Chia Seeds Benefits

A glass jar of chia seeds on its side with chia seeds spilled onto a wooden spoon.

Chia seeds‘ benefits are significant and varied. However, they pack a powerful nutritional punch worth getting excited about. Officially named Salvia Hispanica chia is more of an affectionate nickname. In ancient times the seeds were extensively grown and traded in Southern and Central America. Still, in more modern times, chia is still grown extensively throughout North America, China, South East Asia and Australia.

Chia Seeds Nutrition Facts

A few nutrition facts make it obvious why chia seeds are a sort-after nutritional supplement and health food. The following values are based on a 10g serving;

  • Carbohydrates – 3.7g
  • Fibre – 3.6g
  • Protein – 2.0g
  • Carbohydrates – 3.7g
    • Omega 3 polyunsaturated – 1.9g
    • Omega 6 polyunsaturated – 0.7g
    • Omega 5 monounsaturated – 3.4mg
    • Omega 5 monounsaturated – 3.4mg
    • Omega 7 monounsaturated – 3.5mg
    • Omega 9 monounsaturated – 201mg
  • Calcium – 50mg
  • Potassium – 50mg
  • Magnesium – 29mg
  • Iron – 0.6mg
  • Phosphorous – 60mg
  • All eight essential fatty acids

Chia seeds are roughly 20% protein which is significantly higher than other cereals such as wheat and corn. They have more than eight times more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, but what could be considered more important than this is that they don’t contain any toxic metals, which fish can, or any cholesterol. The calcium contained in chia seeds is around five times that in milk. They also have twice as much iron as lentils and over five times as much as spinach.

Because chia seed is balanced with antioxidants and oil, it is very stable. As a result, chia can store either whole or as micro-milled flour for extended periods without degrading or spoiling its nutrition.

Other Benefits Chia Seeds Provide

Chia seeds’ benefits come in many guises besides being a powerful nutrition supplement.

  • Appetite-suppressant & diabetes treatment – chia seeds are covered in a glutenous coating. When exposed to water, this coating forms a thick gelatine substance that slows the digestive system and can prevent sugar spikes.
  • Anti-inflammatory – benefits to people living with arthritis have been widely reported. This is attributed to the anti-inflammatory and joint-lubricating properties of omega-3. The oil allows joints to move more freely while omega-3 is converted into prostaglandins which have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
  • Increased energy levels – literally translated from Mayan, the word ‘chia’ means strength. The seeds are widely acknowledged for their energising effects and are widely used by athletes, especially Muay Thai fighters. These effects come from the seed blend of carbohydrates, proteins and fibre.
  • EFA’s (essential fatty acids) immune system support – chia seeds provide unprecedented levels of EFAs. Not only are the EFA’s in high quantities they’re also complete. Containing all 8 EFA’s, EFA’s cannot be produced by our bodies; they need to be consumed. These elements are essential for all the body’s systems, including the immune system.
  • Antioxidants – the seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants, pound for pound more than blueberries. Antioxidants reduce the number of free radicals in the body and assist the immune system in reproducing cells.
  • Egg replacer qualities – as chia seeds swell after being introduced to water, they form a gelatine-like substance, which can be used in baking to replace eggs. Used extensively by vegans, the practice is becoming more widespread as the search for cholesterol-free foods intensifies.

Versatility of chia

Chia seeds have no flavour, making them inoffensive to eat. This makes them versatile to be used in a whole range of situations, from making smoothies to baked goods and cheesecakes. The vast majority of the western world is becoming increasingly aware that we need to maintain a healthy diet with a balanced nutritional intake to remain healthy, fight off disease and stay fit and healthy. Chia seeds offer a shortcut to achieving this in a highly convenient and accessible form.

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