Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

The chia plant, with the scientific name salvia hispanica, is a flowering plant belonging to the mint family. The name chia comes from the Nahuatl word chian which means oily. It is a native plant from the central and southern part of Mexico and Guatemala.

The chia plant is grown commercially because of its seeds. The chia seed can be distinguished by its oval shape and mottle-colours of black, white, brown and grey. It was a staple food for Aztec soldiers and it was considered as a “super food” due to its numerous health benefits. The seed with the mild nutty flavour is slowly becoming a popular alternative for people who want to improve their health. Furthermore, they are also utilized in treating several disorders in today’s modern medicine.
Below is a list of health benefits of chia seeds:

1. Improve the function of the heart and cardiovascular system.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention identified high cholesterol and high blood pressure as factors likely to cause heart diseases. However, scientists and doctors found out that omega-3 fatty acids could help control the risk factors by reducing plaque build-up and by lowering the blood pressure. Although fishes are the main source of omega-3 oil, researches showed that the chia seeds have the richest plant-source of these healthy fats. It even has triple the amount of omega-3 found in salmon fish.

2. Assist in maintain a healthy level of blood sugar.

Chia seed, a glycemic food, can help achieve a steady level of blood sugar to ensure that a person does not experience any sugar “spike” after a meal and prevent any episodes of “slumping” or tiredness at the end of the day. It can be attributed to the soluble and insoluble fibre inside the seed, both of which have the ability to slow down the body’s conversion into sugars. Eating a chia together with a meal can help manage diabetes 2 and provide a steady amount of energy all throughout the day.

3. Aids in proper digestion.

Due to their professional and personal obligations, many people just eat processed and fast foods as they lack the time and energy to prepare a meal. Unfortunately, these types of food do not contain the fibre the body requires every day. With the lack of fibre content in the diet, irregular digestion and difficulty of passing of stool occur. It can put a person at risk for developing diverticulitis or diverticulosis. But a regular intake of chia seeds could prevent these due to its high fibre content. The insoluble fibre aids helps food pass through the digestive system smoothly while the soluble fibre keeps the colon hydrated for added ease in digestion.

4. Helps lose weight.

Chia seeds can be a great aid people who want to lose that excess pounds. A study was made wherein a group of overweight people were asked to add chia seeds into their diet plans. After a month, they were able to lose an average of 2 more pounds than the group who did not include the seeds in their meals. The seeds are also helpful for dieters because it can control hunger pangs. The seed can be taken with any fruit juice and can satisfy a person until lunch time. It’s no wonder that many people opt to stick with chia seeds than weight-loss pills as they are more affordable and safe to take.

5. Provides necessary nutrients.

Aside from the healthy omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds also contain several vitamins and minerals. One of which is calcium.

A 3-ounce chia seeds has the same amount of calcium in 2 cups of milk. The same amount of seed also contains the same amount of iron to 4 cups of spinach. Furthermore, it also contains magnesium and boron which are trace minerals vital for the absorption of nutrients. So besides enhancing the cardiovascular function, it can also improve a person’s immune, reproductive and nervous systems.

6. Prevents cancer.

Blueberries are not the only natural source for anti-oxidants as chia seeds have also been found to be rich in anti-oxidants as well. Anti-oxidants have been known to help prevent cancer by holding up the protease inhibitors to help destroy cancer cells and repair any damage. Regular intake of chia seeds could also prevent free-radical damages like premature aging and tissue inflammation. Thus, there’s no need for those painful surgeries and Botox injection to look fresh and young because there’s a better alternative in chia seeds.

7. Manages inflammatory disorders.

The chia seeds can also help people deal with their inflammation disorders. People who have been suffering with arthritis felt no relief from the pain they felt with regular pain relievers however after two weeks of consuming the seeds, they reported less pain felt. The omega-3 fatty acids lubricate the joints which resulted to increase in flexibility and agility. The healthy fats can also convert to prostaglandin which is a known substance in alleviating pain and decreasing inflammation.

8. Energy booster.

Do you feel tired even if it’s still early in the afternoon? Your energy level is quickly depleting and you need an energy source to help finish your daily tasks. Fight the urge to take an afternoon nap with the help of chia seeds. It has one of the highest sources of protein among plants and has been proven to increase a person’s energy level. Unlike energy drinks, you will not feel jittery but instead you’ll have a steady energy lasting up to night.

If you are still skeptical of the chia’s health benefits, try buying these seeds and experience them for yourself. Also, you will be glad to know that these seeds can stay fresh for so long. As long as you keep them in a room temperature, they will stay fresh and edible for two years. You can even incorporate the seeds to your favorite dishes and drinks to help them taste better. For instance, try sprinkling them over your protein shake and see how it helps magnify the flavor. It can be the same for your dips, salsas and sauces. Chia seeds are nature’s gift to mankind and you should take advantage of that.