A Guide To Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a type of seed that is small in size but big in nutritional benefits. These little seeds have been grown and consumed by the indigenous people of Central America for centuries. With their recent surge in popularity, chia seeds are quickly becoming one of the most talked about superfoods today. If you haven’t jumped on the chia seed train yet, it’s time you get on board! Here are the benefits of chia seeds and why you need them in your diet.
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are edible seeds that come from a plant called Salvia hispanica. This plant is part of the mint family and is native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds are tiny and black in color, about 1/16th of an inch in size, similar to sesame seeds in size. In terms of taste, they are slightly nutty and have a taste similar to poppy seeds. Chia seeds are extremely rich in fiber and protein. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Chia Seeds Are Incredibly Nutritious
There are several reasons why chia seeds are incredibly nutritious. For one, their calcium content. Chia seeds contain 456-631 mg of calcium per 100 g serving. When you compare chia seeds to cow's milk, which only has 125 mg of calcium per 100 g serving and is often fortified with calcium, you can see this makes chia seeds one of the best sources of calcium. Plus they contain no cholesterol.
Chia seeds are also a great source of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds have more protein than any other edible seeds, accounting for approximately 18–24% of their mass.
Aside from calcium, chia seeds provide essential nutrients, including manganese, magnesium, selenium, copper, iron, and phosphorus.
They Are Rich in Antioxidants
Chia seeds are a powerful source of antioxidants, specifically caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, and quercetin. Antioxidants are important for your overall health because they fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are chemicals that cause oxidative stress and damage your cells and put you at risk for many diseases, including degenerative diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive disease. Interestingly, antioxidants also help prevent premature aging. Antioxidants can be found in many different plant-based foods, like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains. However, chia seeds are one of the highest antioxidant-containing foods so it is worth incorporating into your diet if you aren't already.
Help You Feel Full and May Help With Weight Loss
The fiber content in chia seeds can help you to feel full and may even help with weight loss. Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. This means that they are rich in both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is the part of plant-based foods that your body can’t digest. It’s a type of carbohydrate that helps to regulate your digestive system while also playing a role in weight loss. When you eat chia seeds, the fiber travels to your intestines where it absorbs water and becomes a gel-like substance. This helps to slow down your digestion, enabling you to feel full for longer and preventing overeating.
They’re Loaded with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that your body can’t produce on its own. You need to get these fatty acids from your diet because your body can’t function properly without them. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for many functions in the body and have been linked to several health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent heart disease, reduce blood pressure, and lower your risk of getting a stroke. They can also reduce your risk of developing arthritis, improve your brain health, and help you manage your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
Good for Your Bones and Teeth
Since chia seeds are high in calcium, that means they contribute to healthy bones and teeth. Calcium is an essential mineral that’s critical for building and maintaining strong bones. It also helps prevent osteoporosis, tooth decay, and even muscle cramps and plays an important role in blood clotting, helping muscles to contract and regulating normal heart rhythms and nerve function.
Regulate Blood Sugar
The high fiber content in chia seeds helps digestion and has been shown to help those with diabetes. The fiber actually slows down the digestion process and the release of glucose, improving blood sugar levels.
Chia Seeds Are Easy to Incorporate Into Your Diet
Chia seeds are extremely easy to incorporate into your diet. You can eat them as whole seeds, sprinkled on your foods like porridge, oatmeal, salads, or even yogurt. You can also grind them into a fine powder. Add the seeds or powder to smoothies, and baked goods. Chia seeds mixed with a little bit of water can be used to substitute eggs in baking. Or try making chia pudding, try our traditional chia pudding recipe or berry chia pudding recipe. Chia seeds can be found at most grocery stores and health food stores, either pre-packaged or in the bulk foods department.
The great thing about chia seeds is that they are extremely easy to add to your diet. You can eat them as whole seeds or ground seeds, and sprinkle them on your foods.
Chia Seeds, Final Words
Chia seeds are a great source of several essential nutrients. They are high in calcium, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Chia seeds can help you to fight diseases like cancer and diabetes and will improve your overall health. When it comes to superfoods, chia seeds are one of the best. They are incredibly nutritious and are easy to add to your diet. If you aren’t already eating chia seeds, now is the time to start!