Chia is an edible seed also known as Salvia Hispanica and come from a type of flowering plant from the mint family and date back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. These plants are native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. Chia means “strength”, and so cultures may have used these little black and white seeds as an energy booster, they are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be easily absorbed by the body. Whilst it doesn’t hurt to eat them straight, if you soak them beforehand they’re even easier to digest, and then your body can access the dense nutrients hidden inside the seeds. Either way, they are still a superb source of nutrition, so let’s now take a look at the Top 5 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds!
1. Weight loss
Chia seeds are high in fibre and thereby help you to feel full for longer, whilst being low in calories, increased fibre intake is correlated to weight loss. Chia seeds are believed to expand in your stomach and the feeling of fullness means you will actually eat less.
2. Managing diabetes
High fibre diets are associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes. This is due to the seeds high fibre ratio helping to keep blood sugar stable, by regulating hunger and appetite. When chia seeds make you feel full, they help prevent the ‘peak and dip’ effect of your food intake affecting your blood sugars.
A diet with plenty of fibre prevents constipation and promotes regularity of your digestion function, therefore chia seeds help maintain a healthy digestive system. Regular bowel movements also benefit you, as they are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.
4. Healthy bones and teeth
Chia seeds are high in calcium, which has several important functions including building strong bones and teeth within the body. Calcium is fundamental in bone health for maintaining bone strength and mass. Chia also contains boron, another essential nutrient for bone health. Boron helps metabolize calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for the healthy growth of bones and muscles.
5. Healthy tissues and organs
Chia seeds are a great source of protein, especially for vegetarians, whilst not contributing cholesterol. Protein is an essential nutrient, responsible for multiple functions in the body, such as building tissue, cells and muscle and for the structure, operation and regulation of the body’s various multitasking tissues and organs.
Gradually incorporate chia seeds into your diet, to let your body get used to increased fibre and drink plenty of water! The recommended daily serving is one to two tablespoons of dry seeds and choosing an organic brand of seeds is best. Chia seeds are relatively easy to find in any major grocery store and are quite versatile to incorporate into your diet. The seeds can be eaten raw, soaked in water to form a gel or sprouted and they can absorb up to ten times their weight in water. When eaten raw they have a nutlike flavour and are a great addition to porridge, yogurt, smoothies, sprinkled on cereal, added to salads, sauces or soups! Love chia? Let us know your experiences and recipes with it below!