I’ve been fielding a lot of questions lately in regards to the health benefits of chia seeds and more importantly what are chia seeds? Well, if your looking for a great way to boost your energy and add some protein to your diet, or boost your omega 3 intake, look no further.
Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family. Salvia hispanica seed is often sold under its common name “chia” as well as several trademarked names.
Its origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet. The seeds of a related plant, Salvia columbariae (golden chia), were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States. These gems are fantastic in so many ways, what makes chia seeds so powerful? Lets take a closer look!
Skip The Coffee And Boost Energy:
Don’t want to feel like taking an afternoon nap? 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. Usually protein from items like peanut butter and some beans are incomplete, meaning you have to combine them with other foods to get the full benefit. Not Chia though, it’s protein is complete to raise your energy levels. The combination of complete protein, vitamins, minerals and blood-sugar balancing gel all work together to make sure you have steady, never jittery energy.
Chia Seeds And Weight Loss:
Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber in chia absorbs water and expands to form a gel that fills you up faster, so you consume fewer calories, hence weight loss. Fiber and protein slow the digestive process so hunger isn’t triggered as quickly as with sugars, starches and other simple carbohydrates. The insoluble fiber, which does not digest, aids in preventing constipation and digestive disorders by cleaning the colon.
Chia Seeds, The Perfect Egg Substitute:
The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. This can used in place of eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To make the egg replacement, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes.
A study published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol. The study also found that when substituting chia seeds for other fat sources, such as corn oil, the ALA was able to prevent high triglyceride levels and reduce obesity.
Chia Seed Nutritional Profile:
In addition to their high fiber content, chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, plus a few vitamins and minerals. Here are the nutrition highlights for 1 ounce of chia seeds: Also here is a fantastic study on the nutritional composition of this little powerhouse.
- Calories – 138
- Fiber – 9.8 grams
- Total Fat – 8.71 grams
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Alpha Linolenic Acid) – 5.1 grams (great for heart health)
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids – 0.66 grams
- Saturated Fatty Acids – 0.94 grams
- Calcium – 179 milligrams
- Magnesium – 95 milligrams
- Iron – 2.19 milligrams
- Zinc – 1.30 milligrams
- Niacin – 2.5 milligrams
- Folate – 14 micrograms
- Vitamin A – 15 International Units
Chia Seeds Side Effects:
The most common:
- Gastrointestinal problems: Due to the fact that chia seeds are great for digestion regular intake of chia seeds can lead to side effects like diarrhea, bloating and flatulence. That being said, it depends on the the individuals body and how it ultimately reacts, some might get these symptoms after a long period of consuming chia seeds while others on the initial days of introducing these into your diet.
- Low Blood Pressure: Some studies have shown that high amount of omega 3 fatty acids present in chia seeds can have another serious side effect…low blood pressure. Doctor’s believe that this is because the excess amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. Omegas 3s can naturally lower blood pressure so it is extremely important to chat with your doctor, especially if you are taking certain blood pressure medications, most notably warfarin and coumadin.
All in all, chia seeds can be a great part of a healthy diet. Looking for a great desert recipe without the guilt, then check this out. Just remember to introduce them slowly and chat with your doctor if you are taking certain medications, particularly for lowering blood pressure. With chia being high in fiber, start out with a small amount and be sure to drink plenty of water.
If this article on chia seeds was helpful, please leave a comment below or hit the share button to share with your family and friends. Also, if your looking to add more protein to your diet, make sure you take a look at Organic Balanced Meal 😀
Thanks for Reading!