Chia Seeds – A Health and Nutritional Powerhouse

Chia  Seed  Nutrition  Facts

According to the  USDA National Nutrient Database ,  1 ounce ( 28 gram ) serving of chia seeds provides :

  • 137 calories
  • 12.3 grams carbohydrates
  • 4.4 grams protein
  • 8.6 grams fat
  • 10.6 grams dietary fiber
  • 0.6 milligram manganese (30 percent DV)
  • 265 milligrams phosphorus (27 percent DV)
  • 177 milligrams calcium (18 percent DV)
  • 1 milligram zinc (7 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram copper (3 percent DV)
  • 44.8 milligrams potassium (1 percent DV)

In addition to the nutrients listed above, chia seeds also contain several essential fatty acids; vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E and vitamin D; and minerals, such as iron, iodine, magnesium, niacin and thiamine.

What  Is  Chia  Seed ?

Chia seeds come from plant  Salvia Hispanica. Chia  seeds  had been widely  used  in  Latin America since  3500 B.C.  The  ancient  civilization   of   American  continent ,  especially  the  Mayan  and  Aztec  people  believed  that  the chia  seeds provided  supernatural  powers  because  of  the large amounts   of  energy , it  provided. Ancient warriors  of   Mayan  and  Aztec  cultures  ate  a  handful  of   chia  seeds  before battle  to keep  them  full  all  day  and boost  their  energy . ‘ Chia’ means  strength ,  and  folklore  has it  that  these  cultures used  the  tiny  black  and  white  seeds  as  an  energy  booster. They  used these  tiny  seeds  as  an  energy  booster.

Chia  seeds  are a wonderful Superfood that can  help  support your  heart, kidneys, joints, bones, skin, nervous  and  digestive system , and  it is effective for better  weight  management, lowering  triglycerides,  and  improving  blood  sugar  levels  in  types  2  diabetes.

Why  Should  You  Eat  Chia  Seeds & What  Are Their  Benefits ?

Chia Seeds  –  The  Most  Abundant Source Of  Essential  Omega-3-fatty Acids On  Earth

A  Blessed  Food  For  Your Heart & Brain

Omega-3 fatty  acids (FAs),  which include  eicosapentaenoic acid  (EPA ) and  docosahexaenoic  acid,  are found  in fish  oils  and  chia seeds  have  long  been  investigated  as  components  of  therapy  for  various  disease  states.  Population  studies  initially  revealed  the  cardio-protective  and  anti- inflammatory  effects  of  omega – 3 FAs  and  EPA ,  with  subsequent  clinical studies supporting  the  therapeutic  role  of  omega-3 FAs  in  cardiovascular  and  chronic  inflammatory  conditions.

Chia seeds contain  essential  fatty  acid called Alpha Linolenic Acid ( ALA) which your body naturally converts to the long  chain EPA and DHA .  Omega-3-fatty acids are essential for brain function  and  reduce your  risk of developing heart disease.Research suggests  that  omega-3s can  decrease  the  risk of  thrombosis and  arrhythmias,  that can  lead  to heart attack,  stroke, and sudden  cardiac  death. Omega-3-fally acids also decrease LDL,  total cholesterol  and triglyceride  levels, reduce atherosclerotic  plaque, improve endothelial function , and  lower blood  pressure.

In  human  studies ,  omega-3 fatty  acids  have  shown  a  beneficial  effect on cardiovascular  health ,  by  lowering  cholesterol,  regulating  heart rhythms  and  blood  pressure ,  preventing  blood  clots,  decreasing inflammation. Studies  showed  that  chia  seeds  controlled  systolic  blood  pressure  by  6 ± 4 points.

Effective  Balance  Of  Blood  Sugar

– A Blessing  For  Diabetic Patients

Research suggest  that  chia  seeds  amazingly  and  naturally  maintain normal  blood  sugar  levels and insulin resistance  to fight  diabetes. A study done in  2017 suggests that chia seeds  have the ability  to convert glucose  into slow release carbohydrate. Chia seeds because of it  high fiber content  are associated  with a lower  risk  of  developing  diabetes,  and helps to  keep blood sugar stable. Research report published in the British Journal of  Nutrition indicates that adding chia seeds  to a high-sugar diet  prevented changes in blood sugar and  lipid levels.  Experiment  done on human found that adding chia seeds to white bread  reduces the  glycemic response to prevent  spikes and crashes in  blood sugar  levels. National Institute of Medicine  found that diets with 14 grams fiber for every  1,000 calories resulted in a decreased  risk of both Type 2 diabetes and increased  cardiovascular  health.

A Great Source Of  QualityProtein

The  Chia  Seeds are  great source of  high  quality  protein.  They contain all eight essential amino acids,a rarity for a non-animal based food and are much higher in protein than many other plants. It is therefore,  consideredacomplete  solution  for  the  demand  of  human  body.

High Fiber And Protein Content  In  Chia  Seeds Help You  Lose Weight

– It Is A Natural  Appetite  Suppressant

Chia Seeds are often recommended for those who are  trying to lose weight .  Their ability  to expand and slow digestibility helps keep a person feeling fuller longer. A high protein lowers appetite and reduces  obsessive  thoughts  about  food  by  60%  and  the desire  for night time snacking by 50% . Hence , protein  is  the  most  weight  loss  friendly  macronutrient  and  can  drastically  reduce  appetite  and cravings

One study published in the American Journal of  Clinical Nutrition ,  of  example, showed  that  increasing  protein intake  by just  15 percent of  daily  calories  led to  significant  decreases  in  energy  intake  and  appetite.Other research shows that following  a  high-protein diet  rich in foods  like  chia  seeds could  reduce  levels  of  ghrelin, the hormone responsible  for  stimulating  hunger.

Chia  Seeds  are  the  great  source of  high  soluble  fiber .  The fiber  found  in  chia  seeds  is  the  main  reason  why  they  effectively   succeed  in  shedding  some  pounds off  the  body. One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains 12 grams of carbs, out of which 11 grams are fiber.  The  digestible  carb  content  is  only  one  gram  per  ounce  (28 grams ),  which is  very  low.  This  makes  chia  a low-carb  friendly  food. Fiber neither  raises  blood  sugar  nor  requires  insulin to be  disposed of,  Though  it belongs  to  the  carbohydrate family,  its health  effects are  drastically  different  from those  of  digestible  carbohydrate like  starch and  sugar.

Because  of  its  high  soluble  fiber  content,  chia  seeds  can  absorb  up  to  10 – 12  times  their  weight  in  water,   becoming  gel-like   and  expanding  in  your  stomach ,  which  should  increase  fullness and  slow  the  absorption  of   your  food  and  help  you  automatically  eat  fewer  stomach .  Fiber  also  feeds the  friendly  bacteria  in your  intestine,  keeping  your  gut  flora  well fed,  which  is  absolutely crucial for  your  health.  A high-fiber  diet  normalize  bowel  movement,  regulates blood  sugar,  and  reduces  cholesterol  levels.Increased fiber intake  has  been  shown to lower  blood  pressure  and cholesterol  levels.  A review  of  67  separate  controlled  trials found  that even  a  modest  10 gram per day consumption of  fiber  reduced  LDL ,  bad  cholesterol , as  well  as  total cholesterol. Chia seeds are  40 %  fiber by weight  ,  making them  one of the best  sources  of  fiber  in  the  world.

Best  Energy  Supplements  For Players And Gym Goers

– Promote Energy  And  Endurance

The  Mayans  and Aztecs, the original people  of  central and south ern  regions  of  American continent  originally used chia seeds for their energy and endurance benefits. Warriors  and  athletes  often consumed  chia  seed gel  prior to their  events  to maintain  energy, strength  and stamina. They  ate  chia  seeds to  relieve  knee  and  joint  pain during  long  marches  into  battle.  It  has experimentally  been confirmed to be beneficial  for  runners,  joggers and  gym-goers. The  anti-inflammatory  properties  of  omega-3-fatty acids and Quercetin ,  both  found  in chia  seeds,  are  the reason for  the reduction  in pain.  Chia seeds help to fuel  your  body  for longer  periods  of  time.

Once you know  the different  benefits  that  chia  seeds  could provide  your  body with,  you will realize  it is  good  for  those  who are  trying  to  lose  weight  and  maintain  their  body  shapes . If  you  talk  about   gym work outs, Chia  seeds, because of  its  fiber  content  provide  sustained  energy  during  long working out  period,  which  effectively  helps  to  shed  some  weight  off  the  body. The high  protein content   in  chia  seeds  help  build  more  muscles. Manganese  and  magnesium  are  also important  for  this  purpose.

Doing any  kind  of  intense  exercise  is  known  to  increase  the  production  of  free  radicals  and  that  is why  the person  who  is  involved  with this  kind  of  exercise  should  increase  her or his  intake  of  antioxidant  rich  edibles  for  being  fit  .  Having  chia  a  few  hours  before  a  long, intense  workout  can  help  provide  fat  for fuel  after  the  carbs  burn  off.  Eating  them  after  a  workout can  provide  tissue  repairing  protein.

For  Glowing And  Wrinkle Free  Skin  For  Ladies

– It  Is Known  For  Its  ANTI-AGING  EFFECT

The  anti-inflammatory  properties  of  Chia seed  oil  alleviates  acne  and  restores  normal  moisture  levels  to the skin.  The anti-oxidant  inhibit  wrinkle formation providing  younger ,  smoother  skin and add to more  youthful  appearance.  Chia  is  loaded with antioxidants like  polyphenols,  carotenoids and tocopherols.  Antioxidants  combat  free radical damage  and  prevent  oxidative  stress while also  promoting  tissue  repair  and  protecting  against  skin  damage.The  antioxidant  activity  of chia seeds  is found to stop up to 70 percent  of  free radical  activity.

It is  one  of the  highest  antioxidant  containingfoods  on the planet,  and  adding  chia  seeds  to  your  diet may  help  prevent  dryness  ,  fight  premature  aging  and  protect the  skin cells  against  free  radical damage  to optimize  the health of  your  skin. It  maintains moisture  levels in the skins , delay  aging   and  the appearance of  wrikles.

Fight  Cancer  Growth

Chia seeds  arerich in alpha-linolenic  acid (ALA), a type of  omega-3 fatty acid .  In 2013 ,  an in –vitro study published in the Journal  of Molecular Biochemisty  found that ALA  helped limit the growth of both  breast and  cervical cancer cells. Researchers also  found that it caused cell death of the cancer cells  without  harming  the normal  healthy cells  in the body. This is a great discovery for women struggling  with these increasingly common types of cancer.  This also makes  chia seeds a  potential  cancer-fighting foods.

Build  Stronger  Bones

– Chia  Seeds  Contain 5 Times  More  Calcium  Than Milk

One of the biggest  chia  seed  health  benefits  is  the  ability  to  strengthen  bone  health  and  preserve  bone  density   helping  to  prevent  osteoporosis  ,  joint  weakness  ,  and  general  bodily  flexibility ,  while  reducing  the  risk  of  serious  conditions  like  osteoporosis .   This  is  because  chia  seeds  are  loaded  with  calcium  and  manganese ,  two  minerals  that  are  incredibly  important  for  maintaining  bone  health.

With  about  99  percent  of  the  calcium  in your  body  stored  in your  bones ,  calcium serves  an  important  role  in maintaining  bone  strength  and density. Manganese  is  also involved  in bone  metabolism ,  with studies  showing  that a  deficiency  in  this key  nutrient  can  impair  bone  resorption  and  decrease  bone  formation.  Impressively enough,  a  single  ounce  of  chia  seeds  contains  18 percent  of  the calcium  you  need  in  a  day  while  also  meeting  30 percent  of your  daily  manganese  requirements  to  help  build  stronger  bones. These seeds  also  contain  boron,  which  helps  to  metabolize  calcium.

Prevent  Arthritis

Daily  consumption  of  Chia  seeds  has  been  established  to  prevent  arthritis.

Enhance  Oral  Health

Because  chia  seeds  are  packed  with calcium,  phosphorus,  vitamin A and  zinc,  it  is  no  wonder  that  promoting  oral  health  makes the  list  as  a  top  benefit  of  chia  seeds.  Calcium  is  the  building  block  of your  teeth  that is  necessary  for  maintaining oral  health.  Meanwhile,  zinc  prevents  tartar by keeping  plaque  from  mineralizing  onto your  teeth  and  has an  antibacterial  effect  that keeps  bad  breath  germs away.  Vitamin A and  phosphorus  are also  important  for  strong  teeth  and  a  healthy  mouth,  both  of  which  are  plentiful  in  chia  seeds.

Unhealthy  Colon Is  The Breeding  Place For  Most Chronic  Diseases and  Auto- immune Diseases like  Rheumatoid  Arthritis etc.

Chia Seeds Are The Efficient Cleaner, Detoxifier & Healer Of  Your  Digestive  Track

Poor  health  of  gut  for  a  long  period  impairs  the  barrier  function  of  the  intestine ,  when  bacteria  and  toxins  can  leak  from the  gut,  causing  inflammation  and  many  chronic  diseases  or  auto-immune  diseases  like  Rheumatoid  arthritis,  Myasthenia Gravis,  psoriasis etc.  Your  gut  bacteria  and  the integrity  of your  gut  lining  strongly  affect  your  health.  According  to numerouos  studies,  undesirable  bacteria  products  called endotoxins  can sometimes  leak  through  your gut  lining  and  enter  your  bloodstream.  Your  immune  system  then  recognizes  these  foreign  molecules  and  attacks  them – resulting  in chronic  inflammation.Some hypothesize  that this diet-induced  inflammation  may  trigger  insulin and  leptin  resistance  – driving factors  for type 2 diabetes  and  obesity,  respectively.  It is  also  believed  to cause  fatty liver disease.  At  the  very  least,  inflammation  has  been  strongly  linked  to  many  of  the  world’s  most serious  conditions. Chronic , system inflammation  is now  believed  to be  one of the  leading  drivers  of  some  of  the  world’s  most  serious  conditions.  These include  obesity,  heart disease,  type 2  diabetes, metabolic  syndrome,  Alzheimer’s  disease,  depression, rheumatoid arthritis  and  numerous others.

Regular  bowel  movements  are crucial for the  daily  excretion  of  toxins  through  the  bile  and  stool.Because  of  rich  fiber  content,  chia  seeds  benefit  digestive  health  by  promoting  regularity  and  increasing  stool  frequency  to prevent  constipation .  These  fibers  help the  probiotics,  the beneficial bacteria  flourish  in your  intestines.  These  probiotics   play  a  central role  in  many  aspects  of  health  and  disease. Regular  consumption  of  chia  seeds  has  been  found  to clean up,  detoxify  and  heal  the  gut  ling  in the colon  and  repopulate  these  good  bacteria  for good  bowel  health.

A  Great  Source  Of  Nutrients  And  Superfood  For  Pregnant  Women  And  The Baby

During  pregnancy ,  it  is  important  to  get  adequate calcium  for  proper  skeletal  development. Chia  seeds  contain  almost  five  times  the amount  of  calcium in milk including boron, manganese  and  vitamin A, all of  which are critical  minerals  for  bone  health.

Insufficient  iron intake  during  pregnancy can result in  low birth  weight ,  premature  birth,  impaired  cognitive  and  behavioral  development.  Chia  seeds,  being  greatest  source  of  iron , three times  more  than spinach , is essential  for  mother’s increased  demand of  iron  and  for  the  development  of  the  mother ‘s  and  baby’s blood.

High  blood  sugar  is  risky  for  pregnancy ,  as  it  has  been  linked  to  complications  such  as  pre-eclampsia,  and  still birth.  Chia seeds ,  rich in fiber,  helps slow  sugar absorption  in  the bloodstream  and  keeps  blood  sugar  levels  steady.  The  high  healthy  fat  and  protein  content  of  chia  seeds  encourages a  sustained  energy  boost  and  can  help  fight  fatigue  throughout  the  day,  as  her  energy  fluctuates  throughout  the course  of  her  pregnancy . Eating  chia  seeds  during  early  pregnancy and   during  third  trimester  weeks  can  be  especially  helpful  when  constipation  is  more likely to  occur.

Great  Natural Diet  For  Kids

– For  physical  and  mental growth

Chia  seeds  are   great source  of  protein and  helps in building  and  maintaining  not  only  the  outside  muscle ,  but  also  the  organs.  They  provide  sustained  energy  for  longer  periods.High  content  of  dietary  fiber helps maintain best health of kids. Chia seeds, being  a good  source  of  omega-3 fatty acids are  really  helpful in brain  development  , memory  and  good  eyesight  for your  kids.

An  Inevitable  Diet  For  Elderly

– A Great Source Of  Energy  And  Stamina

Elderly  people  need  extra-supplement  of  nutrients ,  and  chia  seeds  are  the  best  solution for  them.

Chia seeds,  rich  in  calcium, five  times  more  than milk, is essential for bone  density  and  strength  while  reducing  the risk  of  serious  conditions  like  osteoporosis. Chia seeds  are  best  for  cardiovascular  health  and  for  lowering  cholesterol  levels. It is  solution  for  obesity,  weight  management ,  diabetis and  bowel  health.  Because of   high  content  of  omega- 3  oil ,  it strengthen  the  immune  system  and  promote  the cell  regeneration.

 

How to eat Chia Seeds?

  • Chia seeds can be soaked in a glass of water and consumed the next morning with breakfast.
  • Water-soaked chia seeds can be added to cakes or cookies to eliminate the use of butter. Eating sprouted chia seeds can also be very beneficial.
  • They can be added to various drinks, juices, protein shakes, and milkshakes as a healthy component.
  • Chia seeds can also be sprinkled on various foods in your breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • They can be added to eggs to make a healthy omelet or to salads as a dressing.
  • Add a handful of chia seeds to milk and boli the mixture for some time to have a healthy porridge.
  • Chia seeds can be ground up and the powder can be added to flour, milk, and yogurts.
  • Chia seeds can be added to stews as a thickening agent.

 

Some Funful Uses for Chia Seeds

As a Safe Egg Substitute

I recommend a lot of egg consumption and many of my recipes contain eggs. I occasionally get questions from readers who need to adapt a recipe to avoid eggs, and from my research/testing, chia is one of the best options for this.

To substitute for an egg: Use 1 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds (grind them dry in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder) and 3 tablespoons of water per egg in a baked recipe (does not work in place of eggs for omelets though…)

To Thicken Soup or Gravies

If you don’t use cornstarch or thickening agents, it can sometimes be a challenge to thicken different culinary creations. Just add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds (powdered or not) at a time to reach the desired thickness.

To Thicken Meatballs Instead of Breadcrumbs

I married an Italian, so meatballs get made pretty often around here. His grandmother’s recipe calls for breadcrumbs, which I don’t use, so I just throw in a couple tablespoons of ground chia seeds (per pound of meat) in place of bread crumbs. Also works to thicken meat-loafs, batters, etc.

Sprouted for Salads

Ever had little sprouts on a salad at a restaurant? You can make them yourself. Just put some chia seeds in water, drain the water off and leave in a jar for a couple days. Every 12 hours or so, rinse with water and pour the water off. In a day or two, you’ll have little chia sprouts, which leads to the next use of chia seeds:

To Make Homemade Energy Gel

Seen the commercial for those new (corn syrup filled) Gatorade Gels and Chews? Here’s a healthier variation that kids will love: Add a couple tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of coconut water. Let sit for about ten minutes and you’ll have an incredible energy gel! Beats the socks off of Gatorade for hydration and energy and you get to avoid the fake colors, fake flavors and GMO corn 🙂 Also works for grown ups for endurance activities like running a 5K without training at all (ask me how I know that….)

As a “Breading” for Baking Fish and Chicken

Mixed with some almond flour and garlic powder, or even by itself, Chia Seeds make an excellent “Breading” for fish or chicken. It toasts up well and provides a nutty, crunchy flavor without the grains (another win-win!).

Kid-Friendly Chia Seed Squeeze Pouches

The flavor combinations are endless, and the recipe requires only a few ingredients. Chia seed squeeze pouches are one of my kids’ favorite snacks, and with these reusable pouches, your kiddos can enjoy them too.

Chia Seed Energy Bars

This is my favorite way to use chia seeds so far! These energy bars are a great snack or treat for kids or a healthy breakfast addition if you need extra energy. They are also nut, dairy, and grain free so they are safe to send to schools even if there are allergy restrictions.

Coconut Chia Porridge

When you crave a warm, nourishing breakfast, this coconut chia porridge will satisfy. It’s grain-free and features a delicious flavor combo of figs, pistachios and vanilla beans. My kids love it, and I love that it nourishes them, plus meets my need for avoiding eggs as breakfast.

Chocolate Coconut Energy Bars

I love the convenience of energy bars, and my kids requested a chocolate-flavored one, so I created these chocolate coconut energy bars, with optional chia seeds (which I recommend you add!). Enjoy all the taste and convenience, minus the junkie ingredients typically found in store-bought energy bars.

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

If you avoid store-bought jams and jellies loaded with sugar and lots of other unmentionable ingredients (I was recently surprised to see red dye in a strawberry jam- c’mon, strawberries are already red!), you’ll love thisstrawberry chia seed jam from Mommypotamus.

Blueberry Chia Seed Smoothie

For a fast meal or snack that doesn’t require many ingredients or, ahem, actual cooking, but still offers tons of nutrition, this blueberry chia seed smoothie from The Family That Heals Together will keep both mama and kiddos happy, for more reasons than one.

Strawberry Rhubarb Chia Muffins

These grain-free goodies are the perfect treat or breakfast from The Real Food Dietitians.

Strawberry Matcha Chia Pudding

Matcha is all the rage these days, thanks to its super healing and energizing green tea origins. This fun take on chia pudding with strawberries and matcha tea from Paleo Magazine looks amazing.

Spinach Salad with Creamy Chia Vinaigrette

A beautiful salad is nutritious on its own. Pair it with a chia seed-based dressing, and you’ve got a winner! Check out this spinach salad with creamy chia vinaigrette from Get Inspired Everyday.

Chia Seed Water

Fancier than it sounds, this energy drink from Not Your Standard contains just a couple ingredients (unless you count the lemon wedge and optional honey) so it’s easy to throw it together and sip throughout a busy day.

Multi-Seed Crackers

Serve these crackers up with a slice of avocado or cheese for snack time. Get the recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen here.

Low-Carb Chia Bread

This chia bread from Rosanna Davison Nutrition is grain-free and low carb, and looks like it would be fantastic for a sandwich or French toast!

“Peanut Butter” and Jelly Overnight Chia Pudding

More filling and way more nutritious than oatmeal, this “PB” and J overnight chia pudding from PaleOMG is perfect for breakfast or after a workout.

Chocolate Dipped Caramel Nut Bars

One more from PaleOMG, because I thought we should end with what looks to be basically a healthy candy bar. These chocolate dipped caramel nut bars look amazing and are super healthy to boot!

Soak them overnight & add to a smoothie 

Using a smoothie cup put in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and add some liquid (aim for around a 1:8 ratio of chia seeds to liquid).  Stir the seeds for a minute until they’ve combined properly.  Then leave them to soak overnight.  In the morning add your greens and fruit to the same cup, add more liquid and whiz it up.  Easy peasy!

Chia seed pudding   

This is my staple breakfast; chia seed pudding or porridge as I mostly call it.  You can get my ‘go-to’ recipe over here.  I usually prepare enough for 3 days at a time using 1 large container that I will leave in the fridge.

How to use raw chia seeds

— Sprinkle over yogurt, oatmeal and cereals.

— Stir into drinks and smoothies.

— Toss in mixed greens, rice, pasta or potato salads.

— Add to muffin and cookie recipes.

— Make a pudding, stirring the seeds into almond milk (or other dairy, rice or coconut milk).

— In a clean coffee grinder, grind the seeds into a coarse flour (often called milled chia) and use it in baked goods.

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