Have you heard of chia seeds? In Psychology and Mind we like to encourage healthy living habits, and this area is not only reduced to the strictly psychological. Proper nutrition is also a great source of health and well-being .
Chia seeds: a very healthy food
Today we discovered one of those foods with extraordinary properties: the chia seeds . It is a product with a flavour that many people associate with nuts, and has a huge amount of vitamins and minerals that can help us to fight those extra pounds, to control the habit of snacking between meals, and in short to feel better with our body and mind.
But it doesn’t end there. The benefits of eating chia seeds are many and in the following lines you will see them compiled into these ten healthy motives to encourage you to try this seed from America.
It’s fashionable… and rightly so
There is a real fever from chia seeds. We can say that they are very much in fashion, and this fame is not entirely unjustified, although it is clear that marketing has had quite an influence. Many nutrition experts have reported on their qualities, but there is still a great lack of knowledge about what benefits this food brings us.
More and more people have chia seeds in their pantry. What are these qualities and properties that make chia seeds such a popular food these days? We will now explain some of their most relevant properties and update you on the psychic and physical benefits they can bring you .
In fact, before going deeper into its benefits, we must clarify that it is a very tasty food and allows great versatility in the kitchen. Many chefs use chia seeds to complement many dishes: from the most exotic to the most traditional.
The healthful properties of chia seeds
Something has to be in this food for all nutritionists to strongly recommend it. “Chia” is a term of Mayan origin, whose meaning is strength . For millennia, chia has been the favorite food of the Mayan and Aztec societies, not in vain has a multitude of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that help our body fight bad fats, in addition to providing various benefits.
It is a food widely consumed among athletes, but even if you do not practice much physical activity, you can benefit from its daily consumption to feel better. Besides, as we have already said, is a nutritious food and can have its place in almost any dish you can imagine . There are people who include chia in yoghurt, in soups, in breakfast cereals, in purées, in stews, in salads… It goes with practically anything! The most daring have even begun to experiment with chia, including it in muffins or cakes.
Gluten-free with Omega 3
The English nutritionist Maddie Shaw indicates that chia seeds do not contain gluten (and therefore is a food suitable for coeliacs), and contain Omega 3, in addition to fiber and antioxidants .
Some more facts about their nutritional intake:
- Provides twice the protein of most vegetables
- Contains twice as much potassium as bananas
- It provides us with twice as much fibre as oats
- Three times more iron than lentils
- Five times more calcium than cow’s milk
- Three times more antioxidants than beans
10 health benefits of chia seeds
So, what are the benefits of consuming this seed ? what nutritional contributions does it satisfy and how does it help to improve our physical health ? In the following lines you will find a summary of the health benefits of chia seeds, and the advantages of incorporating this ingredient into your regular diet.
1. Manage your appetite between meals
Chia contains a high amount of fibre, so it’s a great idea to curb our craving for snacks between meals . The seeds are easily digestible but create a feeling of satiety that keeps us from snacking, and therefore makes it easier for us to control our body weight.
Experts advise eating chia at breakfast to take advantage of its long-range energy boost, which will keep us active for quite a few hours .
2. They are tasty
Some people say they don’t find much taste in it, while others say it reminds them of the taste of nuts. They are still seeds, so we cannot expect an explosion of flavor and freshness on our palate, but the truth is that most people love it .
3. They regulate the hydration of your body
They are permeable seeds that can reach up to 10 times their weight in water. Consuming them also helps us to hydrate our body . This is one of the keys to understanding why sportspeople and people who do very physical or stressful jobs are signing up to eat chia seeds.
Also it is highly recommended to eat them before going to the gym or to practice some running .
4. Protect you from the harmful effects of the environment
Let’s go into an important point: chia improves our immune system . Therefore, it protects us when dealing with environmental conditions and diseases. It makes us more resistant to catching colds and flu, for example. However, this is an indirect effect produced by the reinforcement of the immune system, which means that it does not make existing diseases disappear or the risk of suffering from them disappear.
5. They give you a good dose of Omega 3
Omega 3 is a fatty acid whose properties help us in several processes: r strengthens the central nervous system and cells, keeps our skin well hydrated and shiny , enhances our cognitive abilities, our immune system…
Chia seeds provide us with more Omega 3 than fish such as salmon, so if you are not very fond of eating fish, it can be a very healthy alternative.
6. Energy for (almost) the whole day
If you feel tired for most of the day, one of the problems may be feeding. Not all foods provide us with a quantity of sugars that give us energy to face the day to day. In this case, the chia seeds are optimal to help us hold on at work or in the gym .
They contain a lot of potassium and more protein than almost any vegetable. And their sugars are slow to absorb.
7. A little help to control overweight
Chia is a very suitable food for those people who have problems losing weight. They have a lot of fibre which will help your digestive system and regulate the feeling of hunger . It is a very satiating food, especially when it is taken hydrated.
There are also some recipes for ingesting chia along with juices. A perfect combination for healthy eating and controlling excess weight.
8. A good food for your muscles
Chia seeds, as we have already mentioned, provide us with great energy as well as fibre. But our muscles are built thanks to the protein , and chia is also a food rich in it. Thus, will help us to increase muscle mass and regenerate those muscle tissues that need it .
A much healthier and cheaper option than the classic protein shakes that many athletes take after training. And even if you don’t play sports, it can also help you have a healthier body.
9. Healthy joints
Many people suffer from pain in their joints. For this condition, chia seeds can be a healthy and effective solution. We have already seen the contributions of chia to Omega 3 acids, but what we have not said is that it has anti-inflammatory properties .
Consuming chia can significantly ease the pain your joints cause over the years, although it will not make the wear and tear on your joints go away, as this would require repairing these body parts in a more structural way.
10. Purifies your body and prevents oxidation
The chia seeds help our body to eliminate excess fluids and toxins, as well as regulate the intestinal flora and slow down the process of cellular oxidation . In short, chia is responsible for regulating many processes and body functions that will make us feel healthy both inside and outside.
Some conclusions about this food
Nature provides us with various foods that really have magnificent properties for our body. One of these foods is chia. It is recommended that you try them for a few days and see for yourself the beneficial effects of this seed.
Obviously, it is not enough to eat only chia seeds, but our physical and psychological health is based on many variables, and we also need a much higher amount of macronutrients than this product will provide.
If we talk about eating habits, chia is a great complement, but the basis of our health has to be a balanced and varied diet, as well as physical exercise and good healthy habits (no smoking, drinking alcohol, etc.). On the other hand, it is necessary to eat foods with macronutrients that are not available in chia seeds; as they are seeds, they do not contain much energy, or the healthy carbohydrates or fats we need to function well.
From now on, you have another nutritious and exotic ally to improve your health.
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- Cahill, Joseph P. (2003). Ethnobotany of Chia, Salvia hispanica L. (Lamiaceae). Economic Botany. 57 (4): 604–618.
- de Souza Ferreira C, et al. (2015). Effect of chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) consumption on cardiovascular risk factors in humans: a systematic review. Nutr Hosp. 32 (5): 1909 – 1918.