The chia plant is native to South America, North America, Australia and Europe; it is grown for its seeds, which are known for their vast health benefits. Like other seeds, such as sunflower and flax, chia seeds are healthy food in small packages. These are the most important chia seeds benefits:
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. This fatty acid provides essential protection to the heart from fatal heart disease caused by atherosclerosis. The omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body and protect cells from oxidative stress.
A good source of dietary fibre
A 28-gram serving of chia seeds contains as much as 11 grams of dietary fibre, which is essential for intestinal and cardiovascular health. Chia seeds improve digestion and help with bowel elimination, which significantly reduces the risk of diverticulosis, constipation and other intestinal problems. The dietary fibre in chia seeds also helps to regulate the bad cholesterol in the body by flushing it out in the colon before it can be absorbed.
Help with healthy weight reduction
The small seeds from the chia plant are an effective aid to weight loss. When the seeds are combined with water, they form a gel coating and increase in weight and size. When consumed, they make you feel satisfied without hundreds of calories.
Regulate blood sugar levels
The gel that chia seeds form, when combined with water, makes the conversion of starches into sugars slower, preventing the spiking of blood glucose levels after meals. This helps to regulate blood glucose, which is essential in the prevention of type-2 diabetes.
Increase energy levels
Since chia seeds are able to regulate and balance blood sugar levels, there is an adequate and regulated supply of sugar for energy production.
Chia seeds are very high in antioxidants; they contain as many antioxidants as the more popular blueberry. The rich antioxidants in chia seeds make them a good remedy to halt the aging process and maintain a healthy and youthful glow. Antioxidants help to fight free radicals and can prevent certain types of cancers, so consuming chia seeds regularly may reduce your risk of cancer and degenerative disease.
Chia seeds, when combined with water, form a gel that you can use to replace butter in baking. This makes your baking healthier, by significantly reduces the sodium and fat content.
Promote bone health
Chia seeds also contain calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, which are important minerals for bone health.
Chia seeds don’t have a distinctive taste, but when combined with foods they make ordinary flavours sumptuous. So, instead of adding monosodium glutamate to your meals, you can use chia seeds to improve the taste of your food.
Chia seed is also rich in proteins, like the more popular flax seed. Proteins are the building blocks of every cell, so consuming chia seeds regularly will allow you to experience natural healing from within.
If you want to get chia seeds benefits, start adding these small seeds to your meals.
About the author: Amarendra is a nutritionist and dietician promoting the use of natural foods for better health.