In today’s day and age, we are becoming extremely health conscious. We are trying to cut down on junk food and focusing on healthy and nutritious foods.
Chia seeds are a superfood that must become a part of our lives for their numerous benefits. These are tiny in size and come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family.
Chia seeds originated in Mexico and go back to the Mayan and Aztec times.
In the Mayan language, Chia means strength. The warriors of those times consumed these seeds for endurance; one spoonful was enough to sustain them for a day.
These seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, fibre, protein and antioxidants and act as a natural laxative.
Chia Seeds Benefits
These tiny seeds are packed with nutrition and have several benefits. The chia seeds’ nutritional value makes them a must for you.
1. Rich Source of Omega- 3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. They can help manage and prevent heart disease by reducing blood pressure. Omega-3 can also help reduce the fat in your liver, improve joint and bone health and prevent premature ageing. It is also known to enhance the quality of your sleep.
2. Reduce the Chance of Heart Failure
Chia seeds are a great way to care for heart and heart-related ailments. Since these seeds are high in fibre and omega -3, they reduce the chances of heart disease.
The soluble fibre in them can help to reduce the total and the LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol.)
3. Help in Weight Loss
Weight loss is something we all are struggling with. Chia seeds, with their rich protein and fibre content, can help us reach our weight goals. The fibre makes you feel full, so you don’t feel hungry for a long time. And so there is no reason to eat those cookies or chips!
4. Control Diabetes
Since these seeds are high in fibre, they can slow down the process of digestion. The fibre ensures that your body does not need to increase the amount of blood sugar to digest the food. The sugar levels stabilize, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels. This can be a great way to control your diabetes.
5. Boost Metabolism and Energy Levels
Chia seeds are packed with vitamins, zinc, iron and magnesium, which can boost your energy and metabolism.
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6. Good for Bones
Being rich in calcium, manganese and phosphorous, chia seeds are very good for bones. Intake of these nutrients can help improve bone mineral density which can then improve bone strength and health. The boron in these seeds helps to metabolize phosphorous, magnesium, calcium and manganese, which contributes to the health of your bones.
These seeds are also an effective way to improve calcium intake.
7. Dental Health
Chia seeds are a great way of taking care of your dental health. The calcium in them strengthens your teeth, zinc keeps tartar at bay, and the antibacterial effects prevent bad breath. The phosphorous and vitamin A in them keep your mouth healthy and strengthen your teeth.
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8. Good for Skin
Due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are also very good for the skin. They increase circulation and reduce dryness and inflammation. In addition, the omega 3s protect the skin from the sun and prevent skin sagging.
9. Help in Digestion
Since chia seeds are full of fibre, they help to relieve constipation. These seeds turn into a gel when they come into contact with water and help in bowel movement. The fibre also aids the digestion process.
10. Great Source of Protein
Since they are a great source of protein, chia seeds can be used to take care of the protein requirement, especially for vegetarians. If you work out regularly, a chia seed drink could be a great post-workout drink as it can help repair the tissues.
11. Rich in Antioxidants
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that are good for the cells and skin. These can help to fight the free radicals in the body. That can, in turn, help to slow down the ageing process and take care of several issues related to the heart, liver and even cancer, blood pressure, and inflammation in the body.
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12. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Since chia seeds are a rich source of fibre, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, they are one of the best anti-inflammatory foods. This makes them help in the treatment of diseases like arthritis and cancer.
Chia seeds can be an excellent substitute for people allergic to gluten. Since they are rich in calcium and fibre, they can make up for the lack of cereal in your diet.
How to Eat Chia Seeds?
You can make chia seeds a part of your diet in various ways. We suggest these-
1. Soak Them
For maximum benefit, you should soak the seeds overnight in water. They will turn into a gel by morning, which can be added to the food of your choice.
2. Powder Them
You can grind them into a fine powder and then add them to the dish of your choice. This can be especially useful if you don’t want to chew them.
3. Have them Whole
You could even sprinkle them whole on your salad or any other dish. You could add the seeds to your yoghurt, soup, sauce, or anything.
While Chia seeds can be added to soups, salads, dressings, waffles, cakes and other things, you can use them to make some delicious dishes too; puddings are one great option.
Here we share the recipe for a Chia seed pudding which can be a good breakfast option. You could make the pudding look and taste different with all the variations suggested.
This is a basic pudding made with milk and chia seeds.
Chia seeds – 3-4 tbsp
Dairy/ non-dairy – 1 cup
- Take the chia seeds and milk and mix them well.
- Let the mix sit for 5 minutes. Stir it again to break up any clumps of chia seeds.
- Cover and put the mixture in the fridge to sit for 1-2 hours or overnight.
- The pudding should be nice and thick. If it isn’t, add more chia seeds.
Variations of the basic pudding
- You could top the pudding with any fruit of your choice,s like bananas, strawberries or blueberries.
- To make the pudding crunchy, you could add nuts of your choice.
- If you like it sweet, you could add maple syrup.
- To add to the healthy quotient, you could add granola to it.
Side Effects of Chia Seeds
While predominantly a healthy food, chia seeds can have a few side effects. Like they say,’ Too much of everything is bad’, so while you should include them in your diet, you don’t have to go overboard.
Here is why-
- Though pretty uncommon, some people could be allergic to these seeds. The symptoms could include diarrhoea, vomiting and itching lips and tongue.
- It is always better to add them to other food items rather than just popping them into your mouth, as that could lead to choking. This is mainly for those who have trouble swallowing.
- While including fibre in your diet is essential, too much of it could lead to issues like bloating and abdominal pain. So go easy on the quantity and have lots of water to help get the fibre out of your body.