You probably have heard about chia seeds. Well, this is the superfood I am talking about today. These tiny seeds have become one of the most popular superfoods in the wellness community today.
Because they offer a lot in terms of nutrition, providing energy, and have a wide range of health benefits that we shall get into shortly.
What exactly are chia seeds?
Chia are seeds from a flowering plant in the mint family. They were originally grown and native to Mexico where they were high valued for their nutritional and medicinal value but are now readily grown all over the world including Uganda.
Chia seeds have so many health benefits that I believe every household should consume them regularly. The reason chia is such a powerful superfood is because it is one of the only foods that has a large amount of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, calcium, antioxidants and phytonutrients all in one food.
Chia is also high in magnesium, vitamin C and iron.
Here are some of the benefits of chia
1. Excellent for heart health
Since February is heart health month, I will start with this benefit. Chia is high in fiber and therefore helps to regulate cholesterol and keep blood vessels clear. It is high in omega-3 fats (in fact it has more omega 3 fats than the omega-3 rich salmon). This makes it very important in reducing inflammation (which is a leading factor in heart disease) as well as regulating blood pressure levels.
2. Helps to control blood sugar levels
These seeds are good for people with diabetes. The high fiber together with alpha linolenic acid (ALA - an omega – 3 fat) make it very powerful in preventing rises in blood sugar and management of diabetes.
3. Builds stronger bones
This is one of chia’s greatest benefit. It helps to preserve bone density, reduce risk of bone problems like osteoporosis as well as actually helping to build bones. This is because chia is rich in calcium and manganese, the two minerals most needed for bone health. In fact chia seeds have much more calcium than milk (up to 5 times more).
4. Helps with weight loss
Adding chia to your diet is an excellent way to support weight loss. They are protein rich providing you with this necessary nutrient to build muscle, they are low calorie and they also help to reduce appetite and cravings. Chia absorbs up to 20 times its own weight when in contact with liquids and so as it expands, it keeps you satisfied longer and thus helps to curb your appetite. Adding just 1 tablespoon or so of chia seeds to your diet can make a big difference overtime to your weight.
5. Reduces risk for cancer
With cancer on the rise, we must include foods in our diet to reduce our risk. Chia can help to reduce cancer risk particularly because of its high ALA content. This omega 3 fat has been shown by research to limit growth of breast cancer cells and to cause death of other cancer cells.
6. Helps with digestive health
Because of their rich fiber content, chia seeds benefit digestive health by promoting regularity and increasing stool frequency to prevent constipation. The fiber also acts as a prebiotic to provide fuel for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which plays a key role in many aspects of health and disease.
There are many other benefits of chia that I will not go into much detail on but will just list here
Wondering where to buy chia seeds?
Chia seeds can be found in most supermarkets and health food shops. You can also get some from us. We have some good quality chia seeds that can easily be delivered to you. Contact us to help you get your monthly portion of chia seeds. Please do not miss out on this simple and affordable wonder of nature.
You can also try growing chia at home in either an indoor or outdoor garden. Sprinkle the seeds over soil, and be sure to provide enough space for them to grow.
How to use chia seeds
There are many ways to use chia seeds. You can simply chew them, but it is advisable to be adequately hydrated if you opt to chew them. They can also be added whole or ground to water, smoothies, juices or even a healthy yoghurt. And you could also sprinkle them on a salad. Just remember that chia absorbs water and so they will swell up and could make the drink a little bit thick.
In summary, these tiny seeds must be a regular part of your diet for improved heart and general health.