Chia Seeds are a well-known source of vitamins and minerals. With their pleasant nutty flavor, these seeds are often used to lose weight and reduce appetite; but that’s not all, continue reading to discover 10 reasons why these tiny seeds should be part of your diet today.
What are Chia seeds?
Chia (Salvia Hispanica) is a flowering plant from Central America. Its seeds are rich in carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and were already used by Mayan and Aztec civilizations, but long forgotten after the arrival of Spanish colonizers, which was also the fate of other flowering plants such as Quinoa or Amaranth. Luckily, in the 21st century, many people have worked towards making sure these forgotten and nutritious plants are recognized again for their value.
What are Chia seeds for?
These particularly small seeds have become really important, mainly because they’re a great source of Omega-3. In order to absorb the fatty acid nutrients, the seeds must be ground or chewed.
Besides, their high level of fiber makes it the ideal remedy for constipation, and a great ally when battling cholesterol.
The Miraculous Properties of Chia seeds.
The etymology of the word “chia” has its origin in the Mayan language, and it means “Strength”. This probably is related to the fact that this ancient civilization already knew the hidden properties of these seeds.
They can be easily added to any meal: from salads, sauces, pastas, and rice dishes, while hardly changing their flavor, to sweet pastries, cakes, donuts, muffins, and basically anything you can think of.
These tiny bombs are full of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that help against fat production as well as controlling body weight, and are very easy to use.
Chia seeds are gluten-free, with plenty of antioxidants, Omega-3 in higher quantities than other seeds, and they are also an excellent source of fiber.
• 5 times more calcium than milk.
• 3 times more antioxidants than cranberries.
• Triple the amount of iron found in spinach.
• Twice the fiber of oats.
• More than twice the amount of proteins found in any vegetable.
• And even more potassium than bananas.
10 Incredible Benefits of Chia seeds.
1 Control cravings.
The seeds provide a feeling of satiety thanks to its high content of fiber. It’s recommended to grind the chia seeds and hydrate them, as well as having them for breakfast. One recipe I usually make to take advantage of all of their properties is mixing chia with kefir for a morning, healthy breakfast. (1)
2 A pleasant taste that doesn’t change the flavor of other foods.
The Chia seeds have a nutty flavor, but it’s something far milder. Just as we mentioned before, one of its benefits is that you can mix it with other foods and it won’t change their flavors. We should try new recipes and mix it up, leaving that classic salad behind us. The Chia seeds are a great addition to most recipes.
3 Great for staying hydrated.
These seeds can absorb and retain 10 to 12 times their weight in water, which is why they’re considered small water reservoirs once ingested, helping to keep the body hydrated when needed.
4 Their high amount of antioxidants helps against aging.
The seeds are basically an Anti-Age product, a real superfood that helps against the symptoms of hot flashes (menopause), stress, and any other symptom related to our current lifestyle. According to studies, the Chia seeds are capable of stopping about 70% of the free radicals’ activity in the body (2)
5 A great source of Omega-3.
As we already mentioned, this is one of the main benefits of the Chia seeds, they even have more Omega-3 than some fish, but always keep in mind that in order to fully take advantage of the fatty acids you must grind or chew the seeds.
6 Weight loss allies.
As mentioned in one of the previous benefits of the Chia seeds, their high content of fiber keeps us satiated. In addition, the Omega-3 helps to control the cholesterol levels and to burn fat, which also contributes to the gastrointestinal transit and, despite having plenty of calories inside, when digested, the seeds can be considered part of a hypocaloric diet thanks to its considerable amount of water. (3)
7 A great source of Energy.
All those vitamins and minerals make them a real injection of energy and vitality for our body.
8 Help to gain muscle mass.
The seeds are excellent for regenerating muscle tissue thanks to their high amount of fibers and proteins. Besides, their energy value improves the overall performance of the musculoskeletal system, so it’s highly recommended for athletes.
9 A natural remedy for joint pain.
The fatty acids found in the Omega-3 that these seeds contain have high anti-inflammatory properties, so they are really helpful when treating joint pain cases.
10 Detoxifying properties.
Last but not least, Chia seeds can eliminate liquids and toxins in our body, help regulate intestinal flora and prevent cellular oxidation, so they are a great purifier and cleanser for our bodies, as well as a source of health and youth.
Some recommendations about consumption and contraindications:
How to consume Chia seeds.
Even though this was already mentioned, remember that Chia seeds must be ground or chewed. Many dietetic and healthy stores usually sell the seeds already ground as some form of supplement, but we can always grind them using a glass blender.
In order to completely take advantage of their benefits, it’s recommended to hydrate the seeds and consuming them raw. (5)
Chia seeds contraindications.
Chia is mainly used for weight loss, high cholesterol, and constipation. Almost everyone can consume the seeds, but remember to never go over the maximum daily amount, which is about 30 grams (or 3 tablespoons), because their high fiber content may cause gas, bloating and diarrhea.
The seeds could also have unexpected reactions to certain medications, so if we are planning to consume them while taking some medication, then it’s advisable to ask your doctor before doing so.
As for diabetes, while the seeds may be consumed normally, they could also alter the effect of insulin and its medication, so the levels should be kept in check and always make sure to measure blood glucose regularly.