Chia Seeds Health Benefits
By Fred Herman
Chia seeds are a kind of high-quality nutritional seeds for users' health. This nut is rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein, and various fluids. Regular consumption of chia seeds can effectively prevent serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or conversion syndrome.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are small, black seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant, the same species as mint or basil. This plant, native to Guatemala and Mexico, was an essential food in the daily life of the ancient Maya and Aztecs.
The people here often appreciate these nuts because of the great nutritional value they bring to health. On the other hand, the word “divide” in the ancient Mayan word means “strength”.
The reason chia seeds have such "power" is that they themselves are rich in protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, along with a variety of minerals and antioxidants important to the body. Besides, it is also used as a medicine, helping to improve health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or digestive system problems.
Chia seeds are quite small in size compared to other seeds, shaped like an egg, flattened with a smooth and shiny texture. Their color usually ranges from white to brown or black.
Although in ancient times this nut was considered a dietary food, today it has become a widely used and loved superfood.
Nutritional value of chia seeds
Chia seeds contain 138 calories per ounce (~28 grams). By weight, they are 6% water, 46% carbohydrates (of which 83% is fiber), 34% fat, and 19% protein.
The nutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of chia seeds include:
• Calories: 486
• Water: 6%
• Protein: 16.5 grams
• Carbs: 42.1 grams
• Sugar: 0 grams
• Fiber: 34.4 grams
• Fat: 30.7 grams
• Saturation: 3.33 grams
• Monounsaturated: 2.31 grams
• Polysaturated: 23.67 grams
• Omega-3: 17.83 grams
• Omega-6: 5.84 grams
• Trans: 0.14 grams
Carbs and fiber
Most of the carbohydrate content in chia seeds is in the form of fiber (over 80%).
One ounce (28 g) of chia seeds contains 11 g of fiber, a significant portion of the daily intakes of women and men (25 and 38 g/day).
This fiber is mostly insoluble fiber (95%), the type of fiber that has been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes.
Certain insoluble substances can also be fermented in the gut such as soluble fiber, which promotes the formation of short-chain fatty acids and improves colon health.
When chia seeds are soaked in water or other liquids, the fiber absorbs 10-12 times their weight and the seeds turn into a gel-like mass.
One of the unique characteristics of chia seeds is their high content of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
About 75% of the fat in chia seeds contains omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), while about 20% is omega-6 fatty acids.
Chia seeds are actually the best known plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, even better than flaxseeds.
The importance of the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in the diet has been proven many times over and is often seen in a 15-17/1 ratio due to overconsumption of omega-6s.
As an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds lower the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
A 2.5-4/1 ratio can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, inflammatory diseases, and premature death.
However, by weight, the omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds (ALA) are not nearly as potent as those found in fish or fish oils (EPA and DHA).
ALA needs to be converted to the active forms EPA and DHA before it can be used by the body, and this process is often ineffective.
Chia seeds contain more protein than most grains and are gluten-free
Chia seeds contain 19% protein, similar to other nuts, but more than most cereals and grain-based dishes.
High protein consumption is associated with increased satiety after meals and decreased food consumption.
Chia seeds contain high-quality protein with all the essential amino acids and are therefore a good source of plant-based protein. However, they are not recommended as the sole source of protein for children.
They're also gluten-free, so those with gluten intolerance can enjoy them.
Vitamins and minerals
Chia seeds provide a large number of minerals but are low in vitamins.
The most abundant minerals are listed below.
• Manganese: Whole grains and nuts contain manganese which is essential for metabolism, growth, and development.
• Phosphorus: Commonly found in protein-rich foods, phosphorus contributes to bone and tissue health.
• Copper: A mineral often lacking in the diet, important for heart health.
• Selenium: An important antioxidant mineral, involved in many processes in the body.
• Iron: As a component of hemoglobin in red blood cells, iron is involved in the transport of oxygen in the body. It is difficult to absorb due to the presence of phytic acid in chia seeds.
• Magnesium: Often deficient in the Western diet, magnesium plays an important role in many processes in the body.
• Calcium: The most abundant mineral in the human body, necessary for bones, muscles, and nerves.
The absorption of certain minerals such as iron and zinc can be reduced due to the phytic acid content in chia seeds
Health benefits of chia seeds
Omega 3 supplements:
As one of the valuable food sources of Omega 3 supplements. With almost 5 grams of Omega-3 in a 28-gram serving. Chia seeds have 8.7 times more omega 3 than salmon, which can be said to be one of the richest plant sources of omega 3.
Omega 3 is essential fat to protect the body against the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis.
It is also a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This is an essential fatty acid that the body cannot produce on its own. Omega 3 also helps lower cholesterol and promote brain health.
Blood sugar control:
Having healthy blood sugar levels is important for optimal health. Animal studies show that chia seeds reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control, which are important risk factors for metabolic disorders, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. . Several studies have shown that chia seeds can significantly lower blood sugar levels. This happens because the fiber content in chia seeds is quite high, which slows down the absorption of sugar in the blood.
In most cases, people with diabetes consuming a moderate amount of chia seeds can help control blood sugar levels. However, the dose of diabetes medication (insulin) needs to be carefully adjusted to prevent drops and spikes in blood sugar.
Lower blood pressure:
In addition to the benefits of lowering blood sugar, it also has the effect of lowering blood pressure. One study found that people who ate chia seeds for 12 weeks had lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and inflammation. This is because the seeds contain a lot of omega-3 fatty acids that have a blood-thinning and blood-pressure-lowering effect.
One study in 90 people with high blood pressure found that, on average, taking omega-3 fatty acids supplements for 8 weeks reduced systolic blood pressure by 22.2 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 11.95 mm Hg. However, the people in this study were also on dialysis, so the results may not be accurate for everyone.
Chia seeds can lower blood sugar and blood pressure. People taking medication for high blood pressure or diabetes should consult with their doctor to adjust the amount of medication to help prevent interactions.
Able to absorb liquid and create a thick paste after soaking time, it is often used in combination with dishes such as pudding, pancakes, yogurt, smoothies...
Chia seeds are a very good choice for a weight loss diet. They suppress cravings for junk foods by slowing down the absorption of the foods you just ate with the high fiber content in chia seeds.
The calorie blockade makes chia seeds a great dietary supplement, without the side effects or harmful ingredients.
Improve heart health:
Chia seeds have been observed to show blood pressure benefits in people with diabetes.
Eating chia seeds helps diabetics reduce total bad cholesterol as well as triglyceride cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. For people at risk for diabetes and a history of heart problems, it's a good idea to actively take preventive measures by eating heart-healthy foods like chia seeds.
How to use chia seeds effectively
Chia seeds are often preserved in the form of pure dry seeds, easy to use directly or with different drinks and foods. If you are a person with intestinal problems, I do not recommend that you use chia seeds directly.
Drinking smoothies is a great idea, using bananas, fresh milk, oats, grapes, and a few chia seeds will provide nutrition and make the meal more delicious. In addition, chia seeds can also be added to porridge or cakes to increase flavor and nutritional composition.
Through this article, I hope that I have helped you better understand the concept of Chia seeds as well as the benefits of supplementing with chia seeds, thereby making more nutritious food choices for your daily diet, improving your health. healthier and more efficient.