Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant, a member of the mint family which comes from Central and South America. Legend has it that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a source of energy.
Nutritional presence in Chia seed
Don’t be fooled by the size — these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.
A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:
- Fiber: 11 grams.
- Protein: 4 grams.
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
- Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.
- They also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.
This is particularly impressive considering that this is just a single ounce, equaling 28 grams or about two tablespoons. This small amount supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate.
Interestingly, if you subtract the fiber — most of which doesn’t end up as usable calories for your body — chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce (28 grams).
This makes them one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie.
To top things off, chia seeds are a whole-grain food, usually grown organically. Plus, they’re non-GMO and naturally free of gluten
Improved heart health-
Chia seeds are wealthy in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) a sort of omega-3 fatty acid that comes specially from plants. In the human body, ALA may be converted to 2 different omega-three fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
We understand that omega three fatty acids are essential for a healthy cardiovascular system, however scientists are still trying to discern out how they work whether or not they decrease cholesterol, decrease the threat of strokes and heart attacks, or reduce blood pressure.
Given that chia seeds are high in fiber, protein and omega-3s, they may reduce your risk of heart disease. Their benefits have been examined in several studies, but the results have been inconclusive.
Yes, it all comes returned to the F-word: fiber. Chia seeds are an considerable supply of fiber, topping the charts at 10g in 2 tablespoons- one 1/3 of the each day fiber recommendation for American men. It’s almost 1/2 of the fiber suggestion for most women. On pinnacle of that, word that the fiber in chia seeds is in most cases soluble fiber, which helps you sense full and slows down digestion.
High in quality protein-
chia seeds contain a decent amount of protein. By weight, they’re about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants. They also have a good balance of essential amino, so your body should be able to make use of their protein content. Protein has various health benefits and is by far the most weight loss friendly dietary nutrient. A high protein intake lowers appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50%.
Help you lose weight-
Many health experts believe that chia seeds can aid weight loss. Its soluble fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in your stomach, which should increase fullness and slow the absorption of food. Several studies have examined the soluble fiber glucomannan, which works in a similar way, showing that it can lead to weight loss. Also, the protein in chia seeds could help reduce appetite and food intake. In fact, one study found that eating chia seeds for breakfast increased satiety and reduced food intake in the short-term. Though adding chia seeds to your diet is unlikely to cause weight loss on its own, many experts believe they can be a useful addition to a weight loss diet. A weight loss diet is about more than just single foods. The entire diet counts, as well as other lifestyle behaviors like sleep and exercise.
When combined with a real-food based diet and a healthy lifestyle, chia seeds may definitely help promote weight loss.
Reduce chronic inflammation-
Inflammation is your body’s normal response to infection or injury. Red and swollen skin is a typical example. Various unhealthy lifestyle habits increase your risk of chronic inflammation, including smoking, lack of exercise or a poor diet. One 3-month study in 20 people with diabetes showed that eating 37 grams of chia seeds daily reduced the inflammatory marker hs-CRP by 40%. In contrast, those who got wheat bran didn’t experience a significant benefit.
Promotes better bone health–
The benefits of chia seeds is 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 a significant source of calcium, more than that in 100ml of milk. The calcium content is particularly impressive — 18% of the RDI in a single ounce (28 grams). Gram for gram, this is higher than most dairy products. As a result, chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy.
How to eat chia:
Chia seeds have a neutral taste compared to the bolder flavors of pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds. A popular way of eating them is to soak them in water or milk and put them in the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight). The seeds absorb the liquid to form a gel, which resembles tapioca in texture and is commonly known as a ‘chia pudding’. To add flavor, you can try soaking the seeds in flavored milk, fruit juice, or by adding spices such as cinnamon, ginger or a little honey.
Whole, soaked chia seeds can also be used as a thickening agent for soups and stews, and ground seeds can be used as an egg substitute in baking. To replace one large egg, try using 1 tbsp of ground chia seeds and 3 tbsp of water. Ground chia seeds can be bought or you can make your own in a coffee grinder. When ground they can be used as a replacement for flour in baking breads or cakes. Remember that recipes may yield very different results when substitutions are made, so you may need to experiment to find out what works best.
Dry-roasting and toasting chia seeds brings out and develops the flavour and texture. Toasted seeds add crunch to salads or on top of breakfast cereals. Make sure the oven or hob is at a low temperature and toss the seeds in the pan or baking tray, making sure not to burn them, as this degrades the oils and alters the flavour.
Overall, chia seeds are versatile; they can be eaten raw or mixed into baking.
Here’s some delicious recipe of having chia:
- You can add them directly into foods like smoothies, yogurt, soup, oatmeal, or porridge.
- You can create a chia gel of ¼ cup of chia seeds with 1 cup of liquid. This gel can then be used as a nutritional booster and thickener for a variety of foods.
- To make chia pudding by mixing ¼ cup chia seeds with 1 cup of milk (dairy or nondairy) and topping with fruits and nuts. “This is a fan favorite and can be used as a dessert, snack, or a great healthy breakfast.
- Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to your go-to overnight oats recipe to give it a nutritional punch while offering a thick consistency.