If there was a food that could be considered holy, it should be the chia seeds! Full of vitamins and minerals, these seeds help keep weight under control, reduce sugar cravings and fight free radicals. They have infinite benefits and really are a miracle for health!
One portion of 2 tablespoons of seeds provides 117 calories, 4 grams of protein, a little over 8 grams of fiber and an amount of Omega-3 essential oils five times greater than what is contained in a quarter cup of nuts. Moreover, they are also a rich source of iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium and have more protein than soybeans.
They are derived from the plant called Hispanic sage in South America, part of the mint family, used by the Aztecs and Mayans for centuries. There have been mentioned ever since the sixteenth century in Aztec documents – Codex Mendoza – as the most complex source of energy and power. Chia is the Mayan word for “strength”.
Appearance and consumption
These seeds are found in three colors (beige, brown and black) and are easy to chew.
They can be eaten raw or lightly roasted. Also, the seeds can be processed into flour and used for the preparation of your favorite sweets. Chia have no taste, so in order to enjoy flavors you will have to mix the seeds with other foods.
Chia seeds turn into gelatin / creamy paste when in contact with water or other liquids. You can add them in milk with cereal, fruit and vegetable salads, sandwiches, sauces and dressings.
Chia seeds health benefits:
Quickly provide a feeling of satiety and help lose weight
They are recommended in weight loss diets due to its almost null caloric content and its rich nutrients, which are designed to quickly install the feeling of satiety and to chase away hunger. In other words, nourish the body without the risk of gaining weight, as it happens with many other types of foods.
When in contact with water, the seeds turn into a kind of gel that increases in size. These seeds install a feeling of fullness and inhibit appetite, preventing overeating, which leads to overweight and obesity.
They provide energy to the body and strengthen the immune system
Chia seeds are rightly considered allied to a strong and healthy body. Due to a rich content of proteins, they increase the body’s energy level. Proteins, along with Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and other nutrients, strengthen the immunity and prevent disease.
They prevent diabetes
Regular consumption of chia helps regulate blood sugar levels and combat the risk of diabetes, nowadays a common disease worldwide. The seeds are also beneficial for those who already suffer from diabetes because they have a very low glycemic index and they favor slow digestion of foods.
They help digestion and prevent gastrointestinal diseases
The “strength” seeds are the most beneficial food for the human digestive system due to their high content of fiber. They contain both types of fiber – soluble and insoluble – which help slow the digestion of food, so it does not affect insulin levels in the body.
The colon is well hydrated during the consumption of these seeds, preventing diverticulitis (inflammation of diverticula which most often lie along the walls of the large intestine).
They prevent cardiovascular diseases
Frequent consumption of seeds has a beneficial effect on the heart’s health. They regulate blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and prevent diabetes – thus removing some of the biggest risk factors underlying the outbreak of heart diseases.
They help control sleep disorders and stimulate the body’s relaxation
Researchers found that chia contains tryptophan, an amino acid that has positive effects on sleep during the night. Tryptophan helps relax the body and facilitates a fast entry into the specific sleep trance so that the body receives an adequate rest.
They prevent cancer
Play a crucial role in the fight against many types of cancer. Integrated on the weekly diet, these seeds kill cancer cells and repair damaged DNA in the body.
They have anti-inflammatory properties
Rich concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids found in chia helps lubricate joints and maintain their suppleness. Once inside the body, essential fatty acids turn into prostaglandin, a substance that relieves pain and inflammation.
Doctors have noticed that arthritis patients who introduced into their diet reported less pain and uncomfortable inflammation than those who have not consumed these seeds.
They help build muscle
Due to the fact that they give lots of energy and are rich in fiber and perfectly digestible protein, helping in tissue regeneration, the seeds are the perfect ally if you want to stay in shape and have a fit body.
Drink these seeds soaked in water before training or sports competitions, as they hydrate the body very well.
They improve brain functions
Eating chia brings a lot of benefits on an intellectual level as well. According to experts, this plant makes the brain membranes more sensitive and improve brain functions: memory, thinking, etc.
They prevent premature aging and increase longevity
Play an important role in maintaining youth and naturalness of the body due to an increased content of antioxidants. These nutrients prevent degradation of cells in the body and help fight diseases that age the body. However, not just the antioxidants contribute to the increased longevity of the body; the fibers that help digestion and detoxify the body are equally important for maintaining health and preventing the aging process as well.
They strengthen the bones and prevent osteoporosis
The seeds are rich in calcium, a crucial mineral for the health of bones. They contain six times more calcium than milk per portion and are the basic food both for children who are growing up and need this nutrient for the development of strong bones and for women, who are prone to osteoporosis. Regular consumption of chia seeds strengthens the bones and prevents fractures and other affections.
They detoxify the body
Due to its detoxifying properties, these seeds work as a natural “detergent” for your body! Think of them as a vacuum cleaner – besides filling you with vitamins and beneficial minerals, it also “absorbs” all harmful substances from the body, doing a complete cleaning of the digestive system.
Medical Daily informs that gastroenterologists in the United States warn about the consumption of dry chia seeds, as they can block in the esophagus, with the risk of suffocating the person. It happened to a 39-year-old man, whose case was presented by Dr. Rebecca Rawl, from the Carolina Medical Center in New York, at the Annual Scientific Meeting of Gastroenterologists in the USA.
The man swallowed a spoonful of seeds with water and arrived at the ER. That’s because once they get into the water, chia seeds expand quickly, absorbing an amount 27 times greater than their dry state weight. Therefore, they may block in the esophagus, especially if there is a predisposition to deglutition problems. In the case of this man, the situation became downright complicated, so doctors had to resort to using an endoscope, normally used in infants, to help the seeds pass through the digestive tract.
Although this is the first medical case of this kind, Dr. Rawl warns about the danger of dry seed consumption. For the safety of the consumers, she recommends mixing the seeds with a sufficient amount of fluids for them to expand before eating.