Chia seeds are derived from plant Salvia Hispanica that usually grows in South America. Back in the day, chia was a very important food of Aztec and Mayans and nowadays are considered a superfood.
Chia are small oval seeds with different colors (brown, black, white and gray), which are highly hydrophilic. Thanks to the above property, when they come in contact with liquids they create a sticky gel. Thanks to their nutritional value and concentration in minerals and trace elements, they are a nutritious food and very beneficial to overall health.
Chia seeds are a rich source of omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, fibers (soluble and insoluble), minerals, vitamins and trace elements. In specific, they are rich in vitamins of B complex, such as thiamine, niacin and riboflavin, in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and iron as well as in antioxidant fat-soluble vitamins (A and E). The caloric value of the seeds is 137 kcal per 28gr. (~ 2 tbsp.). Chia seeds do not contain gluten, making it a safe choice for people who sufer from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
Properties and benefits for health
Chia seeds, thanks to their high concentration of soluble fibers (soluble and insoluble), are an ideal supplement for digestive health. Due to the fact that chia seeds are hydrophilic, they can absorb large amounts of water (10-12 times their weight). This results in delaying food digestion, improving bowel motility while increasing satiety. In addition, they act like prebiotics and are a good source of energy for the friendly bacteria of the bowel.
The predominant component of chia seeds is omega 3 fatty acids, in particular, alpha-linolenic acid. Omega 3 fatty acids offer cardiovascular protection by lowering triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol, regulating inflammation, while they help reduce blood pressure. In combination with antioxidant vitamins A and E, omega 3 fatty acids help reduce oxidative stress and thus the risk of atherosclerosis.
Chia seeds can be a good ally in weight loss. Thanks to the feeling of satiety that they offer, they help to better manage appetite. Moreover, due to high concentration in zinc, they reduce desire for sweets and snacking.
Chia seeds have the property of delaying food digestion and reducing glycemic load of meals. This has as a result to improve control of blood sugar levels and reduce postprandial hyperglycemia. Latest studies reveal that chia seeds seem to favor regulation of diabetes while contributing to regulation of blood pressure and inflammation.
Dosage and uses
The recommended daily dosage is 2 tablespoons. The seeds have a mild walnut flavor and can be used in salads, breakfast cereals or in combination with garnishes. For better absorption of their trace elements, it is advisable to soak the seeds in water, juice or milk. The ratio of soaking is 1:10.
Side effects – contraindications
Because of high concentration of fibers, they may cause gastrointestinal disturbances, gas or bloating. They are not recommended for people with decompilation. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult their physician before use of chia seed supplements.
At Vita4you you can find a variety of nutritional supplements with chia seeds.