Latin name: Salvia hispanica
Health Benefits of Chia Seed
Chia Seeds are widely known to be a superfood. They are one of the richest plant sources of Omega 3 fatty acids and an excellent source of antioxidants and iron. Health benefits include:
- Benefits diabetics because the gel that is formed in the stomach creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
- The slowing of the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar offers the ability for creating endurance. Carbohydrates are the fuel for energy in our bodies. Prolonging their conversion into sugar stabilizes metabolic changes and diminishes the surges of highs and lows, creating a longer duration in their fueling effects on the body.
- They are highly hydrophilic, which means they help you retain water. Because they absorb water up to 10 times their weight they use the water that we take into our bodies, and help to keep us hydrated longer. This is especially good for athletes.
- Can help restore electrolyte balance after long bouts of diarrhea and vomiting due to the water absorption and retaining qualities of chia seeds.
- Helps keep skin healthy.
- Anti-inflammatory agent.
- Helps cholesterol metabolism.
Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seed
- One of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Excellent source of natural antioxidants, protein, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, zinc, copper, and iron.
- Packed with Vitamins B, C, and E.
- The high protein content in chia is enough to provide the full daily requirement.
- 30% of the seed’s oil is Omega-3 oil. 40% of its oil is Omega 6 oil. This provides the nice balance that those who take supplemental Essential Fatty Acids are looking for.
- The seed’s substantially dense percentages of alpha-linolenic fatty acid also make this seed a healthy dietary source of fatty acids.
- Contains 6 times more iron than spinach and is also gluten free.
How to use Chia Seed
- Can be ground and mixed with flour to make breads, but it is not necessary to grind the seeds as they can be taken whole, unlike flax seeds. They can be added to foods like cereals, juices, broths, salads, smoothies, and yogurt. You can also add them to an assortment of baked goods. They will last for years without refrigeration.
Cautions and Side Effects of Chia Seed
- Safe during pregnancy, while nursing, and for children.
- No known drug interactions.
Fun Facts About Chia Seed
- Was once a huge crop in Mexico between 1500-900 BC, but was banned by the Spanish conquest because it was associated with Aztec religion.