Chia seeds have been grown for their numerous benefits since 1500 BCE. They have traditionally been used as food and medicine in the ancient times. In pre-historic times such as the Columbian societies, chia seeds were grown as a main staple, second only to beans. Numerous studies have been done on the health benefits of chia seeds so as to understand why the ancient civilizations such as Aztecs and Mayans treasured this crop.
It is a well established fact that chia seeds do not have any toxic, anti-allergic or anti-nutritional effects on human health. Even the European Parliament declared it as a functional/ novel food. Here are some reasons why chia seeds should be part of your regular intake.
Health Benefits of Chia
Healthy source of nutrients with fewer calories
According to the Mayan language, chia literally means strength. No wonder, the Aztecs warriors used it as a ‘runner food’ because of the unmatched energy it gave them. Chia contains fiber, protein, omega-3 fats, calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, potassium and vitamins (B1,B2, and B3). No wonder, chia seeds is often regarded as a superfood.
Packed with Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that have the ability to protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals are produced by your body when it breaks down food or even when you are exposed to radiation or tobacco smoke. They can cause cancer, heart disease, and other diseases. Chia seeds boasts of a high antioxidant content.
Great source of Quality Protein
Compared to most plants, chia seeds have a high amount of quality protein. In terms of weight, they are about 20% protein and that is why the U.S. Department of Agriculture places it as an excellent source of protein. This gluten-free superfood also contain sufficient essential amino acids. Protein has numerous health benefits and is critical for weight loss. This is because an adequate intake of protein reduces appetite and induces satiety. Those who consume little or no animal products will benefits from this protein source.
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A review published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology states that chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds contain more omega-3s than salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important for brain health.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
According to Natural Standard Research Collaboration, Chia is useful for heart health. This conclusion was after a clinical trial showed desired results after a patient consumed chia seeds. Experts agree that this is because of the presence of fiber, omega-3s and protein in the seeds. Other studies showed that chia seeds extensively reduced blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension—a strong risk factor for heart disease.
Assist in Weight Loss
Health experts credit chia seeds with the ability to aid in weight loss. It has a soluble fiber that several studies believe leads to weigh loss. The fiber absorbs a large amount of water and consequently expands in your stomach. This slows the absorption of food by increasing fullness.
One study revealed that eating chia for breakfast increases the ‘feeling of fullness’ and reduced food intake. There you have it. Chia seeds is one of those additions to your food cupboard that you will not regret. As an added advantage, chia seeds do not affect the taste of your food. It will blend perfectly with just anything!