Chances are, your only real reference to chia is through the delightful pet that you watered in order for it to grow into a nice plant. Well the same seeds used in this plant are becoming the newest dietary staple in the war on weight loss, health and nutrition.
The edible seed comes from the plant Salvia Hispanica, indigenous to Mexico. The word chia means strength and the seeds are loaded with nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber and antioxidants to name a few. The seeds are unprocessed whole grains that give you the feeling of being full, faster than other foods, but in doing so they don’t add much in the way of fat.
The optimal consumption of chia is four tablespoons throughout the day. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds in your daily diet will give you around seven grams of fiber, four grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium and about five grams of omega-3. Chia possess both soluble and insoluble fiber, this is why the seeds expand in liquids (just like the chia pet), but in doing so it doesn’t lose any of its fiber content.
Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for those who suffer from diabetics, this is why the food is suggested to be incorporated by many doctors.
A number of arthritis sufferers have reported reduced pain and inflammation after a few weeks of taking Chia seeds. The high concentration of omega-3 helps to lubricate joints and keep them supple. Additionally, Omega-3s are converted into prostaglandins which are known to have both pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. The essential fatty acids contained in Chia seeds helps to boost metabolism and promote lean muscle mass. The seeds are sometimes added to food to provide bulk and nutrients while adding very few calories.
Similar to psyllium, the swelling action of Chia in the body helps to cleanse and soothe the colon, and absorb toxins while lubricating and strengthening peristaltic action. Chia seeds contain about 20% protein, a higher percentage than found in many other grains such as wheat and rice. Chia seeds contain strontium which helps to assimilate protein and produce high energy.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants containing even more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. The high amounts of antioxidants in Chia seeds also keeps the oils from going rancid – contributing to a long shelf life. EFAs are found in chia seeds and have been known to make cell membranes more flexible and efficient making nutrients more readily available and nerve transmission more efficient. This helps to improve brain function (including memory and concentration).
Consult your primary care physician or chiropractor for any medical related advice.