Chia seeds have been elevated to the status of superfoods by top nutritionists all over the world and the reasons are more than one. Derived from chia plants these seeds are now the star ingredients of every healthy recipe starting from smoothies to protein bars. Though chia seeds are found all over the world now they were originally cultivated in Mexico and Guatemala. In fact they were the staple foods of ancient Aztecs (residents of central Mexico) and Mayans (residents of Southern Mexico and central America). The word chia has its origin in Mayan language and it means strength. Chia seeds were very popular among runners and warriors who used to rely on them as fuel for energy and endurance while covering long distances.
NUTRITIONAL FACTS OF CHIA SEEDS
These seeds are power-packed with nutrients. Containing little calories each serving of chia seeds offers high volumes of protein fibre manganese phosphorus and calcium. Apart from these chia seeds also come with a lot of health-friendly omega-3 fatty acids and other important micronutrients and antioxidants. Here is a low-down on the nutritional facts of chia seeds.
100 grams of chia seeds contain:
16.5 grams of protein
42.1 grams of carbohydrates
34.4 grams of fibre
Saturated: 3.33 grams of saturated fats
2.31 grams of monounsaturated fats
23.67 grams of polyunsaturated fats
17.83 grams of omega-3 fatty acids
5.84 grams of omega-6 fatty acids
0.14 grams of trans fats
Additionally chia seeds are endowed with vitamins A B E and D minerals like iron iodine magnesium niacin and thiamine.
TOP HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHIA SEEDS
Starting from promoting digestion to improving your heart chia seeds do it all for you. Scientists also say that these seeds have an anti-ageing effect too and help you build stronger bones. Here we guide you through a few health benefits that they offer.
Give you a strong heart
Rich in antioxidants fibre and heart-healthy fats chia seeds are extremely good for your cardiovascular health. Inflammation can pressurize your blood vessels and up your risk for cardias diseases and quite a few chronic conditions. Chia seeds reduce inflammation. Omega 3 fatty acids which they come with protect your heart by controlling blood pressure cholesterol levels and inflammation as well. Low cholesterol levels reduce your chance of arterial blockage a potential risk factor for coronary heart disease.
Help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels
Thanks to the presence of alpha-linolenic acid and fibre chia seeds aid in controlling blood sugar levels reducing the chance of diabetes and insulin resistance. In an animal-model study published in the British Journal of Nutrition observed that including them to a high-sugar diet didn’t impact blood sugar and lipid levels negatively. Evidences from human studies suggest that having chia seeds to white breads prevents a sudden rise and crash in blood sugar levels.
This health benefit of chia seeds can be attributed to their high fibre load. This nutrient ensures healthy bowel movement and prevents constipation. Fibre in chia seeds also functions as probiotics that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Fuel your weight loss goal
There are three ways chia seeds help you shed those extra kilos: Improving your metabolism burning fat and limiting calorie intake. It reduces the number of calories that you consume by curbing your appetite. The fibre in chia seeds absorbs a lot of water and increases in volume inside your stomach. This mechanism makes it an appetite suppressant. Moreover high protein content also helps chia seeds help you control your potions.
Inhibit the growth of cancer cells
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) a type of omega-3 fatty acid helps in limiting the growth of breast and cervical cancer cells observes a study published in the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry. Chia seeds have ALA which kills cancer cells without harming the healthy ones. However more research is required to reach a conclusion.
Make your bones sturdy
The two minerals that are responsible in keeping your bones strong are calcium and manganese. Manganese is particularly crucial for bone resorption and formation while chia seeds increase bone density. These are jampacked with both. Just 28grams give you 18 per cent of your daily requirement of calcium and 30 per cent of magnesium that you need every day.
Boost oral health
Chia seeds contain calcium phosphorus vitamin A and zinc—all necessary for a healthy mouth. While calcium is the main constituent of your teeth zinc prevents tartar by blocking plaque formation. With its antibacterial properties zinc also keeps germs and bad breath at bay.
Enhance exercise performance
Carbohydrates increase endurance and boost workout performance. 100 grams of chia seeds offer above 40 grams of carbs. A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning observes that the impact of these seeds on a 90-minute exercise session is same as a sports drink laden with sugar. Moreover the protein reserves of chia seeds help you build muscle mass while helping your muscle tissues recover from the damage caused by workouts.
Prevent premature ageing of skin
Free radical damage and oxidative stress are the main culprits behind ageing skin cells. Power-packed with antioxidants these can bring down the activity of free radicals by up to 70 per cent. That is how they prevent dermatological damage and promote tissue repair and delay the ageing of your skin cells.
WHY CHIA SEEDS ARE USED IN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE
It’s no wonder that these are popular in Ayurveda and other traditional schools of medicine thanks to the plethora of health benefits they offer. Ayurveda uses them for treating gastrointestinal issues renal disorders and inflammatory diseases.
WHAT COULD BE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF CHIA SEEDS?
As already mentioned these seeds are rich in ALA. According to research this fatty acid up your risk of prostrate cancer. However some other studies refute this observation. However you may experience discomfort in the stomach if you go overboard on them. Like with any other food practise moderation.
HOW TO HAVE CHIA SEEDS?
One option is to gulp them down whole and dry. You can also add them to your smoothies yogurt muffins and oats. However it’s better to have them after soaking. This makes it easy for you to digest them. Adding these seeds to your glass of water and milk is a great idea too. You can also grind them and add to your recipes while making pastas or pancakes.