The amazing chia – small seeds with great nutritional value

Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet.

Chia is a small black seed from the plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, which comes from Central and South America. Legend has it that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a source of energy. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”

 

Despite its ancient history, chia seeds have only recently become recognized as a modern super food. In the last few years, they have gained immense popularity and are now consumed by people who follow a healthy diet around the world.

Don’t be fooled by the size – these little seeds are a powerful food bomb.

Chia seeds are rich in fiber. One serving of 25 g of chia seeds contains approximately 9 g of fiber. The recommended daily amount of fiber is 30 g, so the inclusion of 25 g portion of chia seeds every day can be a useful contribution. Fiber is important for a healthy digestive system and many of us do not reach the recommended dose.

Although it belongs to the carbohydrate family, the health effects of chia are drastically different from those of carbohydrates such as starch and sugar.

The content of digestible carbohydrates is only one gram per 28 grams, which is very low. This makes chia food low in carbohydrates.

Due to its high content of soluble fiber, chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach. Theoretically, this should make you feel fuller, will  slow down the digesting of food, and help you automatically eat fewer calories.

Fiber also contributes to the maintenance of a good intestinal flora.

All this makes chia seeds one of the best sources of fiber in the world.

In addition, chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They are known for their anti-inflammatory effects, as well as for improving brain health and potentially reducing the risk of heart disease. They have a wide range of benefits, which also include fighting depression and even improving sleep. Chia seeds contain omega-3 in plant form: alpha- lipoic acid (ALA), which makes them a valuable source for vegans and vegetarians.

Chia seeds are relatively high in protein – so they are a useful source of vegetable protein and provide a number of amino acids, especially for vegetarian and vegan diets.

The combination of fat, protein and fiber means that the seeds are digested relatively slowly, providing a long, slow release of energy to keep blood sugar levels stable.

The seeds are rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium and trace elements such as manganese, which helps produce enzymes.

Chia seeds are also very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants generally do the impossible: they slow down the signs of aging, which leads to younger skin, healthier hair and can even reduce the risk of cancer.

The truly amazing chia has so many beneficial effects on our health that we should definitely include it in our menu. This is not really a difficult task at all. It can be added to smoothies, snacks, desserts and even breads. It only takes 15 minutes to make chia pudding, and it gives you so much nutritional value. You can find one of my favorite chia recipes here.

 

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