July 02, 2014

Chia seeds benefits are significant varied. They pack such a powerful nutritional punch that they are definitely 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, but in more modern times chia is also grown throughout North America, China, South East Asia and Australia. Chia seeds benefits are such that the seed is being grown for use in nutritional foods and supplements in a rapidly expanding geographical area.

chia seeds nutrition facts

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

  • Carbohydrates – 3.7g
  • Fiber – 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 8 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 8 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 milk contained in chia seeds is around 5 times that in milk, they also contain twice as much iron as lentils and over 5 times as much as spinach.

Because the chia seed is balanced with antioxidants and oil it is very stable, and can be stored either whole or as micro-milled flour for extended periods of time without degrading or spoiling.

Other Benefits Chia Seeds Provide

Chia seeds benefits come in many guises other than being a super powerful nutrition supplement.

  • Appetite suppressant & diabetes treatment – chia seeds are covered in a glutenous coating, this coating when exposed to water forms a thick gelatine substance that slows the digestive system and can therefore prevent sugar spikes.
  • Anti-inflammatory – benefit to arthritis suffers have been widely reported, this is attributed to the anti-inflammatory and join lubricating properties of omega-3. The oil allows joins 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 and especially Muay Thai fighters. These effects come from the blend of carbohydrates, proteins and fibre in the seed.
  • EFA's immune system support – chia seeds provide phenomenal levels of EFA's (essential fatty acids), 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 all the body's systems to be able to function, including the immune system.
  • Antioxidants – the seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants, pound for pound more than blueberries, antioxidants reduce the amount of free radicals in the body and assist the immune system to reproduce cells.
  • Egg replacer qualities – as chia seeds swell after being introduced to water they form a gelatine like substance, this 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 and they are very 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 seed offer a shortcut to achieve this in an extremely convent and accessible form.

Raw chia seeds and chia flour has a long shelf life, this is due in part to the nature antioxidants that it contains, these stop it from spoiling. The seeds are becoming widely accessible and offer great value for money if compared to other alternatives.

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