Chia seeds are small seeds that are black or white. They come from a plant called Salvia hispanicaL. This plant grows in Central and South America. People have used chia seeds for a long time. Also, they ate them and used them for medicine. They also used them for other things. Now, many people eat chia seeds because they are very good for you. They have many good things in them that can help your health. In this article, we will explore the incredible qualities of chia seeds and how you can incorporate them into your diet for a healthier lifestyle.
What is in Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds have a lot of good things in them. They give you energy, protein, fat, fibre, minerals and antioxidants. Hence, these are all things that your body needs. So, the USDA National Nutrient Database tells us what is in one ounce (28 grams or 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds:
- 138 calories
- 4.7 grams of protein
- 8.7 grams of fat (5 grams are omega-3 fatty acids)
- 11.9 grams of carbohydrates (9.8 grams is fibre)
- 14% of the Daily Value (DV) for calcium
- 12% of the DV for iron
- 23% of the DV for magnesium
- 20% of the DV for phosphorus
- 12% of the DV for zinc
- 15% of the DV for vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- 16% of the DV for vitamin B3 (niacin)
Chia seeds also have other antioxidants. These are things that can protect your heart, liver and cells. Some of these antioxidants are chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol.
How Can Chia Seeds Help Your Health?
Chia seeds can help your health in many ways. Some of these ways have been proven by science. Here are some of the things that chia seeds can do for you:
- Help your bones: Chia seeds have a lot of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. These are minerals that you need for strong bones. Therefore, if you eat 25 grams of chia seeds, you get about 158 milligrams of calcium. This is like drinking a glass of milk.
- Help your heart and blood pressure: Chia seeds have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and antioxidants. These are things that can help your heart and blood vessels. Although, some studies have shown that chia seeds can lower your blood pressure if you have high blood pressure. This is true even if you take medicine for it.
- Help your blood sugar: Chia seeds have few carbohydrates that your body can digest. They also have a lot of fibre and protein. These are things that can help keep your blood sugar steady. Some studies have found that chia seeds can lower your blood sugar after you eat. They can also make your body more sensitive to insulin.
- Help prevent or improve diabetes: The omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and protein in chia seeds can help stop or make better some problems with your metabolism. One of these problems is type 2 diabetes. Some research has said that chia seeds may be good for people who are overweight or obese and have type 2 diabetes. But we need more studies to be sure about this.
- Help your digestion: Chia seeds have a lot of fibre. Additionally, fibre can help you go to the bathroom regularly and not get constipated. Fibre also feeds the good bacteria in your gut. So, this may help your gut health and immunity.
How Can You Use Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are easy to use and can go with many things. They taste like nuts and you can eat them raw or cooked. They can also soak up the liquid and become like a gel. This makes them good for making sauces thicker, making puddings or replacing eggs in recipes.
Some common ways to use chia seeds are:
- Sprinkle them on salads, yoghurt, oatmeal or smoothies
- Make chia pudding by soaking them in milk or plant-based milk overnight
- Add them to baked goods such as muffins, breads or cookies
- Use them as an egg substitute by mixing one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water
- Make chia jam by cooking them with fruit and sweetener
Chia seeds are a superfood that has many good things for your health. Hence, they have a lot of nutrients, antioxidants, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. It may help your bone health, heart health, blood sugar management, diabetes risk and digestive health. Also, easy to use and can go with many dishes and recipes. Additionally, if you want to enjoy the benefits of chia seeds, try adding them to your diet and see how they make you feel.