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They may seem tiny but chia seeds are powerhouses of energy and nourishment. ‘Chia’ in ancient Mayan means ‘strength.’ Let’s look at the numerous health benefits of chia seeds.
Wholesome and easy to prepare, chia is an edible seed. It comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in Southern Mexico. There are many health benefits of chia seeds, and so are the ways in which you can devour them. You can consume them raw, as soaked in water or juice, and can even add them to your smoothies and salads for that extra crunch! For vegans, they are also an excellent substitute for eggs, because of their ability to absorb water and fat, especially while baking. Chia seeds come in two colours, black and white. Both of them contain similar amounts of nutrients like omega-3s, protein and fibre, although black chia seeds may contain more antioxidants.
Chia seeds are small in size but they are high in nutrition. A 1-ounce portion will provide you with:
Chia seeds are a whole grain food. So one of the biggest benefits of chia seeds is that they are usually grown organically and are non-GMO. With chia seeds, you don’t have to worry about consuming harmful pesticide residues.
The benefits of chia seeds are attributed to the calcium content and other trace minerals known for their role in bone health. A 25g portion of chia contains 157mg of calcium, which is more than that in 100ml of milk.
Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, which prevent the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid. The reproduction of free radicals, a natural by-product of the body, yet an enemy of it, can be prevented by these antioxidants. Free radicals can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer, which can be prevented by consuming chia seeds.
Chia seeds are a rich source of fibre, which absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach. This helps with your satiety levels and keeps hunger cravings at bay. Another benefit of chia seeds is they are a good source of protein, which can help in reducing appetite and hunger.
Stable blood sugar levels are essential for optimal health. One of the many benefits of chia seeds is that they are high in fibre, protein and omega-3s. All of these nutrients improve metabolic health, which in turn helps in keeping your blood sugar levels stable.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory effects as well as for enhancing brain and heart health. Also they contain omega-3 in the plant form, making them particulary beneficial for vegetarians/those who don’t have fish.
They are loaded with proteins, which makes them a useful source of plant protein. They also offer a range of amino acids, making them useful for those who follow a vegetarian and vegan diet. They are also great for weight loss as protein is a very friendly nutrient for this purpose.
Chia seeds are a rich source of magnesium, which helps in keeping cortisol, the stress hormone, in control. They are also known to be great mood boosters. Chia seeds are high in tryptophan, an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin, which is known as the ‘feel-good’ chemical.
Serotonin and melatonin are two hormones that are essential for your sleeping pattern. These are produced by tryptophan, an amino acid in the body. Chia seeds, being high in tryptophan, promote good sleep and relaxation. Tryptophan is also used for treating numerous sleep disorders.
One of the biggest benefits of chia seeds is that they promote great skin, hair and nails. This is because of the combination of omega-3, antioxidants, protein and minerals, including zinc, in chia seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation, dryness and increase circulation. Say hello to glowing skin!
Being loaded with fibre is one of the many benefits of chia seeds. This power nutrient can whip your digestive system into shape. The fibre found in chia seeds consists of insoluble and soluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps to preserve more water in your stool, which allows it to pass easily through your intestines. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to your stool, which helps in preventing constipation.
Unlike some other seeds, chia seeds don’t need to be grounded and can be eaten raw or even soaked. Adding chia seeds to your daily food will dramatically boost its nutritional value.
Chia seeds are a good source of alpha-linoleic acid, which help prevent breast cancer. Studies show that chia seed oil has anti-cancer properties. It appeared to reduce tumour growth and inhibit the replication of cancer cells.