What is Chia Seed and Why Should You Include It in Your Diet?

What is chia seedChia seeds, owing to the various health benefits they offer, have been an important part of the diet of many people around the world, including Native Americans. It is produced in Australia, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala and Argentina. What is chia seed might be a question arising in your mind. This seed is obtained from a plant, Salvia Hispanica, and is part of a mint family. Many people include these seeds in their recipes to increase the nutritional value. Chia seeds are rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and antioxidants, and thus are extremely nutritious. They also contain minerals like copper, calcium and zinc, vitamins like B vitamins and proteins, and so you should make them a part of your daily diet.

Chia Seeds – nutritional facts

There is more than one reason why chia seeds are considered nutritious and healthy. These seeds are extremely low in sodium and also cholesterol, and thus good for your health. They can easily be digested, and contains more nutrients than you would get from eating flax seeds or even salmon. Chia seeds contain a good amount of calcium and phosphorous, dietary fiber and manganese. The seeds also are a good source of essential fats and complex carbohydrates. Since these seeds are rich in antioxidants, they help strengthen your immune system, thus keeping you free from diseases. What makes chia seeds so nutritious?

Each 100 grams chia seeds offer you 490 calories, which is good enough to provide you enough energy for daily tasks.The seeds contain 43 grams carbohydrates, and out of this 37 grams are fibers, which help in good digestion.Chia seeds contain no cholesterol, so even people suffering from blood pressure problem can have them.The seeds are rich in omega fatty acids which otherwise can be obtained only from animal and plant commodities.Chia seeds contain 631mg calcium, 160mg potassium, 3mg zinc, 2mg manganese, 19mg sodium, 948mg phosphorous, 0.1mg copper, 19 mg sodium and 1.4g water.The various antioxidants present in chia seeds include caffeic acid, kaempferol, myricetin, chlorogenic acid and quercetin. These antioxidants are greatly helpful in ridding your body of the toxins you consume.

How to add chia seeds to your diet

Now that you are aware of the various benefits these wonder seeds offer, you definitely would want to include them in your diet. Chia seeds can be prepared in different ways so it is quite easy to add them to your meal. Below are mentioned few simple ways to add chia seeds in your daily diet.

Salads – give your salads a little crunch by sprinkling some raw chia seeds. You can also bake or toast chia seeds so that you can enjoy the nutty flavors in your freshly made mixes. Adding chia seeds to salads offers greenery and more flavors.

Drinks – to make a refreshing drink you can add chia seeds to a glass of water, sugar and lemon juice. You can also add these seeds to your favorite juice, and also blend them in smoothies.

Soups – make your healthy soup healthier by adding chia seeds. You simply can add them to your broth based soup, or blend them with your creamy rich soup to add more flavor and thickness.

Appetizers – chia seeds can be added to your appetizers in many different ways. You can grind the seeds and mix them in your creamy dips and fish cakes. You can also place them inside your spring rolls for added taste.

Baking – chia seeds can be grinded into flour and then can be used for baking breads, biscuits and cakes. You can also use chia seeds instead of nuts in cookies, muffins and brownies.

Condiments – the thickening agent that chia seeds contain makes them perfect to be used in meat pastes, stir fry sauces, jellies and jams.

Main courses – you can add chia seeds to almost any main course dish you make. Sprinkle them on cereals or omelets to add healthy touch to your breakfast. Add them to ground beef while preparing meatballs, use them as spreads for your sandwiches, or coat your baked chicken with chopped chia seeds.

Desserts – chia seeds has a very unique characteristic, the longer you allow them to stay in some liquid, the thicker is the consistency you get. Thus, it is perfect to be added to cake batters, puddings or your jelly based desserts.

Snack foods – to make an easy quick snack add chia seeds to granola, sprinkle them over yoghurt, or simply eat them raw. You can also enjoy a crunchy treat by baking these seeds into thin crackers.

Sweets – chia seeds can be added to your favorite sweets. You, in fact, must have across many confectionary products that contain these seeds including peanut brittle, fudge, chocolate bars and truffles.

Health benefits of chia seedsChia seeds are cholesterol-free, sugar-free and gluten-free, so is good for your health.These seeds are a very rich source of energy. They are very helpful in improving your mood and concentration.The seeds are helpful in relieving joint pains and skin problems.Omega-3 fatty acids contained in chia seeds helps reduce inflammation that is caused due to heart diseases or arthritis.If you include chia seeds in your diet, your blood pressure and blood sugar levels will stay normal.The seeds help in maintaining electrolyte balance and also keep you hydrated. Athletes are runners who need more energy should definitely include them in their diet.Being a good source of dietary fiber, chia seeds help improve digestive health. They are greatly helpful in natural detoxification.Containing a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids, chia seeds are good for human brains.Being rich in essential fatty acids, they are very beneficial for your cardiovascular health.These seeds contain soluble fibers owing to which the conversion process of carbohydrates into sugar becomes slower, and thus the blood sugar levels remain stable. If you include these seeds in your diet you will stay satisfied for long, and will not suffer from frequent food cravings. Since your diet will stay under check, it will help in weight loss.

Chia seed is no less than a magical seed full of nutritional value. Though it offers you many health benefits, you should have them cautiously as an overdose can lead to side effects. It will be best to consult your doctor to know how exactly you should consume these seeds to gain maximum benefits.