Edible seeds called Chia Seeds, which are derived from the flowering plant, usually belong to two different locations. That is, Chia seeds with the botanical name Salvia Hispanica, native to southern and central Mexico, belong to the Lamiaceae family.
As well as, these seeds native to southwestern America have the botanical name Salvia Columbariae. Chia seeds, about 0.04 inches in diameter, are oval in shape, with a grayish appearance and black and white spots on the surface.
Also, these seeds are hydrophilic, that means when soaked these seeds in the water they absorb the liquid by themselves to increase their weight up to 12 times more than normal.
Foods, beverages, and snacks made using chia seeds form a unique gel structure and creates a mucilaginous coating. There is proven evidence that these flowering plants were widely cultivated by the Aztecs in earlier Colombian times and used in everyday diet.
It is also used as a staple food in all traditional ceremonies and house parties in Mesoamerican cultures. To this day, Chia seeds are grown commercially and culturally throughout their homeland of Central Mexico, South America, Guatemala, and Central America.
These tiny seeds come from the mint family so they have superfood properties. Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods in the world.
It is packed with all the nutrients that can provide essential benefits to the brain and body. There are various health benefits supported by science in Chia seeds.
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What Are The Facts About Chia Seeds?
Although chia seeds were widely and traditionally used in ancient times, not many people today know about chia seeds and their health properties, medicinal values. This segment unveils the properties of Chia seeds which is truly useful for people who aren’t aware of these medicinal seeds.
- Chia seeds contain three times more iron than spinach so it greatly supports the production of hemoglobin.
- These contain twice as much potassium as bananas, which greatly help in balancing the electrolyte. They also help keep the body’s blood pressure steady.
- Blueberries generally have the highest antioxidant content, which is why they are the superstars of antioxidants. But many people do not know that chia seeds contain three times more antioxidants than blueberries, and studies have shown this.
- Chia seeds are high in fiber that can be used to counteract the ill effects of various factors. This fiber also confirms that the blood sugar level is at a certain level.
- You can experience the feeling of fullness after consuming the foods prepared with these seeds. This characteristic supports weight loss.
- One tablespoon of chia seeds contains about 7% to 9% of magnesium and calcium, which are involved in bone repair and building processes and gives the best result.
- Chia seeds contain more essential fatty acids such as omega-6 and omega-3 than flax seeds. These have beneficial effects on heart health.
11 Proved Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Has a Massive Amount of Nutrients
The Mayan and Aztec people used chia seeds as an important part of their daily diet. And because these seeds have the ability to provide lasting energy to the body, they gave it to others as a valuable gift.
In ancient Mayan civilization the word “Chia” was taken to mean “Strength”. High in nutrients, they were an important part of the diet in ancient times, but over time their use has diminished and is consumed by people today as modern superfoods.
In recent years they’re become very popular due to their health benefits and are consumed by people all over the world as an excellent food or a snack or drink in combination with other products.
The function of these seeds is similar to that of cotton, meaning these seeds can weigh up to 12 times heavier than its original when they are soaked in water. The main reason why chia seeds are a source of so many important nutrients is that they also contain calories that are healthy for the body, including fiber.
These seeds are an important whole grain that is grown organically. And these are naturally gluten-free and GMO-free.
Although small in size, their health benefits are enormous. Listed here are the nutrients contained in one ounce, or 28 grams, of chia seeds.
- Fiber : 11 g
- Fat : 9 grams (5 of them are omega-3s)
- Protein : 4 g
- Manganese : 30% of RTI
- Magnesium : 30% of RTI
- Phosphorus : 27% of RTI
- Calcium : 18% of RTI.
- They also contain vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2, potassium, and zinc.
One ounce or 28 grams is equivalent to two tablespoons of chia seeds. Consumption of these small amounts of seeds provides the body about 1 gram of digestible carbohydrates and 137 calories.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Another important reason for recommending a high intake of chia seeds is their high antioxidant content. Seeds contain important and beneficial fats that can become rancid due to certain factors.
These antioxidants help greatly in preventing such harmful processes. Various supplements are marketed today to artificially inject antioxidants into the body, but the reality is that they contain fewer antioxidants than natural chia seeds.
Researchers also suggest that antioxidants from naturally occurring foods may have a beneficial effect on the body. On the other hand, these seeds are rich in antioxidants which fight against the production of free radicals that affect the body’s immune system and inhibit its growth.
Excessive growth of these free radicals can damage cell molecules and lead to devastating diseases such as cancer.
Contains Impressive Amount of Fiber
One ounce of chia seeds contains exactly 12 grams of carbs, but the contrast thing is that 11 of these 12 grams are actually carbs, not fiber. This fiber content cannot be digested by the body.
These soluble fibers are considered as good fiber because they do not raise blood sugar levels and expel insulin from the body. Although these fibers are related to carbohydrates they are totally different from digestible carbs.
This is because digestible carbs carry out the process of regulating starch, sugar, etc., but this cannot be done by indigestible fibers. An ounce of chia seeds has a high soluble fiber content, which absorbs about 10-12 times as much water and increases its weight.
Thus water-absorbent seeds form a gel-like structure with the help of soluble fiber. Theoretically, these would expand many times and create a gel structure that would give you a feeling of fullness and lead to lower calorie intake.
That aside, the fiber in chia seeds can keep gut plants completely healthy by feeding on beneficial bacteria that survive in the gut. Seeds contain about 40% of fiber as they gain weight, which is why they are recognized as one of the best fiber sources in the world.
Prime Source of Quality Protein
Compared to most protein-rich plants, chia seeds have a decent amount of protein.
The 14% protein in these seeds provides a variety of health benefits. In addition, they have a quality balance of essential amino acids which allows the protein content to be easily used for a variety of functions in efficient ways.
Chia seeds are recommended for people who want to lose weight because it’s a protein-rich content which can be taken through natural foods and supplements. This is because proteins effectively promote weight loss and give strength to the body.
Consuming more protein foods increases the feeling of fullness and reduces the feeling of hunger by 60% frantically. In addition, various studies have shown that they reduce the appetite for food by up to 50%.
This is why all medical methods recommend consuming high protein chia seeds. Chia seeds are considered an excellent source of protein for those who do not eat meat.
Aids in Weight Loss & Fat Burning
The soluble fiber of chia seeds dissolves with water to form a gel-like structure and then expands many times over. Due to this process of the seeds, the stomach experiences a fullness sensation, which suppresses appetite and controls the habit of frequent eating.
The panel of experts recommends that these properties of chia seeds promote many health processes such as weight loss. Numerous studies have shown that soluble fiber produces a chemical compound called glucomannan, which effectively breaks down fat molecules.
Randomized studies have shown that the combination of chia seeds in breakfast gives a sense of satisfaction and greatly restricts frequent eating habits. The protein and fiber in these natural seeds control appetite and food intake so they provide acceptable results in the weight loss process.
A study was conducted for 12 consecutive weeks with 90 overweight participants who were given 50 g of chia seeds daily in the morning. No significant changes were found in their body after 12 weeks.
Extending the study for a further 10 weeks revealed a slight change in body weight was found in 62 participants. The study also concluded that omega-3 cholesterol levels in the blood increased in everyone.
But the research team again conducted the same research by dividing patients with type 2 diabetes into two categories. The study lasted for about 6 months and each morning the first group was given chia seeds and the other group was given a placebo.
At the end of the study, the weight of the participants who ingested the chia seeds proved to be significantly lower.
Chia seeds will definitely improve weight loss in people who adopt nutritious eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. Just as chia seeds are involved in weight loss processes, they also help relieve stress, fatigue, and insomnia.
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research shows that flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which is why doctors recommend consuming more of it. But study on chia seeds has shown that they contain omega-3s similar to flaxseed.
More specifically, the omega-3 in chia seeds is higher than in salmon and similar to flax seeds. The omega-3s in these seeds are mostly Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA) so they are not directly beneficial to the body.
Conversely, only when this ALA reacts with DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA) and EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA) can they promote beneficial activities to the body.
Unfortunately, due to the different functions in the human body, ALA cannot produce these active forms. The ALA and EPA are exposed when grinding these seeds help to increase blood levels, but there is no evidence that they express DHA.
Experts consider it a low-quality omega-3 because the fatty acid in chia seeds does not provide any DHA.
Lowers the Risk of Heart Disease
The protein, omega-3s, and fiber-rich in chia seeds effectively control all diseases related to the heart. Its anti-insulin properties help control excess insulin secretion and keep it in balance.
Studies in mice have also shown that the seed’s clinical properties allow them to handle risk factors such as inflammation, belly fat, and triglycerides without any difficulty. These chia seeds improve the amount of good HDL fat needed for energy conversion.
In a study of people with high blood pressure, they were given chia seeds. At the end of the study, the researchers reported that their blood pressure was significantly lower and its effects were drastically controlled.
These seeds are famous for fighting the risk factors of heart disease. Chia seeds provide various benefits to the body by supporting the smooth movement of the heart and its health. They are also a great alternative to everyday foods and fast lifestyle.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
When the level of fasting blood sugar in the body increases it can cause type 2 diabetes. In addition, if fasting blood sugar levels continue to rise, it increases the risk of many chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
These can lead to various infections and adverse effects on the body when it exceeds its normal level. Chia seeds help to control such adverse effects and conditions. Yes, these seeds limit blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Various animal studies have shown that changes in sugar levels usually occur only after eating, so adding chia seeds to the diet can effectively stabilize blood sugar levels.
In a study conducted with participants divided into 2 groups, the first group was given plain bread and the second group was given bread made from chia seeds. In conclusion, participants who ate bread with chia seeds were demonstrated to have lower blood sugar.
Diminishes Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is often caused by injury or infection. In this condition, the affected area and the skin around it becomes swollen and red.
Although the primary cause of inflammation in the body is to prevent infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria from entering the body, these can have some detrimental effects.
Inflammation can have a major effect, especially in chronic inflammation, which is closely linked to the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Symptoms of chronic inflammation cannot be seen externally but can be detected by evaluating the inflammatory markers found in the victim’s blood. Chronic inflammation can also be caused by poor eating habits, lack of exercise, poor hygiene, and unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking.
It is enough to keep the body fit by consuming healthy foods to prevent the risks of these types of inflammatory markers. 20 diabetics were given 37 g of Chia seeds daily for about 3 months for consumption.
With the evidence of approximately 40% of their inflammatory markers hs-CRP were decreased after 90 days.
High in Most Essential Bone Nutrients
Chia seeds are rich in primary minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, protein, and calcium, which greatly support the skeletal system. Bones are stabilized when ingested these seeds, which are rich in many nutrients.
About one ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds, in particular, is high in calcium and contains 18% more RTI than dairy products.
Since these seeds are an excellent source of calcium, people who hate milk can get more than the nutrients in milk by consuming these seeds.
These seeds also contain Phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of calcium so that your body’s nutrients are not wasted.
Easy to Add into Your Diet
Chia seeds can be eaten with any kind of food as they are very bland without having too much of a particular flavor, and these make it an incredible food item at your dining table.
You do not need to grind them as finely as flax seeds, just plainly add them to the mixture. Thus it does not take long to prepare food with chia seeds. These protein-rich seeds can be soaked in water, eaten raw, or mixed with smoothies, pudding, and porridge.
These seeds can also be mixed with boiled vegetables, yogurt, rice dishes, and cereals. They are also used as a substitute for protein-rich eggs because of their ability to absorb fat and water, and sauces made with these seeds are much thicker than other sauces.
Adding these seeds (gel trait) into your diet can dramatically improve the nutritional value of the body.
Eating foods rich in essential nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids can help stave off serious illnesses such as constipation, digestive disorders, heart disease, osteoporosis, and nervous system disorders.
Intake of about 1.5 teaspoons (20 g) of chia seeds twice a day is considered as a basic consumption.