Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, grown in Mexico dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. The name Chia is derived from the Nahuatl word “chian” which means oily, from the high oil content of the seeds. It is believed that humans began using chia seeds around 3500 BC. Chia seeds were prized and considered to be almost magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy over long periods of time. Chia seeds contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. They are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds. The seeds are either white or black and both types are highly nutritious.
Chia Seed Benefits
Chia seeds are known to contain twice the amount of protein found in most other grains and seeds, and thrice the levels of antioxidants in blueberries. They are also known to be packed with calcium, and contain the mineral known as boron which helps the body absorb and utilize calcium. Chia seeds also have three times the amount of iron given by spinach, and contain twice the calcium content of a banana. But chia seeds are best known for their good fats or essential fatty acids content.
- Help weight loss. Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
- Feel fuller faster: They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
- Hydration for athletes: They are also great for athletes because the “chia gel” can hydrate the body.
- Reduce your blood pressure: There’s evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure.
- Omega-3: They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
- Benefits for diabetes: Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
- They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up.
Watch Chia Seeds Expanding
Potential Side Effects
- Increase in flatulence: Cramping of the digestive system and the presence of loose stools may occur. However, these symptoms can be eliminated entirely by slowly increasing the amount of chia seeds you consume on a daily basis.
- Those who are taking aspirins or blood thinners for other conditions should use caution when incorporating chia seeds into their diets. The high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds might lower blood pressure further for patients who are already taking blood pressure medication.
- Certain individuals may show signs of being allergic to chia seeds. They break into reactions after coming into contact with chia protein. Such people are advised to keep away from chia seeds.
Some Ideas to Consume Chia Seeds
- Make chia seed pudding: Soak them in water or milk overnight, you get a dish that is a lot like tapioca pudding in texture.
- Use them as a topping: Sprinkle it onto your yogurt or oatmeal for some extra benefits.
- Use them in your baking recipes: Pancakes, waffles, muffins, or granola, toss in some in.
- Bake into bread.
- Make chia seed jam.