Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

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Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia SeedsImage – © HandmadePictures –

Chia seeds have been popularised by the bestselling book “Born to Run” by Chris McDougall, which advocates the health benefits of Chia for athletes. Claims are now being made for Chia’s “superfood” potential – and recent scientific research is beginning to uncover some of the health benefits of including it in your diet.

Chia seeds were originally native to Central America and have been grown as a staple food and for medicinal purposes by the Native Americans since pre-Columbian times. The desert Chia or “golden Chia” has been used in a similar way by tribes in California and the surrounding states. The seeds are rich in essential fatty acids, protein, fiber and minerals – mainly phosphorus, calcium and manganese. [1][2]

One of the most interesting things about chia seeds is that they are hydrophilic – meaning that they absorb water – so much so that they create a mucilaginous gel around them and hold 9-12 times their weight in water. This means that they add bulk to a diet without adding calories, filling you up. They are also shelf-stable for up to 4-5 years. Ok, here are the list of benefits:

1. Blood Sugar Balancing – There are preliminary reports of lowered insulin levels from eating Chia seeds – more research is needed for this to be 100% conclusive – but the high levels of fiber are known to give a protective effect against diabetes and many other chronic diseases. [3][4]

2. Beneficial In Pregnancy – Chia seeds are rich in calcium, phosphorus and manganese so they can provide pregnant women with these essential minerals for their baby’s growth. [2]

3. Heart Health – Low levels of sodium and cholesterol and high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids will be beneficial to anyone who is at risk of heart disease. [2]

4. Stroke Prevention / Treatment – Omega-3 fatty acids, which form over half of the fat content of the seeds and 18% of their total weight, have been found to help to thin the blood and could result in a lower risk of strokes as well as encouraging tissue repair and recovery of brain function after a stroke! [2]

5. Colon Health (High Fiber) – One ounce of seeds contains 42% of the recommended daily intake of fiber! [2] Adequate dietary fiber is essential for the colon to function well, for improving elimination of food waste from the body and helping to prevent colon cancer. [3]

6. IBS (Gentle On Bowels) – Fiber added to the diet in the form of concentrated bran can be too coarse for the digestion, especially in a person used to a diet low in fiber – natural forms of fiber are more gentle and the mucilage (the gel-like substance that forms when Chia absorbs water) could ease a sensitive bowel in the same way as flax seed. Chia makes a good alternative to flax seed because it has a long shelf life and once it is milled it will not go rancid for much longer than flax (rancid oils can be harmful to the liver) – Chia can even be digested more fully when eaten whole!

7. Stomach Health – Gastric inflammation due to stomach ulcers can be reduced by increasing the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet – Chia seeds have plenty of these! [5]

8. Weight Loss (Curbs Appetite) – Chia could be a valuable addition to a weight loss regime – the seeds absorb water and swell up in the stomach, curbing the appetite – it has been used in Mexico to suppress hunger in times of poverty. Don’t forget to drink extra fluid to compensate and prevent dehydration! They have been called a “dream food” for dieters. The seeds can also be ground and used to replace high-calorie eggs or fat in some recipes. [6]

9. Healthy Teeth And Bones – Calcium and phosphorus are both needed for bone and tooth enamel growth – they combine to form the main component of each. Phosphorus is also essential for all living cells, forming the structure of DNA and RNA. [7]

10. Super Energy Booster – Some people report that eating chia seeds gives them more endurance and enhanced athletic performance. Chia has been called ‘Indian Running Food’ and is noted for providing a “sustained” energy boost. It is reported to have 2x the amount of protein as any other seed or grain. [8]

11. Gluten Free – Chia is free from gluten so can be nutritionally valuable to anyone on a gluten free diet to supply protein, healthy fats and essential minerals.

Please note reported chia seeds side effects and contraindications:
– Increased flatulence from consumption in large quantities (due to the high fiber content).
– It has been written that there is a possible allergic reaction, most likely for those that suffer from an allergy to mustard seeds but the European Food Safety Authority has announced that there are no allergy issues – great news for people with a nut allergy too!
– Anyone taking aspirins or other blood thinning drugs; haemophiliacs; or those preparing for surgical procedures should avoid taking chia seeds or at least consult their physician first due to the blood thinning property of omega-3.

For best results please of course use organic chia seeds.

Further reading (includes the history and traditional uses of Chia!):

40 Ways to use Chia Seeds

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1 Comment

  • By Annie kaae, May 23, 2016 @ 1:23 pm

    Thank you its Nice title

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