The benefits of chia seeds have given them a place among the top famous and widely consumed superfoods all over the world.
Chia seeds are also known by various names like Mexican chia, Salba chia, and Salvia hispanica which is their botanical name.
This plant is native to Mexico and Guatemala and it had a huge importance in ancient Aztec and Mayan civilizations. The term ‘chia’ in the Mayan language simply means strength and that’s why they used to give it to their warriors to increase their endurance.
Chia seeds are rich in fibre, protein, antioxidants, calcium, and most importantly omega-3 fatty acids.
Here are the reasons that contribute to the various health benefits of chia seeds.
Benefits of Chia Seeds:
This superfood can provide you with plenty of health benefits ranging from weight loss to controlling blood sugar levels. Let’s have a look at some of them:
1. Rich Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Chia seeds are one of those rare types of seeds that contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids, an essential compound for lowering blood pressure. It also prevents the development of cardiac disorders like abnormal heart rhythm and stroke.
2. Constipation prevention:
They are a good source of insoluble fibre. Chia seeds form a gel when mixed with water and by doing so help in preventing constipation.
3. Weight Loss:
If you are one of those trying to reduce that stubborn fat, you have come to the right place. The benefits of chia seeds for weight loss are not a secret now, thanks to their fibre richness. A normal daily dose of 25-38 grams of chia seeds can help you shed those extra pounds.
You can easily prepare a meal out of chia seeds for weight loss. Just add two tablespoons full of whole or raw chia seeds into a glass of water. Stir well and allow the mixture to settle. After a few minutes, the seeds will swell by absorbing water and you can enjoy your protein-rich weight loss drink.
The fibre content of chia seeds also helps you feel full for a longer duration and hence will prevent you from munching on little snacks.
4. Blood Sugar balance:
The ability of chia seeds to slow down metabolism is directly linked to the prevention of diabetes. Not only this, but the gel-like coating on the chia seeds helps in preventing the rise of blood sugar levels.
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids is also a major reason why chia seeds help maintain a healthy sugar balance.
5. Workout Drink:
Heavy workouts can sometimes become lethargic and energy-consuming, leading to tiredness. But not to worry if you have a glass of chia seeds, thanks to their omega-3 fatty acids and carbohydrates that they provide at an instance.
When taken post-workout, they provide proteins essential for rebuilding tissues and muscles.
6. Skin improvement:
The health benefits of chia seeds for the skin are mainly due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids, which help in increasing the blood circulation in the skin, reduce dryness and protect the skin against UV rays.
The anti-inflammatory properties of chia seeds help keep problems like arthritis at bay.
7. Healthy Bones and Teeth:
Studies have shown that the consumption of calcium-rich plant-based food products, like chia seeds, regularly helps in improving the overall health of the skeletal system.
Apart from calcium, chia seeds are also rich in manganese and phosphorus, the building blocks of bones and teeth. So, if you wanna have those in check, chia seeds are one of the best solutions.
8. Cancer prevention:
The presence of alpha-linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids helps the body to fight against cancer, particularly breast cancer. Therefore, chia seeds are highly recommended for females of any age provided they have no allergic symptoms against them.
9. Protein Powerhouse:
We all are well aware of the importance of protein, from being an essential component of our DNA to daily gym activities. Chia seeds proudly possess 19% protein. With all the necessary amino acids, it is a protein powerhouse.
10. Sleep improvement:
Melatonin and serotonin are the two more important hormones required for sleep. These hormones are produced by an amino acid known as tryptophan. Chia seeds being rich in tryptophan helps in relaxing and sleeping. Therefore, chia seeds are also beneficial in helping people with sleeping disorders.
How to Eat Chia Seeds:
So, you should try the following three basic forms of eating chia seeds.
1. Powdered Form:
Grind the seeds into a fine powder and use it as a thickening agent. After grinding, you can simply mix the chia seed powder with any dish you want and have it.
2. Raw Form:
This is the simplest and easiest form to consume chia seeds. You can add the seeds to yoghurt and smoothies for breakfast. You can use them in your soups or sauces as a thickening agent. They can also be used as a spread in sandwiches, providing a crunchy texture.
3. Soaked Form:
This is the most common method of using chia seeds, just soak the seeds in water overnight for maximum benefits. After soaking they will turn into a gel known as chia gel.
This gel acts as a base for your smoothies and protein shakes. Soaked chia seeds are easy to absorb and they aid in digestion.
Check out our chia seed pudding recipe, it's definitely a must-try!
Chia Seeds Side Effects in Females :
Despite being a superfood, chia seeds may also have a few drawbacks. You may want to moderate your intake because of these five chia seeds' side effects:
1. Gastrointestinal Issues:
Chia seeds are rich in fibre. Excessive intake of fibre in some individuals may cause diarrhoea, abdominal pain, constipation and bloating. So keep in mind that you take a moderate intake.
2. Low Blood Pressure:
Excessive intake of omega-3 fatty acids may cause your blood to thin out. Chia seeds being a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids may become responsible for this.
3. Blood Sugar level:
The fibre in the chia seeds can slow down the digestion of food, including sugars present in them. This can however encourage some ups and downs in the sugar levels.
Some people are allergic to plants like mint, sesame, or mustard. Chia seeds being from the mint family may also induce some allergic reactions in some individuals. So, proper caution must be adopted.
5. Potential Effects on Pregnant Women:
In general, chia seeds are considered safe and nutritious for pregnant women. But excessive intake may cause some digestive problems, so pregnancy may not be the best time to experiment with chia seeds.
Chia seeds are indeed a superfood providing multiple health benefits to the human body. The only thing that needs to be taken care of is its intake amount. Just don’t eat in excessive amounts as it may induce some side effects. Otherwise, you are good to go.