Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid), antioxidants (such as caffeic acid, chlorogenic acids, myricetin), dietary fibre, iron, and calcium. Though tiny, these shiny black seeds are loaded with an extensive list of health benefits and are gluten-free. They are from the mint family and are native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds were valued so much in history that once they were also used as currency by the Aztecs.
As per the data provided by the United State Department of Agriculture(USDA), a 28 gram of chia seeds are loaded with 131 calories, 11.2 grams of fiber, 5.6 grams of protein, 13,07 grams of carbohydrate, 8.4 grams of fat and zero sugar. They also contain manganese, sulfur, iodine, zinc, vitamin B3, Potassium, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B2.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Healthy metabolism, stress, exposure to environmental pollutants and radiation produces free radicals. These free radicals damage the cellular and tissue components of the body, resulting in ageing and diseases. Free radicals are neutralized by antioxidant enzymes present in the body, but in particular conditions such as critical illness or diabetes, the level of antioxidants in the body is not sufficient to neutralize the free radicals. Therefore, as a preventive measure one should consume foods that have an adequate amount of antioxidants and chia seeds are one such food.
2.Promotes skin health and Reduces signs of ageing
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are responsible for damaging cells, DNA and tissues in the body that leads to functional impairments and ageing. Chia seeds havethe ideal amount of antioxidants in the form of Vitamins that helps in protecting the body.
3.Supports heart and digestive health
Chia seeds help in regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the body. Omega 3 fatty acids present in chia seeds helps in keeping the blood at ideal consistency, which is less susceptible to clotting thus it decreases the risk for arrhythmias and thrombosis. Likewise, omega three fatty acid contributes to lower LDL, triglyceride levels, total cholesterol.
Chia seeds help in treating diverticulosis by absorbing water present in the colon and easier bowel movements. Soluble Fiber present in chia seeds prevents constipation and promotes good digestive health.
4.Helps in building Stronger Bones
Chia seeds help in maintaining good health of joints by helping in maintaining the required lubricating oils.
5.Helpful maintaining blood glucose levels
The soluble fibres present in adequate amount in chia seeds helps in reducing sugar cravings thus maintains blood sugar at normal level.
6.Rich in Fiber
The United States dietary guidelines for 2015 to 2020 suggest that under 50 men should have 30.8 grams of fibre per day and women under the age of 50 years should have 25.2 grams per day. One ounce of chia seeds furnishes 10 grams of fibre. Chia seeds are low in calories and high in fibre, thus they help us feel fuller for a longer duration.
7.Good quality Protein
14% of chia seeds by weight is protein.No wonder why these seeds are counted among the superfoods. No wonder why the Aztec warriors ate them. They are also known as “runner’s food”.
8.Help in weight management
Chia seeds have an abundant amount of soluble fibre, and they help in making you feel full, likewise prevent you from eating more. This is due to their hydrophilic property means they absorb water. When chia seeds are added to cooked food, they absorb water and add bulk without increasing the total calories. They help in reducing the food cravings. To lose weight, consume them raw with water. Omega 3 fatty acid and linoleic acid present in these tiny seeds also contribute to weight loss.
Chia seeds contain tryptophan, which increases the level of melatonin and serotonin that relaxes the mind and body and induces sleep.
Besides the above health benefits, chia seeds help in the nourishing brain because it contains an adequate amount of omega three fatty acids. It helps in reducing neurological conditions such as epilepsy, depression, and autism.
Chia seeds are easily digested. They are edible in their raw form and can be easily sprinkled on soups, salads, smoothies, and stews.
There are hardly any side effects of chia seeds. However, few people may experience bloating and gas. People suffering from low blood pressure should avoid consuming chia seeds. Before using any dietary supplements, one should always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner.
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.