Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a member of the mint family, originally grown in central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds were an important part of the Aztec and Mayan diet.
The seeds of chia are either white or black, and even though the seeds are incredibly small, they contain a great amount of nutrition. Chia is essentially one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can find.
Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seeds
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 3 times more iron and magnesium than a handful of spinach, as much calcium as half a glass of milk, twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal and as much potassium as a small banana.
Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 helps protect against inflammation such as heart disease and arthritis. The human body does not produce omega acids on its own and we therefore must obtain them through food sources. Fish is the best known source of omegas but chia seeds are also packed with omega-3 and omega-6.
Chia seeds contain a staggering 34 grams of fiber per 100 grams. Fiber is important for digestive health, and one or two tablespoons of these tiny little seeds every day is an excellent way of making sure you’re getting enough fiber.
Chia has strong benefits for diabetics. Chia has the ability to help the body regulate carbohydrates and the sugars they turn into. When ingested, chia seeds form a type of barrier inside the stomach. This barrier helps to slow the ingestion of sugar into the blood stream which is very helpful for people who suffer from diabetes.
Chia is becoming increasingly popular with bodybuilders because the chia seed is a complete protein. Chia contains all essential amino acids which helps to perform better and build muscles faster.
Chia seeds are also a great source of antioxidants, helping our bodies fight against free radicals.
Eating Chia Seeds
There are many different ways to incorporate chia seeds into your diet. Just to name a few:
- The most common way of eating these is to sprinkle them on your cereal, salads, or yogurt.
- Chia seeds can also be mixed into green smoothies. The seeds form a gel type texture when soaked in liquid, so make sure you don’t add too much to your smoothie or it will get very thick.
- Simply mix a tablespoon of chia with your glass of water or fresh juice.
- Make a chia gel and use it to make puddings.