Chia seeds have become one of the most popular food supplements in recent years. They are easy to digest if prepared correctly, and are a very versatile ingredient that can be combined with numerous recipes.
- 0.1 What is Chia?
- 1 What do Chia seeds give us?
- 1.1 They contain numerous nutrients and very few calories
- 1.2 They have high doses of antioxidants
- 1.3 Contains high levels of fiber
- 1.4 They are rich in high quality proteins
- 1.5 Help to lose weight
- 1.6 They are rich in omega-3
- 1.7 Reduces the risk of heart disease
- 1.8 They are good for bone health
- 1.9 Control sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetes
- 1.10 Improve energy efficiency
- 1.11 They are easy to incorporate into our diet
What is Chia?
Chia is an edible seed that comes from a plant that grows in the Mexican desert called Sage, in Mexico its cultivation is known since the times of Mayan and Aztec cultures.
The Chia is a food that contains high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acid, carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, antioxidants and calcium, among others. An ounce of these seeds (about 2 tablespoons) contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 11 grams of fiber, in addition to vitamins and minerals.
The mild nutty flavor of chia seeds makes them ideal for adding to both food and beverages. They are usually used as a supplement in cereals, sauces, vegetables, rice and yogurt, or mixed in drinks and baked goods. They can also be mixed with water and become a gel.
What do Chia seeds give us?
Chia is rich in many essential nutrients, research has found that regular consumption of chia seeds can improve our health in many ways. Some of the main benefits of chia seeds are the following:
They contain numerous nutrients and very few calories
Chia is a plant that is related to mint. Chia seeds were an essential food for the Aztecs and Maya in their day. They appreciated their great ability to provide energy ... in fact, "Chia" is the Mayan word for "strength."
Despite its long history as a staple in the diet, only recently chia seeds have become a popular and mass-consumed food almost worldwide.
Despite its small size, chia seeds is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They contain large amount of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids and several other micronutrients.
They have high doses of antioxidants
Another component that chia seeds contain are the famous antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the most sensitive fats in the seeds preventing them from becoming rancid.
For our part, When we consume antioxidants in our diet, we are helping to combat the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and the appearance of diseases such as cancer.
In addition, it seems that chia seeds contain more antioxidants than blueberries, so their benefits are also greater.
It contains high levels of fiber
Looking at the nutritional profile of chia seeds we can see that in 30 grams of chia 12 they are carbohydrates. But in addition, 11 of those grams are fiber, which means they are not digested and help improve intestinal transit.
Because of the large amount of fiber they contain, Chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel and expanding in the stomach. In theory, this is what generates its high level of satiety and its slow absorption of food, helping to consume fewer calories.
Fiber also feeds the beneficial bacteria we have in our intestines, which is important to keep our guts well fed, something crucial for health.
Chia seeds are composed of 40% fiber. This makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
They are rich in high quality proteins
Chia seeds contain a large amount of protein. According to their weight, approximately 14% are proteins, which is a very high concentration compared to most plants.
They also contain a good balance of essential amino acids, which helps our body to be able to make use of these proteins.
Proteins have all kinds of health benefits. But it is also one of the nutrients that most help weight loss when we make a diet.
High protein intake decreases appetite and has been shown to help reduce obsessive thoughts about food in 60% and the desire to peck at night in 50%.
Chia seeds really are an excellent source of protein, especially for people who consume few or no products of animal origin.
It helps to lose weight
Numerous health experts agree that chia seeds can help you lose weight.
The fiber that It contains absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach, which increases the feeling of fullness and retards the absorption of food.
On the other hand, chia seed proteins could help reduce appetite and therefore food intake.
But we must remember that a weight loss diet is more than the addition or subtraction of specific foods. To achieve effectiveness in the diet we must implement other lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, good sleep hygiene, etc.
When chia is combined with a diet based on beneficial foods and a healthy lifestyle, then we can see how chia seeds effectively help us lose weight.
They are rich in omega-3
Chia seeds contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the omega-3 of chia seeds are mostly ALA (alpha linolenic acid), and they need to become the “active” forms EPA and DHA, before they can be used by the Body.
Unfortunately, we humans are not efficient converting ALA fatty acids into their active forms. Thus, The benefits of chia omega-3 is lower than animal sources such as fish.
Studies have shown that chia seeds (especially if they are ground) can increase blood levels of ALA and EPA, but not DHA. Unfortunately, DHA is the most important of the omega-3 fatty acids, so it is something to keep in mind.
In order to obtain the necessary levels of DHA for our body and brain, we either eat fatty fish regularly, fish oil or take a DHA supplement if you are vegetarian or vegan.
Reduce the risk of heart disease
As we have seen, chia seeds have a high fiber, protein and omega-3 content, and all these compounds are capable of improving our metabolic health.
Some studies with chia seeds have shown its ability to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and increase HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol)
However, although it is possible that chia seeds can reduce these risk factors, they probably will not have a real effect unless we accompany them with regular exercise and other beneficial changes in our diet.
They are good for bone health
Chia seeds are rich in important nutrients for the bones such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and proteins.
Thus, chia seeds can be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who do not eat dairy products.
Control sugar levels in Type 2 Diabetes
According to some studies have shown, Chia seeds can lower blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds contain soluble fibers, which are believed to be responsible for keeping blood glucose levels stable. In addition, remember that they can also help you lose weight, lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, all of which helps improve blood circulation, so all are advantages.
Improve energy efficiency
It is said that the Aztecs and the Maya already used chia seeds to improve their energy after a day of effort.
Apparently, Chia seeds can help athletes recharge carbohydrates to better withstand endurance tests thanks to the contribution of numerous nutrients and few sugars.
They are easy to incorporate into our diet
Chia seeds have a fairly mild taste, so can be added to almost anything.
In addition, they do not have to be ground like other seeds (for example flax seeds), which makes them much easier to prepare.
They can be eaten raw, mixed with juice, added to porridge, cereals, yogurts, vegetables, rice dishes and desserts or in baked goods.
Due to their ability to absorb water and fat, they can be used to thicken sauces. They can also be mixed with water and become a gel.
Chia seeds are usually very well tolerated, but if someone is not used to eating a lot of fiber, then there is a possibility of suffering some digestive side effects if they eat too many at once.
The recommended dose is 20 grams (about 1.5 tablespoons) of chia seeds, twice a day.