What is Chia?
Also known as Salvia Hispanica, chia is a flowering plant native to Mexico and Guatemala. The Codex Mendoza suggests that the Aztecs cultivated the chia plant. The plant is a member of the mint family and is still commonly used for nutritional drinks and healthy eating across South America.
Chia is commonly used as a source of energy. In fact, the word ‘chia’ is actually the Mayan word for ‘strength’.
Although chia has been eaten for years, it has only recently been recognized as a reliable source of nutrition. In the past few years, chia seeds have become increasingly popular and are now commonly used for a number of different reasons.
So What’s All The Fuss About?
These seeds are small but mighty – a 28-gram serving contains:
Fiber – 11g
Protein – 4g
Fat – 9g (5g of which are omega-3 fats)
Calcium – 13g
As well as containing – vitamins A, B, C, D, zinc, magnesium, potassium, to name just a few. So it is safe to say that these little seeds can pack a punch.
Chia Seeds Are Great for Weight Loss.
In amongst the vast list of vitamins and minerals, chia seeds are also full of dietary (or soluble) fiber. By consuming more fiber you are more likely to lose weight as well as lowering blood pressure. The NHS recommends that we eat 30g of fiber per day and chia seeds contain on average about 11g for every 28g serving. That means for every portion of chia seeds, you can consume a third of your recommended daily allowance.
Moreover, the seeds contain protein, which too can help to contribute to weight loss. This is because protein can make you feel fuller for longer, which in turn helps you to control
your eating. That means that you eat smaller portions at mealtimes and you don’t feel that you have to munch throughout the day.
Helps You to Concentrate at Work.
Omega-3 fatty oils are more commonly associated with your brain functioning. Studies have shown that omega-3 can help slow the rate of cognitive deterioration. That means that your memory stays sharper for longer as well as helping you keep your attention for a greater period of time.
Strengthening Your Bones.
Chia seeds contain nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein, all of which play a crucial role in maintaining healthy bones. The amount of calcium in a 28g serving is particularly impressive, with 18% of the daily recommended allowance, and as we all know, calcium helps not only to strengthen and maintain bones and teeth but also to prevent developing osteoporosis in later life.
As well as this, more recent studies have shown that phosphorus works alongside calcium to strengthen bones. According to a study conducted by the University of Maryland, ‘about 85% of the body’s phosphorus is in bones and teeth’. Therefore, phosphorus is a crucial mineral for both our teeth and bones.
How Can You Eat Chia?
Chia can be added to just about any snack or meal you can imagine – morning, noon or night. Here are just a few ideas that can help you incorporate the seeds into your diet.
- Sprinkle the seeds over your cereal in the morning to give you a nutritional boost to help you kick-start the day.
- Mix the chia seeds with some fresh, Greek yogurt and rolled oats. Top it off with a handful of mixed berries and a drizzle of honey.
- Add a teaspoon of chia seeds to banana cake, blueberry muffins, and cookies – any type of cake mix to give your snack a healthy twist.
- Include seeds into your morning smoothies or health drink.
Author Bio: Jaspal is an entrepreneur with a passion for using health foods, supplements, and increased nutrition to benefit the mind and body. Director of startup company FILTER – a site that compares all the best brands in supplements, healthy foods and more – his goal is to get everybody living healthier, happier lives.