After keeping to a predominantly plant based diet over the last two years, chia seeds have gone from something I hadnt heard of, to a product that I now eat most days. Along with my good friends from Anurakti (who introduced me to Chia Seeds), we have put together this in depth explanation of chia seeds, from their origin to their many health benefits
Chia seeds are tiny, oval shaped seeds that come from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is a member of the mint family. These seeds have been consumed for centuries, originating from Central and South America, particularly Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds were a staple food for ancient Mayans and Aztecs and were highly valued for their nutritional properties.
Chia seeds are rich in various nutrients and offer several health benefits. They are a great source of macronutrient, providing our bodies with carbohydrates, fibre, and protein. They also contain a small amount of fat and primarily omega-3 fatty acids.
Fibre Chia seeds are particularly high in soluble fibre, which promotes digestive health and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Chia seeds are one of the best plant based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation.
Antioxidants Chia seeds contain antioxidants like quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid, which help protect the body against damage from free radicals.
Weight Management Benefits
High Fibre Content Chia seeds absorb liquid and form a gel-like consistency in the stomach, promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing appetite. This can help with weight management by preventing overeating.
Low Calorie Density Despite being nutrient-dense, chia seeds are relatively low in calories, meaning they can be a useful addition to a calorie controlled diet.
Heart Health Benefits
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Chia seeds contain a high ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which helps reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Fibre Content The soluble fibre in chia seeds can help reduce cholesterol levels, specifically LDL (bad) cholesterol, which contributes to heart disease.
Blood Sugar Regulation
Fibre and Protein Chia seeds slow down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. The combination of fibre and protein also promotes satiety and helps maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Fibre Content Chia seeds support the digestive system by acting as prebiotics, providing nourishment to beneficial gut bacteria, which aids digestion and supports a healthy gut microbiome.
When consumed with liquid, chia seeds benefit our hydration levels by absorbing and retaining water, helping to maintain proper hydration and prevent constipation.
Calcium and Phosphorus Chia seeds are a plant-based source of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential minerals for maintaining strong bones and teeth.
Chia seeds help keeping our bones healthy as they are rich in essential minerals like magnesium, manganese, and zinc, which are necessary for various bodily functions and play a role in nutrient absorption.
Hopefully that give you more of an insight into the benefits of chia seeds, if you are ever in the Qawra area you have to visit Anurakti and try one of their Mango Chia Pots or Protein PBJ Pots (Peanut Butter Jelly)...but make sure you leave one for me :)