Discover the Amazing Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seeds

More and more people have come to realize the amazing chia seeds nutritional benefits. Harvested from the Salvia Hispanica plant, chia seeds are originally from South America. These seeds were made famous by Chris McDougall, a reputable American author and journalist. Since he mentioned the benefits of chia seeds in his novel “Born to Run”, both scientists and regular people have become extremely interested in chia seeds. Moreover, thousands of runners, cyclists and athletes from all over the world have started to use supplements containing chia seeds to stay fit and become slimmer.

What Really Are Chia Seeds

Chia is a unique plant that usually grows in certain regions from Central and South America. The seeds of this plant are considered by the specialists to be the nature’s superfood, because it has very high concentrations of dietary fiber, Omega 3, protein, calcium and phosphorus. Because they taste great, chia seeds can be easily included in a daily nutritional diet.

There are two types of Chia seeds available today: black and white. In addition to that, you can find both South American seeds and Australian-grown chia seeds. There is no major difference between black and white chia seeds, since both of them feature the same unique properties: smell the same, taste the same and have the same size. However, there is a slight difference between Australian-grown seeds and South American chia seeds. While the first ones provide more energy (1960 kj over 1553 kj ), South American chia seeds are richer in Omega 3 ALA, Protein, Fiber, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium.

Chia Nutrition

Chia seeds are renowned not only for their health benefits, but also for the incredible nutritional benefits they have to offer. This nutrient-food and versatile food has the benefits of being gluten free, easily digested and very subtle in flavor. Because of its rich nutritional profile, chia seeds are considered a valuable addition to any diet, including vegans. Moreover, everyone who is already on a healthy diet will be able to benefit of the high amount of Omega 3 fatty acids found in chia seeds.

Chia seeds are extremely rich in long-chain triglycerides that are known for maintaining the proper wall flexibility of your cells and for restoring the proper triglyceride / cholesterol ratio in your body. The scientists have recently discovered that the human body converts the alpha-linolenic Omega-3 fatty acids found in these seeds into EPA and DHA fatty acids that are extremely important for your overall health. The amount of oil contained by chia seeds vary from 33 to 40 percent. Among that, over 60 percent represents the most essential fatty acid
for men, Omega-3. On the other hand, canola oil and soybean oil contain only 10 percent of this essential fatty acid. There is no doubt that chia seeds are a very rich source of Omega-3, offering many nutritional benefits.

Chia seeds contain three times more iron than spinach. Amazingly, they can absorb more than 8 times their weight in water. The gel formed the moment they are mixed with water can fill up the stomach of a grown up man three times faster than any other weight loss product. During the digestion process, chia seeds release carbohydrates that are converted into glucose which consequently gives you more energy. Because the outer part of chia seeds is extremely rich is soluble fiber, the seed is better protected against free radicals.

Chia seeds have been found to be a powerful source of caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, antioxidants, quercetin, myricetin and kaempferol. All these essential ingredients protect the fatty acids from oxidation, which is of a tremendous importance. Another benefit is that these wonder seeds doesn’t require refrigeration or other natural or artificial added antioxidants in order to maintain their nutritional properties and to remain fresh. Therefore, the chia seeds’ nutritional benefits are maintained and even enhanced.

Nutrition Information

The following are the nutrition highlights for 28 grams of South America chia seeds:

Fiber – 9.7 gramsTotal Fat – 7.89 gramsCalories – 139Omega-3 Acids (ALA) – 5.2 gramsSaturated Fatty Acids – 0.94 gramsMonounsaturated Fatty Acids (MFA) – 0.76 gramsZinc – 1.30 milligramsMagnesium – 94 milligramsCalcium – 169 milligramsIron – 1.94 milligramsFolate – 14 microgramsNiacin – 2.6 milligramsVitamin A – 14 International Units

According to a recent study published in 2005 by Dr. Andrew Weil in the journal “Nutrition Research,” he declared that chia seeds is probably the highest plant-based source of essential and a-linolenic fatty acids. These seeds are considered to be the best alternative to today’s fish based sources vegetarians use. Another study conducted in the same period of time unveils something amazing: feeding chickens with chia seeds greatly increase the Omega-3 content of their meat and eggs, while feeding cows chia seeds doubles the Omega-3 content in their milk.

Chia is a very rich source of both insoluble and soluble fiber. According to Dr. Weil, a 30-gram portion of chia seeds contain around 9.5 grams of fiber. This fiber, in addition to adding more nutritional value, is what causes chia seeds to form that gel inside your stomach. This property of chia enhances the cooking process, easing your task when preparing food. In addition to fiber, chia seeds are extremely rich in protein. Compared to only 14 percent protein found in wheat, chia has over 22 percent protein. Chia seeds are quite similar to wheat when it comes to protein, since both of them are limited in lysine, which means it is very good for vegetarians.

However, chia seeds have a amino acid score of 91, compared to only 55 for wheat. Probably the only essential acid that chia seeds lack is taurine. This is compensated by the wide variety of minerals and vitamins offered by chia: potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, manganese, magnesium,molybdenum, niacin, folic acid and iron. All these vitamins and minerals work together to give you more energy, enhance your brain power and stabilize your blood sugar levels, enhance your heart’s health and lastly boosts your metabolism, helping you to shed off the extra pounds you have.

All these nutritional properties of chia seeds are vital for anyone who wants to improve his state of well-being and lose the extra pounds he has put on lately. In conclusion, try to make the most out of this wonder plant if you want to stay on top of your health.