We are sure that you have heard the adage that good things come in small packages. Chia seeds are examples of that proverb. Packed with abundant nutrients and micronutrients, these tiny seeds provide mammoth health benefits when included in our daily diet.
Chia seeds are considered as a superfood and the popularity of chia seeds have skyrocketed recently when people realized that chia seeds not only can provide multifaceted advantages to them but they are also very flavorful, an extremely versatile ingredient and can be enjoyed by both young and old alike.
So let us know more about these tiny seeds then.
Nutritional facts about Chia seeds
Also known as Salvia hispanica, chia seeds are the natives of Mexico. Oval-shaped, small and soft chia seeds can be multicoloured and come in the colours brown, black and white. Did you know that chia seeds are hydrophilic in nature and soak up water and increase their weight to ten folds?
An ounce( 28 grams/ 2 teaspoons) serving of chia seeds provides:
- Fibre- 11 grams
- Calories- 137 calories
- Protein- 4 grams
- Fat- 9 grams
- Digestible carbohydrates- 1 gram
- Calcium- 18% RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake)
- Magnesium and manganese- 30% RDI
- Phosphorous- 27% RDI
- Vitamin B1, zinc, vitamin B3, potassium and vitamin B2 are also present in ample amounts
Health benefits of chia seeds
In olden times, chia seeds were mainly grown to be used as a cooking oil but as time passed, more and more health benefits were uncovered and chia seeds soon took the nutritional and the health world by a storm.
Some of the most common health benefits are:
- For the system
As already seen from the nutritional profile of chia seeds, they are packed with nutrients and micronutrients and each of the nutrients present in chia seeds provides unique benefits to the system.
1.Fibre and protein
- Fibre neither raises blood sugar and nor requires insulin to be disposed of, therefore, chia seeds do not pose threats for diabetic patients.
- Fibre feeds the good bacteria in the gut and keeps the gut healthy for the proper functioning of the body.
- Soluble fibres present in chia seeds when consumed created a feeling of fullness in the stomach by slowing down the absorption of foods by the system, therefore, reducing the portions of foods we intake and also preventing consuming unwanted calories into the system.
- Proteins present in chia seeds strengthen the immune system, reduce appetite and food intake and therefore chia seeds can be your go-to food when you are trying to lose weight.
1 ounce of chia seeds has only one gram of digestible carbohydrates and therefore chia seeds are considered as low carb friendly food.
3.Omega-3 fatty acids
We all know how omega-3 fatty acids are important for the proper functioning of the body. Being a substantial source of omega-3, chia seeds provide good fats for the system and are essential for the working of the nervous system of the body.
4.Minerals and antioxidants
Combats against inflammation, growth of cancer cells, ageing and age-related cognitive decline.
Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, the nutrients present in chia seeds also:
- Maintains blood sugar and cholesterol. It reduces bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the body and increases good cholesterol.
- It provides relief from irritable bowel syndrome.
- For vegetarian and vegan people, chia seeds provide all the nutrients required for the proper functioning of the body.
Chia seeds for hair and skin
Chia seeds are abundant in antioxidants and these antioxidants not only provides enhances our immune system but also provides abundant health advantages for our hair and skin too.
- Chia seeds can combat against free radicals which causes cell damage and augments the ageing process.
- These seeds strengthen the skin barriers to fight against the damages caused due to UV radiation.
- Chia seeds belong to the mint family, therefore it acts as a soothing agent for inflammation.
- Abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds protect the skin against acne-causing bacteria and also help to diminish blemishes simultaneously.
- Not only for skin, but chia seeds are also very beneficial for our hair. The fibre and proteins in chia seeds strengthen hair roots and promote hair growth.
- Essential amino acids present in chia seeds improve hair health and helps to revitalize and brings back the shine and lustre.
Side effects of chia seeds
We do know the abundant health benefits of chia seeds but there are certain side effects of chia seeds that you should be aware of.
Some of the potential risks are involved are:
- Chia seeds are rich in fibre but overconsumption of these seeds can lead to bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and gas.
- Omega-3 is also considered as blood thinners and therefore chia seeds should not be consumed before or after surgeries as they can increase the rate of bleeding and can also lower down blood pressure.
- It has been observed sometimes that chia seeds can cause severe allergic reactions in people and therefore if you notice any allergic symptoms, make sure to consult a doctor immediately.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should stay away from chia seeds as they are rich in fibre content and can produce unwanted complications during pregnancy.
How to incorporate chia seeds in your daily diet?
Chia seeds are an extremely versatile ingredient. These tiny seeds have a mild taste and do not possess any distinct flavour. They take upon the taste of the food or beverage they are added into. They are hydrophilic in nature and become less-detectable when added to liquids.
You can use chia seeds by:
- You can add a few teaspoons of chia seeds to your breakfast cereals, salads, soups and stews to give you that crunch flavour.
- You can use chia seeds as your main ingredient and make smoothies, puddings, ice popsicles and more.
- You can also chia seeds into cake and muffins batter or add them to your sauce and salsa marinades.
Now there you go, everything you need to know about the health benefits of chia seeds. Chia seeds are a complete food and when incorporated into the daily diet, provides abundant benefits to its consumer.
It can be easily incorporated into foods and beverages but do make sure to consult a dietitian or a nutritionist before including into your daily diet. Now go on, include these tiny seeds into your foods and reap all the benefits out of it.