Chia plant is one of the health foods that enjoyed overnight fame. In fact it is considered as one of the super foods and is sold in bulk, online and at the health food stores. What could be the reason for such a huge success? Let’s find out.
The origin of Chia seeds dates back to Aztec and Mayan cultures. This desert plant called Salvia hispanica with edible seeds, originated from Mexico and today it is grown abundantly in Australia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina and Guatemala.
The “Chia” is a word used for strength. The ancient folklore tells us how Aztec and Mayan cultures got strength and energy from tiny black and white seeds that we know by the name of Chia seeds. They consumed it as a staple food.
Chia seeds are whole-grain foods that are unprocessed and can easily be absorbed by the body. These tiny, nutty flavored seeds are packed with powerful antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, proteins and vitamins. It contains some essential minerals like calcium, manganese and phosphorus.
2 tablespoon (one ounce) gives you 139 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of dietary fibers and 12 grams of carbohydrates. The same quantity of chia seeds fulfills 18% of your daily requirement of calcium.
These seeds are abundant in omega-3 fatty acid, 3 ½ tablespoon would provide you with the same amount of fatty acids found in 32 ounces of salmon fish. It also contains omega-6 fatty acids. Both of these nutrients are essential in building up new cells, regulating various processes of the body and also for keeping hair, skin and nails healthy.
Beneficial for Losing Weight
Chia seeds became successful because of their ability to help people lose weight. They are famous for suppressing hunger and at the same time providing the body with powerful nutrients.
How do these seeds work? When you eat chia seeds they expand in the belly, giving you a feeling of fullness, as a result you eat less and shed pounds. The best part is that these seeds are gluten free, so they are easily tolerable and are ideal for people with gluten intolerance.
However, it is suggested not to completely rely on these seeds for weight loss. Take a low caloric diet and take physical activity for more beneficial results.
Chia Seeds Vs Whole grains
As mentioned earlier chia seeds are abundant in powerful nutrients required daily by our body. Michael Roizen, co-author of You Staying Young suggests, “Use chia seeds in foods, not as a supplement, but as an alternative to processed grains like white bread because it is a much healthier whole grain that is great-tasting in foods like muffins,” he also recommend that at least 20 grams of these should be consumed daily to reap maximum benefits. The author also claims that the seeds are abundant in powerful antioxidants; they contain more antioxidants than any other whole food, even more than blueberries. These powerful antioxidants save you from cancer.
Good Source of Natural Fiber
It is recommended by the American Dietetic Association to consume 20 to 35 g of fiber every day. On average Americans consume only 12 to 15 g. Containing 11g of fiber in one ounce, chia seeds can deliver 42% of the recommended daily value of fiber.
Fiber not only helps you to lose weight but it also aids in digestion and save you from constipation.
Saves you from Osteoporosis
An ounce of chia seeds contains three times more calcium than a glass of skimmed milk. Calcium deficiency can caused our bones to become fragile and can also lead to osteoporosis. You can save yourself from this problem by increasing the consumption of chia seeds. Their high calcium content will improve your bone health by strengthening them.
Good for heart health
Consumption of chia seeds shows a positive effect on the heart health. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce bad cholesterol and therefore promote heart health.
The omegs-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds help cure depression and mood disorders. A study conducted on patients with bipolar disorders and depressive disorders revealed that these seeds can treat these symptoms effectively. It supports mental health by improving the brain functions.
Regulates blood sugar
Chia seeds are effective in regulating insulin levels. The abnormal production of insulin can be treated effectively by consuming these seeds as a result blood sugar is also controlled.
How to use Chia seeds
Chia seeds have a long shelf life and they can be consumed over a time period of two years, even without refrigeration.
You can sprinkle chia seeds on your breakfast cereals, add them to your rice dishes, sauces, vegetables, yogurt or even you can bread your fish and chicken with them that you want to bake. Chia seeds are also used in soups to thicken them. Or you can just chew on them as a healthy snack. You can also make gel with them by mixing them in water and replace eggs with this gel in various dishes.
If you are allergic to foods like sesame seeds or mustard seeds or you are using medicines for high blood pressure or for blood thinning, then it is advised that you consult your doctor before incorporating these seeds to your diet.