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Benefits Of Chia Seeds

Published 4/27/13

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are the seeds coming from the salvia hispanica plant, which is a flowering plant species in the Larniaceae mint family and is commonly referred to as simply chia. Native to southern Mexico and Guatemala, the seeds of chia plants have become extremely popular in Mexico and the southern portion of the United States. As much as 30% of the chia seed is extractable oil.

Chia Seeds Nutritional Value

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that 1-ounce of chia seeds contains as much as 9-grams of fat, 5-miligrams of sodium, 11-grams of dietary fiber, and 4-grams of protein. They also contain as much as 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of calcium, 27% DV of phosphorus, and 30% DV of manganese. Chia seeds are also the richest plant-source of Omega-3 fats, a substance that is typically thought to only exist in fish oils.

Chia Seeds Benefits

Chia seeds have many benefits to offer including aiding weight loss, heart and cholesterol health, and providing a boost of energy. Although most of the benefits are not scientifically proven, chia seed supporters swear by them.  When consumed with water, the outside of the chia seed forms a gel like covering. This results with the seed increasing in size and weight and can prevent overeating because it tricks the body into thinking it is fuller than it actually is. The combination of soluble and insoluble fiber within chia seeds helps slow down the process of the body converting starches into sugars. This delay in the conversion process lowers the risks of Type-2 Diabetes as well as helping the body main a steady amount of energy rather than feeling sugar highs and sugar lows throughout the day. The omega-3 oils in chia seeds are vital when it comes to heart and cholesterol health. And the combination of vitamins, protein, and minerals of the chia seed help it provide a steady amount of energy throughout the day. Chia seeds also contain high levels of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, that aid the digestion process. Since the body is not able to process insoluble fiber, these type of fiber helps food move efficiently through the digestion process. The soluble fiber also aids the digestion process by helping keep the colon hydrates.

Chia Seeds Side Effects

It is highly recommended that people who have high triglyceride levels stay away from chia seeds. Some strands of chia seeds can cause the triglyceride fat levels in the blood to increase to an unhealthy level. Chia seeds can also increase the risks of prostate cancer as a result of the high level of alpha-linoleic acid that they contain. 

How To Eat Chia Seeds

It is very common to mix chia seeds with smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or gelatin like substances. Chia seeds do not have a taste so they can essentially be mixed with almost anything. And while they can be consumed raw, it is not very popular to do so due to their bland taste.

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