Chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia Hispanic, a flowering plant in the mint family native to central and southern Mexico, or of the related Salvia columbaria of the southwestern United States and Mexico.
Chia seeds are oval and gray with black and white spots, having a diameter of around 2 millimeters.
Chia seeds are loaded with nutrients that could have important benefits for your body and brain. Here are five health benefits from chia seeds that are supported by research.
Chia Seeds less in Calories but loaded with a lot of Vitamins
Chia seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories.
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that grow natively in South America. They’re an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day.
In fact, chia is the ancient Mayan word for strength.
In the past few years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health-conscious people all over the world.
Nutrition Values in Chia Seeds
A one ounce or 28 gram serving of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, four grams of protein, nine grams of fat, five of which are Omega-3 fats, 18% of the RDA for calcium, 30% of the RDA for manganese and magnesium and almost the same for phosphorus as well.
They also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3, potassium, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2.
Some Dietary Supplements also contain the vitamins.You may visit one of them here.
This is particularly impressive when you consider this is all from a single ounce or two tablespoons, which contains about 137 calories and only one gram of digestible carbohydrate.
Chia Seeds a good source of Fiber
Almost all the carbs in chia seeds are fiber. So, once ounce of chia seeds has about 12 grams of carbohydrate.
However, 11 of those grams are from fiber, which isn’t digestible and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.
That means, the true carb content is only one gram per ounce, which makes chia seeds a low carb food.
Because of all the fiber, chia seeds can absorb up to 10 to 12 times their weight in water, becoming gel like and expanding in your stomach.
Now, theoretically, this should increase fullness, slow absorption of your food and help you automatically eat fewer calories.
Fiber also feeds the friendly bacteria in the intestine which is important because keeping your gut bugs well fed is absolutely crucial for health.
Chia seeds are actually 40% fiber by weight, which makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
Chia Seeds Rich Source of Protein
Chia seeds are high in quality protein. By weight, chia seeds are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to other plants.
This makes them an excellent protein source, especially for people who eat little or no animal products.
They also contain a good balance of essential amino acids, so our bodies should be able to make use of the protein in them.
Protein, of course, has all sorts of health benefits. It’s also the most weight loss friendly nutrient in the diet by far.
Chia Seed Magical effect on Type 2 Diabetics
Chia seeds can cause major improvements in those with type two diabetes.
The most successful application of chia seeds today was in a small trial of type two diabetic patients.
In this study, 20 diabetic patients received either 37 grams of chia seeds or 37 grams of wheat bran for 12 weeks.
When they got the chia seeds, they saw improvements in several important health markets.
Blood pressure went down by three to six points and an inflammatory marker called CRP went down by 40%.
Given that chia seeds are so high in fiber, it does seem plausible that they could help reduce blood sugar spikes after meals, although this still needs to be confirmed in some human studies.
Chia Seeds for Bones Health
Chia seeds are high in many important bone nutrients.
These include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein.
The calcium content is particularly impressive, 18% of the recommended dietary allowance in a single ounce. Now, gram for gram, this is higher than most dairy products.
So, chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy.
Chia Seeds a Super Food
Lastly, chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet.
The seeds themselves are really bland, so you can add them to just about anything you want.
I have to say, they are one of the few trendy super foods that are actually worthy of that term.