammation – Inflammation in the body can increase the risk of developing many diseases. Chia is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid which is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
In addition, chia seeds are known to maintain stable blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of some types of cancers, keep skin healthy and radiant, and help strengthen the body.
How to Consume Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are very healthy and they make wonders for your body. But being so tiny small, the probability is that they do not get chewed while consumed, so they can get through and out of the digestive tract without being actually digested. The solution is to grind them in the coffee grinder in order to enjoy the full benefit.
Ways to consume chia seeds include:
- Grind 100 grams of chia and add them to flour when you make your favorite veggie muffins
- Grind 2 tablespoons of chia in a coffee grinder and add them to your porridge or oatmeal.
- Grind 1 tablespoon chia and 1 tablespoon flaxseed and add them to your yoghurt.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of whole chia on your favorite salad.
- Add 2 teaspoons of chia to your green smoothie.
- Take 3 tablespoons of chia, soak them and make chia pudding.
- Add 2 teaspoons of ground chia into 250 ml of filtered water, add the juice of ½ a lemon and stir well to combine, to make this healthy energy drink.
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➥ DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to replace medical treatment. The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice.