Chia is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the mint family. Chia plant is largely cultivated for its seeds, which is a valuable food source. The chia plant originated from South America. Although small in size, the black seeds of the chia plant are considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. Adding these into your diet helps boost brain and body functions.
Just a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 18% of your recommended daily allowance of calcium, 30% of your recommended daily allowance of manganese and magnesium, and 27% of your recommended daily allowance of phosphorus. But believe it or not, these minerals aren’t what make chia seeds so beneficial to the health. The diminutive seeds are packed with antioxidants. Some experts believe that chia seeds contain 3 times more antioxidants than blueberries.
Chia Seeds Preparation
Chia seeds could be prepared in many ways, making it a very versatile superfood too. You can eat it raw. Just mix it with your favorite wet foods, like yogurt or oatmeal. The seeds will turn gelatinous once it’s mixed with other wet foods. You can also sprinkle chia seeds on your favorite sandwiches, salads, dips, etc.
Cook chia seeds and make your own chia seed porridge. Mix it with milk and boil for 10 to 15 minutes, whisking occasionally to prevent clumps. Add your favorite fresh fruits to the porridge and it’s a delicious snack! You can also grind the seeds into a fine powder and mix it together with flour when baking breads.
You can also incorporate chia seeds to your favorite beverages and smoothies. Just sprinkle chia seeds all over your drink—including teas or fruit juice—to give it a nutritious boost.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
Aids in Weight Loss
Chia seeds contain high-quality protein and fiber — both are important in building a healthier, leaner body. Protein increases muscle mass while fiber helps eliminate toxin buildup in the digestive tract and colon. Fiber also bulks up the stool so wastes are easier to pass out of the body. It also inhibits fat absorption, leading to faster weight loss.
Prevents Oxidative Damage
Oxidative damage is believed to be the precursor of cancer development. Oxidative damage occurs when free radicals damage healthy cells. The damage will trigger cell mutation and this inevitably leads to benign and cancerous tumors. Because chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants and essential vitamins, they protect the body from free radicals, inhibit cell mutation, and cut the risk of cancers.
Good for the Heart
Just like oats, chia seeds keep the heart (and the brain!) healthy and strong. Chia seeds contain essential fatty acids, omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acid helps boost cognitive functions, protects the heart from various cardiovascular diseases, as well as lowers bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol in the body.
Builds Stronger Bones
Chia seeds are packed with essential minerals that are important in building stronger bones and teeth. These minerals include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and protein! Chia seeds’ calcium content is so high, it’s recommended for people who cannot get their calcium from dairy foods.