Health Benefits of Chia Seeds | Chia Seeds & Your Health
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds | Chia Seeds & Your Health
Chia is the edible seed of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae) native to Central America, or of the related Salvia columbariae of the southwestern United States and Mexico. Chia seeds are oval and gray with black and white spots, having a diameter around 1 millimetre (0.04 in).
The seeds are hydrophilic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based creams and beverages a distinctive gel texture.
There is evidence the crop was widely cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian times and was a staple food for Mesoamerican cultures. Chia seeds are cultivated on a small scale in their ancestral homeland of central Mexico and Guatemala and commercially throughout Central and South America.
Chia seeds are under preliminary research for their potential effects on health, but this work remains sparse and inconclusive. In a 2015 systematic review, most studies were of poor quality and did not demonstrate significant effects of chia seed consumption on cardiovascular risk factors. No evidence to date indicates consuming chia seeds has adverse effects on or interacts with prescription drugs.
Below are some unique health benefits of Chia Seed;
Chia Seeds Have High Protein Content
Chia seeds contain a decent amount of protein. By weight, they’re about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants. They also have a good balance of essential amino acids, so your body should be able to make use of their protein content.
Protein has various health benefits and is by far the most weight loss friendly dietary nutrient. A high protein intake lowers appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50%. Chia seeds really are an excellent protein source — especially for people who eat little or no animal products.
It Helps Prevent Constipation
Chia seeds contain soluble fiber. Simply get the chia seeds a little wet, and you will see them turning into a gel – which is the soluble fiber. The benefits of soluble fiber are many – it helps manage blood sugar, feeds the gut-friendly bacteria, and even bulks up the stool. A single serving of chia seeds meets almost a third of your daily fiber requirement.
Since they are packed with fiber, especially insoluble fiber, chia seeds turn into a gel when they come in contact with water. This adds to your stool and aids bowel movements, thereby relieving constipation . Fiber also has been found to improve digestion.
Chia Seeds Boost Metabolism And Energy
Chia seeds are packed with B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium – all of which help boost energy. You can add the seeds to your favorite smoothie and enjoy a refreshing burst of energy. As per a report published by the University of New Hampshire, chia seeds can also boost your metabolism.
Chia Seeds Are Good For Bones And Teeth
One study has shown that increased consumption of calcium-rich foods, like chia seeds, can improve skeletal health. Consumption of chia seeds is also considered an effective way to improve calcium intake.
In addition to calcium, chia seeds are also rich in manganese – both of which are crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
Chia seeds are also rich in phosphorus, a mineral that has been found to enhance bone health. The presence of antioxidants in chia seeds can also protect your teeth from damage.
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It Helps Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s normal response to infection or injury. Red and swollen skin is a typical example.
Although inflammation helps your body heal and fight off bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents, it can sometimes cause harm.
This mainly applies to chronic inflammation, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation often doesn’t have any visible signs, but can be assessed by measuring inflammatory markers in your blood.
Various unhealthy lifestyle habits increase your risk of chronic inflammation, including smoking, lack of exercise or a poor diet.
On the other hand, certain healthy foods may reduce the blood levels of inflammatory markers.
One 3-month study in 20 people with diabetes showed that eating 37 grams of chia seeds daily reduced the inflammatory marker hs-CRP by 40%. In contrast, those who got wheat bran didn’t experience a significant benefit.
Other studies on chia seeds have failed to detect any significant effects on inflammatory markers.
It helps Nourish & Protect The Skin
The omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds have been found to increase circulation and reduce dryness and skin inflammation. And as per a Manchester study, omega-3s help protect the skin from UV radiation.
Chia seeds contain anti-inflammatory properties that could help prevent wrinkles. The seeds also help reduce skin sagging.
Good Substitute For Eggs
If you think you want protein but don’t take eggs, you have some good news! You can use chia seeds as a substitute for eggs.
The process is simple. All you need are a tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water. Ground the chia seeds, and then mix them with water in a small bowl. Keep it aside for 5 minutes, post which the mixture takes on a gooey consistency – similar to raw egg yolk. You can add this to your dishes and enjoy the goodness of high-quality protein.
Helps Improve Sleep
There are two hormones that are essential for sleep – serotonin and melatonin. These two hormones are produced by tryptophan, an amino acid in the body.
Chia seeds, being high in tryptophan, aid good sleep and relaxation. According to an American study, tryptophan is also used for treating numerous sleep disorders.
Rich In Magnesium
One serving of chia seeds contains 30% of the RDA of magnesium. The mineral has several benefits – Magnesium helps in the production of energy in the body, and a lack of it can cause fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and poor memory. It also helps in the treatment of hypertension and heart disease, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes.
Chia Seeds Are Gluten-Free
Gluten is the protein present in cereal grains, especially wheat, and is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. In certain individuals, gluten is known to cause allergies and gluten intolerance. However, with chia seeds, it’s a different scenario. It is 100% gluten-free.
It is particularly helpful in gluten-free baking. Chia seeds are especially beneficial for individuals suffering from celiac disease. As per studies, people with celiac disease tend to consume less calcium and fiber than recommended – and chia seeds, being rich in these two nutrients, can bridge the gap.