What are 5 Health Benefits of Consuming Chia?
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds harvested from the plant Salvia hispanica which is found in Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds were also a staple of Mayan and Aztec diets. Good-quality chia seeds are naturally black or white in colour.
Chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and are a rich source of B vitamins, niacin, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc.
Below we list 5 possible benefits of including Chia seeds in your meals.
Chia seeds are full of antioxidants which fight the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.
Chia seeds are rich omega-3 in the plant form: alpha linolenic acid (ALA). In the human body, ALA can be converted to two other omega-3 fatty acids - eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA needs to be converted into the active forms eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) before our body can use it.
Omega-3 fatty acids are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, as well as enhancing brain and potentially heart health.
Studies have shown that chia seeds can increase blood levels of ALA and EPA but not DHA. DHA is considered to be the most important omega-3 fat. To get the DHA your body and brain needs, either eat fatty fish regularly or take fish oil or if you are vegan or vegetarian a plant-sourced DHA supplement.
Chia seeds is made up of around 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants. They also have a good balance of essential amino acids. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Our body uses protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.
Chia seeds are rich in fibre – which helps with satiety, the feeling of fullness. A 25g portion of chia seeds contains approximately 9g of fibre. The daily recommended amount of fibre is 30g, so including a 25g portion of chia seeds each day could be a useful contribution. Fibre is important for a healthy digestive system. Fibre also helps keep your gut flora healthy.
5. Bone Health
The benefits of chia seeds is attributed to the calcium content and other trace minerals known for their role in bone health. A 25g portion of chia contains 157mg of calcium, which is a significant source of calcium, more than that in 100ml of milk.