Chia seeds: Scientifically proven health benefits for you

Chia seeds

Chia seeds, tiny seeds from the chia plant, are among the healthiest foods you can have in your daily diet.

They also come from the Slavia hispanica plant, native to Central America, South America, and México.

Also was part of the regular diet for the Aztecs and Mayans. They also prized chia for its ability to provided them with energy for the long their journeys.

Chia seedsIn fact, the word “chia” means “strength” in the Mayan language (1)

Despite chia ancient history, it is only in recent years that chia became famous and popular as a modern superfood.

Chia seeds also contain plenty of nutrients that can have important benefits. Such as your brain and your body like:

  • Fibre.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • High-quality proteins.
  • Several essential minerals.
  • Antioxidants.

They also may improve risk factors for:

  • Diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Constipation.

Chia seedsChia seeds have a colour range from white to black and even brown (2).

Furthermore, they also have a shiny smooth texture, an oval flat shape and a relatively bland flavour chia seeds can be added pretty much to every meal you daily have.

How to add Chia Seeds to Your Diet?

Because of their ability to absorb liquid they can be soaked and added or used to make:

  • Porridge
  • Puddings
  • Baked goods
  • Smoothies
  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Casseroles
  • Stews

They can also be used to thicken anything you want, used as an egg replacement in any recipe, or simply sprinkled on the top of any food like moles, yoghurts, bread, salads or desserts.

Also, one of the best things about chia seeds is that they are whole grains, gluten free, usually organic and non-GMO.

Chia Seeds: Nutrition Facts

Despite their size, they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, proteins, and fibre.

While 100 grams contain 486 calories. Also, 6% water, 19% protein, 38% fiber, 34% fat. Furthermore, 8% digestible carbohydrates.

And one once (28 grams or 2 tablespoons) contains:

  • Energy: 138 calories.
  • Water: 6%
  • Macronutrients:
    • Protein: 4.7 grams
      • Essential amino acids:
        • Histidine: 151 mg
        • Isoleucine: 227 mg
        • Leucine: 389 mg
        • Lysine: 275 mg
        • Methionine: 167 mg
        • Threonine: 201 mg
        • Tryptophan: 124 mg
        • Valine: 269 mg
      • Amino acids essential only in certain cases:
        • Arginine: 608 mg
        • Cysteine: 115 mg
        • Glutamic acid: 992 mg
        • Glycine: 267 mg
        • Proline: 220 mg
        • Serine: 297 mg
        • Tyrosine: 160 mg
        • Aspartic acid: 479 mg
    • Fat: 8.7 grams
      • Saturated: 0.94 grams
      • Monounsaturated: 0.65 grams
      • Polyunsaturated: 6.71 grams
      • Omega 3: 5.05 grams
      • Omega 6: 1.65 grams
      • Trans fat: 0.04 grams
    • Carbohydrates: 11.9
      • Digestible Carbohydrates: 2.1 gram
      • Sugar: 0 grams
      • Fiber: 9.8 grams
  • Micronutrients:
    •  Vitamins:
      • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): 0.45 mg – 1% of the RDA.
      • Tocopherol (Vitamin E): 0.14 mg – 1% of the RDA.
      • Thiamine (Vitamin B1): 0.18 mg – 15% of the RDA.
      • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 0.05 mg – 4% of the RDA.
      • Niacin (Vitamin B3): 2.5 mg – 16% of the RDA.
      • Folate (Vitamin B9): 13.89 µg – 3% of the RDA
    • Minerals
      • Calcium: 178.89 mg – 18% of the RDA.
      • Iron: 2.19 mg – 27% of the RDA.
      • Magnesium: 94.97 mg – 24% of the RDA.
      • Phosphorus: 243.81 mg – 35% of the RDA.
      • Potassium: 115.38 mg – 2% of the RDA.
      • Sodium: 4.54 mg – 0% of the RDA.
      • Zinc: 1.3 mg – 12% of the RDA.
      • Copper: 0.26 mg – 29% of the RDA.
      • Manganese: 0.77 mg – 34% of the RDA.
      • Selenium: 15.65 mg – 28% of the RDA.

Chia SeedsPlant Compounds in Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are loaded with plant compounds that are beneficial for you because of their properties:

  • Antioxidants
    • Chlorogenic acid
    • Quercetin
    • Kaempferol
  • Anti-inflammatory
    • Caffeic acid

Antioxidants in chia seeds play an important role, they also help protect the fats from going rancid.

In your body antioxidants help you fight free radicals and that is why they are considered to have a positive effect on your health.

Free radicals damage your cells and contribute to:

  • Aging
  • Heart diseases.
  • Cancer.

Chia Seeds and Exercise Performance

A recent scientific study found that chia seeds help athletes to load their carbohydrates reservoirs for exercise performance in endurance events (3).

Chia seeds seem not to reduce your athletic performance but instead load your body with nutrients needed for your body such as:

  • Fiber
  • Fats
  • Essential amino acids
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Antioxidants

However, eating only chia seeds do not replace a healthy meal for a healthy diet.

Have you already tried chia seeds? Tell us your experience!

Previously: Health benefits of eating the tropical fruit Guayabas.

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