So what are the 10 Health Benefits we can get from using these tiny seeds in our diet?
1. Supports Heart Health
The seeds contain one of the highest known plant sources of Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6). As EFAs cannot be synthesized by our bodies it is very important that we get enough from our diet to support our immune, cardiovascular, nervous and reproductive systems. EFA deficiency is quite common in the developed world.
2. Stabilizes Energy Levels
Chia seeds slow down the rate at which complex carbohydrates are digested and then assimilated into the body. The soluble fibre helps to stabilize blood glucose levels resulting in steady, sustained energy.
The word “Chia” comes from the Mayan language and means strength. Chia seeds are a natural balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fibre. Ancient Mayan folklaw said that 1 mouthful of Chia could sustain a warrior for 24 hours. Athletes, including the famous barefoot marathon runners of Mexico, have reported that Chia seeds help them perform at optimal levels for much longer periods of time.
4. Supports Circulation
Reports that Chia seeds may help with the general circulation of the body may be attributed to the high concentration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 in a ratio which is beneficial for the circulatory and musculoskeletal systems.
5. Weight Maintenance
The Essential Fatty Acids contained in Chia seeds help to boost metabolism and promote lean muscle mass. The seeds are sometimes added to food to provide bulk nutrients while adding very few calories. For these reasons, many people have found Chia quite useful in weight maintenance.
6. Detoxification and Elimination
Similar to psyllium, the swelling action of Chia in the body helps to cleanse and soothe the colon and absorb toxins while lubricating and strengthening peristaltic action.
7. High Quality Protein
Chia seeds contain about 20% protein, a higher percentage than found in many other grains such as wheat and rice. Chia seeds contain strontium which helps to assimilate protein and produce high energy.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants, containing even more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. The high amounts of antioxidants in Chia seeds also keeps the Omega-3 oils from going rancid – contributing to a long shelf life (up to 36 months following harvest if kept dry at room temperature).
9. Provides Fibre and Other Nutrients
Besides EFAs, Chia seeds also provide fibre, iron, calcium, niacin, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus. 2 tablespoons of Chia = 7 grams of fibre, 2 grams of protein, 205 milligrams of calcium, 5 grams Omega-3. Recommended daily serving: 1-2 Tablespoons.
10. Brain Power
EFAs are known to make cell membranes more flexible and efficient, making nutrients more readily available and nerve transmission more efficient. This helps to improve brain function – including memory and concentration.
Chia has a mild flavor so you can add it to various dishes without altering the taste. Sprinkle seeds on breakfast cereals or mix them into shakes, puddings, sauces, etc.