These seeds were an integral part of Mayan and Aztec diets for years and were used as energy boosters in these early cultures. As many studies show, these seeds are good nutritional addition to foods. Chia seeds come in two colors: dark brown or black. The attractive quality of this food is that it can be eaten whole, or milled to get the benefits. Furthermore, the seeds do not have any specific taste and can be added to any meals without affecting the flavor of other ingredients.
Here are a few health benefits of this native South American seed:
- These seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. About 60% of the fat content in the seed is made up of the highly beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, therefore, chia seeds are one of the richest source of this fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to be effective in reducing inflammation and cholesterol levels, and also in improving cognitive abilities.
- Chia seeds are rich in fiber content containing about 10g in just two tablespoons of the seeds. Taking just two spoonfuls of the seeds will be adequate to give you about one-third of the daily recommended dose of fiber. Fiber in the seeds help in reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol levels, and improving bowel movement.
- Antioxidant properties of the components in the seed helps in protecting the body from the harmful effects of free radicals. Having good amounts of antioxidants in the diet helps in reducing the risk of cancer and slows down the effects of aging.
- These seeds are rich in minerals like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese. This aids in reducing hypertension, and also in maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Chia seeds when mixed with fluids in the diet leaves an individual feeling full, preventing food cravings. This feeling of fullness comes from the combination of protein, fiber and the gelling property of chia seeds.
As of late, these seeds are promoted as a good ingredient for losing body weight. Properties of the seed like its ability to expand in the intestine giving a feeling of fullness help in reducing cravings. Evidences supporting this view are limited and more studies are needed to recommend this seed in weight-loss diet. But, until then, the nutritional profile of this seed makes it a very good choice in a healthy diet.