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    Chia seed's benefits are significantly varied. They pack a powerful nutritional punch that is worth getting excited about. Officially named Salvia Hispanica Chia is more of an affectionate nickname. The seeds were extensively grown and traded in Southern and Central America in ancient times. Still, in more modern times, chia is also grown throughout North America, China, Southeast Asia and Australia. Chia seed's 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 make it obvious why chia seeds benefits are 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, 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 whole or as micro-milled flour for extended periods without degrading or spoiling.

    Other Benefits Chia Seeds Provide

    Chia seed's benefits come in many guises besides being a powerful nutrition supplement.

    • Appetite suppressant and 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, therefore, 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's blend of carbohydrates, proteins and fibre.
    • EFA's immune system support – chia seeds provide phenomenal levels of EFAs (essential fatty acids); are the EFAs in high quantities and complete. Containing all 8 EFA's, our bodies cannot produce EFA's; they need to be consumed; these elements are essential for all the body's systems 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 in reproducing 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, this 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 seeds offer a shortcut to achieve this in an extremely convent and accessible form.

    Raw chia seeds and chia flour have a long shelf life, partly due to their natural antioxidants, which stop them from spoiling. The seeds are becoming widely accessible and offer great value for money compared to other alternatives.

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