What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds. One ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, plus vitamins and minerals.
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico. They originate back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy. “Chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Gluten is the protein present in cereal grains, especially wheat, and is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. In certain individuals, gluten is known to cause allergies and gluten intolerance. However, with chia seeds, it’s a different scenario. It is 100% gluten-free.
It is particularly helpful in gluten-free baking. Chia seeds are especially beneficial for individuals suffering from celiac disease. As per studies, people with celiac disease tend to consume less calcium and fiber than recommended – and chia seeds, being rich in these two nutrients, can bridge the gap.
Rich In Antioxidants
We all know how important antioxidants are. And chia seeds have them in abundance. The antioxidants are not only good for the cells, but for the skin as well – as they help slow down the signs of aging. The antioxidants in chia seeds have also been found to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. The high antioxidant content is what makes chia seeds more shelf-stable than other seeds.
Rich In Omega-3
As discussed, chia seeds are one of the few types of seeds that are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids
As per a report published by the UCSF Medical Center, chia seeds are a good source of alpha-linoleic acid, which can help prevent breast cancer. The same goes for omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia seed oil is said to deliver a 3:1 ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 essential fatty acids to the skin. Our bodies can’t produce their own omega 3 fatty acids so eating chia seeds can help them get this nutrient easily. Omega 3 fatty acids also have incredible anti-inflammatory action. If you have inflamed skin, gently dab chia seed oil after cleansing your face to help speed up healing. You can use it for eczema, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
When soaked, Chia seeds form a gel-like substance which is evidence of its high amount of soluble dietary fiber. This helps to eliminate plaque buildup in the cardiovascular system, which prevents heart disease. They also contain plenty of antioxidants which helps to prevent free radical damage, keeping your heart strong and healthy.
Heal Damaged Skin Tissue
Chia seeds contain very many antioxidants, even more than blueberries! Antioxidants in chia seeds include the popular compounds; quercetin, caffeic acid, myricetin, chlorogenic acid and more! These antioxidants are beneficial in healing skin cells and tissue damaged by environmental pollution and lifestyle behaviors. The rich omega fatty acids, amino acids, and protein promote cell, tissue and muscle regeneration. Also, chia seeds are very easy to digest and ease in the milation of other foods. Immediately after consumption, nutrients travel directly to skin cells encouraging very fast cell repair and regeneration! Eat chia seeds the right way and use chia seed oil topically for healthy skin cells and tissue!
One study has shown that increased consumption of calcium-rich foods, like chia seeds, can improve skeletal health. Consumption of chia seeds is also considered an effective way to improve calcium intake.
In addition to calcium, chia seeds are also rich in manganese – both of which are crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
Chia seeds are also rich in phosphorus, a mineral that has been found to enhance bone health. The presence of antioxidants in chia seeds can also protect your teeth from damage.
The soluble and insoluble fiber that Chia seeds contain have been proven to slow the rate of digestion, absorbing as much as ten times their weight in water. This helps to keep you fuller for longer, but also helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and helps to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
There are two hormones that are essential for sleep – serotonin and melatonin. These two hormones are produced by tryptophan, an amino acid in the body. Chia seeds, being high in tryptophan, aid good sleep and relaxation. According to an American study, tryptophan is also used for treating numerous sleep disorder.
We have seen the many health benefits of chia seeds. But chia seeds work great for pregnant women as well. Wondering how? Keep reading!
They are Anti-Ageing Super Foods
Studies have shown that Chia seeds reduce free radical damage from the sun and pollution by as much as 70%, which makes them excellent for maintaining a youthful appearance. They have been celebrated as one of nature’s most powerful sources of antioxidants and are incredible for your skin, hair and entire body.
White Chia Seed Pudding
- 1/3 cup of white chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- Take a pint jar and mix all the ingredients in it. Cover the jar with a lid and shake vigorously.
- Keep it aside for about 4 hours.
- The chia seeds will expand and turn into a pudding, with a slightly thicker consistency.
- Add sliced fruit or toasted nuts and serve.
- One question most people preparing chia pudding have is if it’s really healthy. Well, it is. And it is not fattening. Of course, this again depends on what goes into the pudding. But chia pudding, with its default ingredients, is highly nutritious.
Blueberry And Chia Seed Smoothie
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups of almond milk
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or coconut butter
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- Add the chia seeds to a jar along with half a cup of almond milk. Stir well.
- Keep the mixture aside for about 10 minutes. You can also refrigerate it for about 4 hours.
- Transfer the entire mixture to a blender. To this, add blueberries, vanilla extract, coconut oil (or coconut butter), and cinnamon.
- Blend until it is smooth.
- You can add honey to taste.
These figures are for an ounce or 28g of seeds.
Total Carbs 12.3g
Dietary Fiber 10.6g
No Starch or Sugars
Total Fat 8.6g
Saturated Fat 0.9g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6.5g
Total Omega-3 fatty acids 4915mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 1620mg
Calcium 177mg 18%
Phosphorus 265mg 27%
Zinc 1.0mg 7%
Chia seeds contain 137 calories per 28 grams or ounce.
The majority of carbs come in the form of insoluble fiber and help keep you fuller for longer. Studies show fiber from chia is useful to lower diabetes risk.
Compared to fish or fish oil chia seeds cannot complete on omega-3 fatty acids. It is although, one of the best sources of omega fats from plant sources.