Chia seeds are these small edible flattened oval shaped blackish grey colored seeds got from a flowering plant of the mint family. They are flavorless in terms of taste. These seeds have become quite popular over the years and are often been used in food items or consumed because of its varied health benefits. They are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and have essential minerals which include calcium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium.
Often confused – Chia seeds and Basil (Sabja) Seeds:
Since Chia seeds are hydrophilic by nature (having the tendency of absorbing water, giving the seeds an outer gel like texture because of the development of a mucilaginous coating), these seeds are very often confused with Basil seeds (Sabja seeds).
Benefits of Chia Seeds:
1. Could help in weight loss:
Chia seeds absorb large amounts of water (even up to 12 times their weight), as they are soluble fibres and once consumed they expand in the stomach and make the person full, in turn reducing the intake or consumption of food. The proteins in the chia seeds could help to reduce one’s appetite. The fibres in chia seeds help in the slow absorption of food, keeping you full for a longer time, in turn making a person consume lesser food and gain lesser calories.
2. Used for skin ailments:
Chia seeds contain antioxidants which are helpful for age-related wrinkles and its anti-inflammatory properties help treat acne. Chia seeds also have omega-3s, which keep the skin hydrated at all times.
3. Improves digestion:
Chia seeds are rich in fibre and with its intake; fibre helps one to have good digestion and good bowel movements. It is helpful to ease one’s stool as it has soluble fibres, which also feed on the friendly bacteria in the gut.
4. General health benefits:
Good for heart diseases/cardiovascular system: Chia seeds have the antioxidant called quercetin, which helps reduce the risk of many diseases including heart. It also helps lower one’s blood pressure and triglycerides (the most common type of fat in one’s body). Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids which contribute to HDL (high-density lipoprotein), also known as good cholesterol, lowering the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Good for diabetics: The intake of chia seeds can help maintain the insulin levels of the body and stabilizes the blood sugar levels especially after meals. Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fibre and magnesium and these antioxidants are helpful to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes or any other complications that diabetics have.
Helpful for osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a medical condition where the bones lack calcium or vitamin D and become brittle or fragile. Chia seeds can be helpful to those who suffer from any sort of bone issues, because it contains calcium, phosphorous and manganese. READ MORE – Pumpkin Seeds for hair growth, weight loss, good sleep and more
BEST WAYS TO USE CHIA SEEDS
Well, I’m sure many of you would like to incorporate chia seeds in your diet after reading its numerous benefits. Here are some of the ways you could use them –
Chia seed pudding – Take half a cup of milk, add in two tablespoons of chia seeds and refrigerate for a couple of hours or until the milk with chia seeds has turned into a thick pudding. You could top it up with fruits of your choice and it’s ready to consume.
In beverages – Smoothies, cold drinks, protein shakes, porridge or even just regular water! Chia seeds can be added to anything and consumed.
Dressings – In salads, sauces or even dips, you can add in some chia seeds and because of its neutral flavour, you will hardly know it is there!
Vegan baking – Chia seeds can be used as a substitute for eggs as the gel from the ground seeds maybe used to replace the content of egg in cakes while still providing nutrients. READ MORE – NATURAL HAIR GROWTH SUPPLEMENT FOR FASTER AND THICKER HAIR GROWTH
You could also add in chia seeds in your cereals for breakfast, in energy or granola bars, in your curd/yogurt bowl, in your sautéed vegetables or maybe even in your pancakes!
Side effects – Some people are allergic to chia seeds, also if you consume more than the required quantity you may experience symptoms like gastrointestinal distress after eating them.