An overview of Chia seeds


Chia seeds are making a mark as a wonder ingredient in various food recipes as well as evening munchies. These seeds, once a staple part of the Aztec diet, are now known for their health benefits and as a weight loss supplement. You will be amazed to note that they are the same seeds which were grown in clay pots and out of clay figurines in 1980s. Now they are being sold online and in many health stores as a weight loss agent. These seeds are supposed to control hunger and enhance the nutrition intake by the body.

What are Chia seeds

Chia means ‘strength’ and has been used as an energy booster by many people for years. It is obtained from a desert plant and is considered as an edible item. These seeds are totally organic in nature and unprocessed, which brings them under the category of whole grain food products. The seeds also contain Omega 3 fatty acids, proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium and antioxidants and have the capacity of being directly absorbed by the body.

They have a mild nutty savor and can be used for sprinkling on soups, sauces, vegetables, yoghurt or cereal. They are also sometimes, mixed in water and used as a gel in toppings or mixed with recipes. Studies have shown that Chia seeds expand in the belly and control hunger for a longer period of time.

Benefits of Chia seeds

Are you wondering what great benefits these seeds can render to your body? Well, here is a list of some benefits of Chia seeds.

Weight loss supplement

These seeds have become a staple addition to the diet of a dieter. Their property to form a gel helps you to feel fullness in the stomach for a long time. Overeating and starvation are both enemies of weight loss and Chia seeds prevent both the factors. They prevent excessive eating on one hand and do not allow you to stay hungry on the other hand. The best advantage of these seeds is that they are converted into a gel during contact with water, and this gel has no calories. If you are on a diet program, you can fill your stomach without any calories.

Maintains blood sugar levels

Blood sugar levels rise with intake of high starch foods or sweets. You need to balance your blood sugar levels to prevent diabetes and also ensure constant energy to the body throughout the day. Chia seeds combine the properties of gelling action and both soluble and insoluble fiber to slow the rate of conversion of starch from the food into sugar. It can also help you to have a constant source of energy rather than frequent fluctuations in energy levels.

Rich fiber source

Chia seeds are a rich source of fiber content which help in its gelling action. The over-processed and chemically treated foods in the market are mostly deprived of their natural fiber content. Chia seeds are totally unprocessed and contain requisite fiber content in them. The exterior side of this seed is covered by insoluble fiber. This insoluble fiber does not get digested easily but moves around the digestive system to ensure that the food moves smoothly through the intestines. The soluble fiber inside the seed helps in maintaining the colon in a hydrated condition and facilitates easier food movement.

Addition of healthy fatty acids

Chia is one of the healthiest sources of Omega 3 and Omega 6. The seeds comprises about 30% Omega 3 oil and 40% as Omega 6 oil. This provides an excellent balance of essential fatty acids in the body. The alpha-linolenic fatty acid is higher in Chia seeds that ensure a supply of healthy fatty acids in your body. The adequate amount of fatty acids aid in maintaining the heart and cholesterol levels at an optimum range. Fatty acids also increase the body metabolism rate and result in burning of unwanted fats from the body.

Increasing the body energy levels

Chia seeds are known to be among the highest sources of plant proteins. They have double the amount of protein than other seeds or food items. The protein content in these seeds is so high that they can provide sufficient energy required for the entire day. The combination of proteins, vitamins and minerals work together to ensure that you enjoy a non-stop source of energy.

Anti-aging properties

Antioxidants have been in the news for their beneficial properties and Chia seeds have all of them. Other good sources of antioxidants like blueberries or raspberries are not available in all seasons. This helps the Chia seeds score a grade above them. The availability of these seeds is perennial and can provide you with the required antioxidant supply throughout the year.
Antioxidants can avert free-radical damage within your body. These free radicals can cause premature aging of the skin and tissue inflammation. Adequate consumption of antioxidants helps in staying fresh, youthful and healthy.

Strong bones and muscles

Chia seeds are high in calcium and help in strengthening the bones and muscles. The main benefit is that these seeds contain boron which helps the body to absorb the calcium effectively. The high levels of calcium also aid in maintaining a healthy skin.

Side effects of Chia seeds

The Chia seeds have miraculous effects in maintaining optimum blood sugar levels and optimum body weight. However, every product has its own side effects and Chia seeds also have some of them, when consumed in large quantities during the long run. There have been reports of difficulties in sound sleep at night and instances of irritable behavior in people consuming them. The problems can be viewed only after a prolonged use of high levels of the Chia seeds. Nevertheless, the problems seem to be very minimal when compared to the beneficial effects of these seeds.

Overview

The Chia seeds have been termed as a ‘Dieter’s dream’. They help you feel fuller for a long time, improve body metabolism and also detox your body in order to help you manage weight at appropriate levels. Experts do not suggest shunning a nutritious diet completely and thriving on the Chia seeds alone as a diet program. The recommendation is that Chia seeds should be a nutritious addition to the diet in small quantities and part of a balanced diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and other good fats.

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