Chia seeds are the new hype of these past years due to its effectiveness in weight loss. Little did we know, It is one of the superfoods that have a lot of benefits for our bodies, from boosting metabolism to preventing diseases. These tiny seeds are nutritionally packed with minerals our bodies need. Before we show you these nutrients and their benefits are, let me discuss a little background about chia seeds.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are edible seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica, a purple-colored desert plant that can be found in Central America and a member of the mint family. These seeds are oval and gray with black and white spots and considered as one of the superfoods due to its number of benefits to our bodies. It has two varieties: black and white chia seeds. Both of this color is considered good quality. Though different in color, their nutrients and benefits are the same. It does not have any taste of its own, which is why you can combine them with different food, drinks, and spices. They may look small in shape, but don’t underestimate it as it is full of important nutrients that our bodies need.
Nutrients and Benefits of Chia Seeds
These tiny seeds are superb in doing its job in making us healthy if included in our diet. In fact, there are a lot of minerals that chia seeds contain. An ounce serving of chia seeds are nutritionally packed in:
11.2g of fiber
The fiber that chia seeds contain is very helpful in a lot of ways. Some are the following:
- Fiber feeds the friendly bacteria in our intestine, which keeps our gut flora well-fed and is absolutely crucial for health.
- The fiber in Chia seeds is soluble fiber. It can absorb water up to 12 times their weight and will form in a gel-like. It expands in your stomach, thus making you feel full for longer hours. This can result in weight gain.
- These seeds are high in fiber, which helps prevent pressure and inflammation in the colon.
- It also helps boost metabolism and prevent constipation.
- It regulates bowel movements that are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.
- High fiber intake helps lower blood pressure by slowing down the absorption of sugar in the blood, thus preventing stroke and heart attack.
- It helps decrease the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
5.6g of protein
Protein is essential in building body mass. It also serves as our bodies’ fuel source. Basically, proteins in chia seeds are helpful in a way that:
- The decent amount of protein in chia seeds is one of the reasons for weight gain as it lowers appetite and food cravings. Consuming a high amount of protein will be stored as fat, which can lead to obesity.
- It is one of the nutrients that help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- It also helps maintain good bone health.
- It helps build and repair tissues.
Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants. It helps slow down the signs of aging, making us look younger, fight the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and diseases such as cancer. It can also help our hair healthier.
5g of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This nutrient is commonly found in fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, which chia seeds also have it. In fact, 75% of the fats in chia seeds are omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), while about 20% consist of omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 has shown a good effect on our cardiovascular health, such as lowering cholesterol levels, regulating heartbeat, preventing blood clots, regulating blood pressure, and preventing inflammation. These fatty acids also play an important role in our brain function and development by improving our memory and keeping us alert.
28g of Calcium
We all know that calcium is the number one mineral our bodies need to keep our bones healthy and strong. Good thing, chia seeds have it. People who don’t eat dairy products can opt to chia seeds as it contains more calcium than most dairy products.
27% of the recommended daily intake of Phosphorus
Protein and phosphorus are like partners, as the latter is usually found in protein-riched food. It helps maintain our tissues and bone health.
30% of the recommended daily intake of Manganese
Most whole grains and seeds contain manganese, and chia seeds are one of them. This mineral contributes to:
- boosting metabolism
- maintaining healthy bones
- possess high antioxidant properties
- Helps increase blood flow
- Helps regulate blood sugar
As a component of hemoglobin in red blood cells, iron is involved in the transport of oxygen throughout the body. It also helps us keep going and prevents anemia.
Like manganese, magnesium also has a lot of benefits for our bodies. Some are:
- It helps fight depression and relieves anxiety.
- It can help prevent migraines.
- It can go together with calcium, which helps improve bone formation, bone health, and preventing osteoporosis.
- It reduces insulin resistance.
- It helps boost exercise performance.
This mineral is often absent in most food, but good thing chia seeds have it. This goes together with iron, and they help our body form red blood cells, maintain healthy immune function, blood vessels, nerves, and bones. This also contributes to iron absorption.
Zinc is naturally found in the cells of our bodies. It can also be found in the food we eat, and it will help boost our natural zinc. Chia seeds have it too! This mineral has a role in wound healing. It also has its effect on learning and memory, treats the common cold, and helps sharpen our sense of taste and smell. Overall, it helps ur metabolism and immune system function well.
Selenium is another mineral that can be found in chia seeds, which is a powerful antioxidant, and it helps reduce the risk of certain cancers. It also helps reduce asthma symptoms, protects against heart disease, boosts the immune system, and is important in thyroid health.
Though there are a lot of minerals found in chia seeds as listed above, some of them are not fully absorbed by our bodies. This is due to the phytic acid chia seeds contain. Phytic acid is commonly found in all seeds, and it absorbs minerals. It is often referred to as anti-nutrient due to its effects. But not to worry, this can be prevented by soaking the seeds in the water before consuming it. Soaking it will help release the acid from the seeds and stops it from binding to the essential minerals our bodies need.
Side Effects of Taking Chia Seeds
You might be very excited to try chia seeds since it has a lot of benefits, plus it is effective in weight loss that you forgot that taking this more than the required amount per day is not good anymore. Since these seeds contain a high amount of fiber, too much fiber intake can lead to constipation, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Also, people who have ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease should watch out taking chia seeds, especially during flare-ups. These chronic diseases cause inflammation, which leads to narrowing their gastrointestinal tract and suffering from the symptoms mentioned. A person with nut or seed allergy is suggested to check with their doctor before taking this seed. If you opt to take this dry like sprinkling it in your food, do not take water immediately. Wait at least a few minutes before doing so. Also, you should take it at your own risk since it may cause blockage, and it will absorb more fluids inside our stomach, which can result in dehydration.
Always remember that moderation is the key to preventing side effects and risks.
Anyone can take chia seeds as long as you will follow the recommended amount of intake per day. Please also note of the following:
- Pregnant women and babies can also take this with moderation.
- An adult can only take 20 grams (1.5 tablespoons) of chia seeds twice per day.
- It is also recommended to drink plenty of water so the fiber can pass through our bodies. Not doing so can result in digestive issues.
- Drinking plenty of water can also prevent dehydration, which is common in taking chia seeds.
- Soaking it in water for 15-20 minutes can maximize the benefits of the seeds.
- For best results, you can take chia seeds on your breakfast and dinner, so you will not crave for midnight snacks anymore.
- It is not recommended to take chia seeds in their dry form. One man did so, followed by a glass of water, and it blocked in his esophagus., causing a blockage.
Where to buy Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds can be bought anywhere in supermarkets or online shops. You can try this superfood and get it at HoneyCity.