Chia seeds are ancient, medicinal, and nutritious seeds. What makes chia seeds so special? Well, other than their excellent nutritional elements, they have the ability to completely transform and grow, when submerged in liquid. These versatile seeds are unique and should be used regularly in the maintenance and promotion of good health.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds come from a plant Salvia hispanica that’s native to Mexico and Guatemala. These tiny seeds are known to have been used by the Aztecs and Mayans in ancient history, since they provided them with the much-needed fuel and protein for long periods of time. Chia seeds contain similar nutritional content as flax seeds, however unlike flax seeds, it is not necessary to ground the seeds to reap the wonderful benefits. Chia seeds are a definite superfood, as they contain an excellent source of healthy fats, fibre, minerals, protein, antioxidants and more.
Soluble Fibre – Chia seeds contain soluble fibre, which allows the seeds to swell with liquids. This soluble fibre is fundamental for good colon and intestinal health. Chia seeds will literally soak up the water and create a gel-like substance, which, when consumed, actually promotes hydration and retains moisture within our body. This same gel-forming state is known to occur within our stomach, when these seeds are ingested. This helps to keep our inner linings moist and ease the movement of food within the intestinal tracts. The mucilaginous (gelatinous solution) body of the chia seed helps to attach to intestinal debris and serves to transport it for efficient elimination. This prevents many diseases and disorders, such as diverticulitis/diverticulosis or colon cancer. With regular use of chia seeds within your daily diet, you will definitely start to notice a positive difference within your bowels. With any high-fibre food, it’s important to drink a lot of water, especially if you’re going to ingest these seeds without pre-soaking them.
Essential Fatty Acids – Chia seeds contain a very high amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for brain health. Studies show that chia seeds contain about 8 times more omega 3s than salmon. Not bad for a tiny seed. EFAs are also essential for healthy hair, skin and nails.
Protein – Chia seeds contain all 9 of the essential amino acids, and as a plant-based source of protein, they are easily digestible. This helps in the cell’s utilization of the protein, making chia seeds helpful for tissue growth and regeneration. This is especially important during times of pregnancy or lactation, also ideal for athletes. Since this protein is absorbed so easily, chia seeds are also great for periods of growth, like during childhood and for adolescents.
Chia seeds contain many minerals, including iron, calcium, phosphorus and manganese. They also contain a high antioxidant amount, making them a higher source than blueberries. One study has revealed that just one tablespoon of chia seeds contain 500% more calcium than milk.
Chia seeds are ideal for diabetics and athletes alike, since they help stabilize blood sugar levels, as they regulate the digestion and assimilation of complex carbohydrates. This also promotes energy, as chia seeds help to release glucose into the bloodstream at a slow rate.
How to Consume Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have a mild flavour and can be used in both sweet or savoury dishes. They can be sprinkled on salads, added to juices, smoothies, cereal, yogurt and more. Chia seeds are also excellent when used in baking, and can be a great egg substitute (known as the chia-egg), due to it’s gel-like consistency. Simply add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of water, and use in replacement of an egg. The ‘chia gel’ is also ideal for baking, since it allows you to omit or cut down the amount of butter and oil used. Chia seeds can also be made into a healthy jam, using just fresh fruit, water and a natural sweetener. They can be used as a thickener for various drinks and sauces as well.
With any natural food, you should introduce it slowly to your diet, and allow your body to adjust to the effects of this powerful seed. Too much all at once can cause bloating, abdominal cramping, gas and other unpleasant symptoms. So, just because it’s super healthy, doesn’t mean it can’t have any adverse effects to your body. Again, these negative side effects usually only occur when introduced too quickly, at a large amount.
Chia seeds are gluten-free, so are safe for those with Celiac Disease or with gluten sensitivity. They are also safe for people with various nut allergies.
Hi, I’m Melissa. Welcome to Wholesomely Homemade.
This is my food and wellness blog, where I share my boundless love for food and nutrition. Wholesomely Homemade’s goal is simply to share and inspire Read More…