What Are Chia Seeds?
You’ve probably heard about chia seeds in recent years. The healthy food craze that has taken over big parts of the world has “introduced” the seeds to our diets. Everyone knows they’re healthy, but have no idea what they really are or how powerful they are.
Chia seeds are edible seeds of the Salvia hispanica plant. The plant is native to Central America. The seeds are tiny and oval in size, with a gray-black color. They have hydrophilic properties, meaning they expand when soaked in liquid.
The seeds aren’t a miraculous discovery now. In fact, their origins can be traced back to pre-Columbian times, making them one of the world’s oldest foods. Chia seeds got the name from an Aztec word. It was the word ‘chian’ which signifies ‘oily’ because that’s actually the best benefit chia can offer: the abundance of unsaturated fat like omega-3 acids.
Although they were a part of the common diet in the past, we’ve only now begun to understand how healthy and powerful the seeds are.
What Makes Them So Healthy?
The seeds are full of essential nutrients, mainly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These unsaturated fats can be found in kiwi, fish oil, flax seeds, and chia seeds among other foods. Both are important for our overall health, but the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the human body seems to be even more important.
People don’t understand that omega-3 and omega-6 are completely different. Omega-3 are harder to find: chia seeds, kiwi seeds, flax seeds as well as fish oils. Omega-6 can be found in numerous food products: avocadoes, vegetable oils, nuts, pretty much everywhere. It is extremely important that we try to create a balanced diet that will contain both, omega-3 and omega-6 acids.
As it is easier to find foods which contain omega-6, we must try harder to consume foods which are rich in omega-3. That’s why today, we’re discussing about chia. They have the highest content of omega-3, even more than flax, perilla and kiwi seeds.
Chia seeds contain the highest amount of these fatty acids in nature. These compounds have been associated with a number of health benefits, mainly anti-inflammatory and digestion-boosting properties. They’ve been touted as great food for our hearts and are excellent for our digestion as well.
Usually, doctors recommend the seeds as a way to treat digestive problems. As we already mentioned, they are great for our digestion and will provide the body with high amounts of fiber. This means they will keep you satisfied for quite a long time, so you’ll eat less and start losing weight.
When you put the seeds in water or yogurt, they will expand and form a gel-like solution that will easily move through your digestive tract and clean it at the same time. The gel will also prevent carbs from breaking down too fast, which will result in much better digestion.
A Natural Powerhouse
The gluten-free seeds were a staple in the diet of Aztecs. Thanks to the presence of 19 amino acids and other nutrients, we could base our diet on chia seeds and live off them completely. Regarding the nutrients, the seeds have 8 times the amount of omega-3 fatty acids than what salmon contains; 20% protein; extremely high amounts of fiber; antioxidants; more calcium than milk; more potassium than bananas, and more iron than spinach.
Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse great for our heart, skin, hair, and nails, which is why they should become a part of your diet.
How Can Chia Seeds Improve Our Digestion?
Chia seeds have become popular a lot recently. People who are conscious about their health usually consume more flaxseeds or otherwise known as linseeds. If you put 1 spoon of linseed into water and let it rest for half an hour, it will become like gel, like a glutinous solution.
Chia seeds are exactly the same when you leave them to rest in water for a while. They are very beneficial for your gut as well as the complete digestive system since they’re abundant in fiber. This kind of a solution in the form of gel moves through your body faster and cleans everything. Gel is also good because the carbohydrates which break down fast are prevented and the action enzymes have on the carbs becomes slowed down.
Chia Seeds Are Abundant In Nutrients
Aztecs were the first people who started using chia as their main food. They offer endurance and can sustain. You can consume chia without eating anything else since it contains 19 amino acids which are all essential without the taurine.
Chia Doesn’t Contain Gluten
- Dietary fiber are its main benefit which heal our digestion and improve any problem with it
- Chia have almost 20% omega-3 ALA which means they are excellent for our heart and brain
- There are 8 times less omega-3 in salmon than in chia!
- It also contains 20% protein
- Another beneficial nutrient is the antioxidant content which is higher than in blueberries for four times
- There is more calcium in chia than in milk (five times!)
- There is also a high content of vitamin C in chia. It is seven times richer in it than oranges are
- It is also full in iron and it has three times more of it than spinach does
- Chia contains two times more potassium than bananas
- The consumption of chia will help us have healthy nails, hair and skin
- It’s a type of food that can be consumed by diabetics because it helps us balance our blood glucose levels
How to Consume Chia Seeds
It’s simple – you can just add them in anything or mix them with water or fresh fruit juice. Add them to salads, soups or stews. Whatever you choose, you can bet they will give your health a nice boost.
You can use chia seeds instead of eggs because they’re an amazing replacement. Put them in some water to create the gel form and add them in recipes with eggs!
You can combine chia with everything! People in Mexico combine them with fresh fruit juice or only water to create ‘chia fresca’. They can be also applied in salads. Sprout chia like you do with alfalfa seeds and that’s it!