What are Chia seeds, you may ask.
They sound Chinese, and when my mum first introduced them to me I was somewhat baffled by the strange name.
Then a little research on the internet showed that Chia seeds are in fact, Salvia hispanica, a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. The 16th century Codex Mendoza provides evidence that it was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times; economic historians have suggested that it was as important as maize as a food crop.It is still used in Mexico and Guatemala today, with the seeds sometimes ground, while whole seeds are used for nutritious drinks and as a food source. The most important point is that they are a rich source of plan omega- 3. These days, with so many stories on high mercury levels in fish oils, a good alternative might be plant oils instead.
photo credit : nuts.com
Here are 10 Good Reasons to Start Eating Chia Seeds:
1. Helps with weight loss
Chia seeds are popular for weight loss. They reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper. They can also help your diet by making you feel full. This is because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
2. Gives you more Energy
Don’t want to feel sluggish in the noon time? Your energy levels have a lot to do with what you eat. Chia is one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein. It is a complete protein, and helps to raise energy levels in the body. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood-sugar balancing gel all work together to make sure you have steady energy to complete daily tasks.
3. Helps Prevent Diverticulitis / Diverticulosis
With the abundance of over-processed foods and white flour on the market today, rich sources of fiber are harder to come by. These foods of convenience have contributed to the rise of diverticulitis. Irregularity is a big factor in this risky condition. To help ensure regularity, you need plenty of soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet. If you don’t want to eat celery, and lots of whole-grain or piles of bran flakes, the Chia Seed is a good alternative. Each seed is coated with soluble fibers which aid its gelling action. The exterior of the seed is protected by insoluble fiber. The insoluble fiber is unable to be digested (it does not contribute any calories, or break down) so instead, it helps keep food moving smoothly through the digestive process. Soluble fiber, and the gel coating of the seed keeps the colon hydrated and ensures the easy movement of food.
4. Helps with Hydration for athletes
They are also great for athletes because the “chia gel” can hydrate the body.
5. Helps Reduce blood pressure
There’s evidence to suggest they can reduce blood pressure.
6. Allows you to Bake with less fat
Do you enjoy making baked goods at home, but hate all the butter and oil that has to go into them? Good news – Chia gel can substitute for half the butter in most recipes. The food will bake the same. All you need to do is divide the amount of butter or oil in half, and then use the same amount of chia gel to fill in. The anti-oxidants in chia can even help keep the food tasting fresh longer. Everything from cookies to cakes to muffins, pancakes and waffles can be made with chia gel as your butter replacement.
7. Provides you with more Omega-3
Chia is the richest plant-source of this healthy oil. By weight, chia contains more omega 3 than salmon. Omega 3 oil is important in heart and cholesterol health. It’s also recently been targeted as a weight-loss helper. USA Weekend magazine also reports on a study where overweight dieters who included omega 3s in their eating plan lost 2 more pounds monthly than the control group, who did not.
8. Helps in Diabetes
Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
9. Provides age-defying anti-oxidants
Anti-oxidants have been in the news lately due to their super healthy benefits. You know that blueberries and several exotic fruits (that aren’t always in season) have them, but did you know that chia is extremely high in anti-oxidants too? These helpful substances are what makes the Chia Seed stay fresh for so long. At room temperature, they’ll stay fresh and ready to eat for over two whole years. And that’s all without a single chemical or preservative. This amazing ability is not found in other seeds like flax or sesame, because those seeds don’t have the same rich anti-oxidant content.
Anti-oxidants help prevent free-radical damage in your body. Free radicals lead to problematic conditions such as premature aging of the skin and inflammation of various tissues. Fight free radical damage by staying fresh and healthy with nature’s anti-oxidant powerhouse
10. Is Easy to Digest
They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up.
Where do I buy Chia seeds (chemical free, raw foods)? I get mine here.
Here’s a post on 40 Ways to use Chia Seeds in your cooking. ENJOY!