1)Low-Calorie Load, High Nutritional Value
Chia seeds have an astounding nutritional profile packed into a tiny package. A single 1 oz serving contains 11g of fiber, 4g of protein, and 9g of fat (5g from Omega-3 fatty acids).
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for minerals is equally impressive: 18% of calcium, 30% manganese, 30% of magnesium, and 27% of phosphorus.
Trace amounts of B vitamins, zinc, and potassium are also found in chia- for the low-calorie price tag of 137 calories. Pretty amazing qualities for such a tiny, unremarkable seed mostly known as a novelty plant.
2)Whole Grain Power
While being an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, chia has the additional cachet of being a whole grain food. Better yet, chia is a whole grain food that requires no processing at all- they can simply be added into just about any food whatsoever. No grinding, hulling, or cooking is necessary.
3)Naturally Gluten Free
Gluten free diets are not appropriate for everyone- but for the approximate 1% of Americans who have Celiac Disease (about 3 million people), high-quality nutrition without gluten is an absolute necessity. Chia provides a healthy option for the gluten-free population without any added dietary dangers.
Chia also provides helpful healing and maintenance factors in the gut, which is a particularly vulnerable area for Celiacs.
As if the previous health benefits of chia weren’t impressive enough, examination of the carbohydrate composition of chia adds more value. That 1 oz serving mentioned before contains 12g of carbohydrates- but 11g of those derive purely from fiber.
The fiber in chia seeds is capable of absorbing over 10% of its weight in water- resulting in a dense gel.
This thick, nutritious substance is incredibly healthful for both the proper functioning of the colon and the beneficial microflora inhabiting the digestive tract.
This has importance on many levels, and it also contributes to a sense of fullness and satisfaction.
Chia seeds are an incredible source of antioxidants, which directly defend the human body from free radicals. These particles are implicated in continuous cell damage, premature aging, and various cancers.
Protein is a vital aspect of any diet- and again, chia seeds rise to the occasion. A high-quality plant-based protein, chia seeds are 14% protein by weight alone, making them incredibly potent and accessible in a form that is easy for the body to absorb.
Interestingly, chia seeds can be used as an egg substitute in baking. A mixture of 1 tbsp of chia with 3 tbsp of water rested for 15 minutes will gel into a substance suitable for use by vegans or by those requiring controlled low cholesterol diets.
7)Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are also rich in beneficial Omega-3 fatty acids, being especially dense in alpha linoleic acid (ALA). This manifestation is not the most bioavailable form of these nutrients- it needs to be converted into the useable forms known as EPA and DPA.
In this regard, while chia is a good source of Omega-3s, supplementation (preferably with fatty cold water fish) is recommended in order to create the best dietary balance.
Protein content, fiber load, antioxidants, and fatty acids in chia seeds are also beneficial for healthy weight loss and proper weight maintenance. The rich nutrition found in chia seeds make formulating an excellent dietary supplement simple.
More protein is available for long term energy and the higher fiber content results in fullness and assists with daily detoxification. Both have been proven to help with weight issues.
9)Type 2 Diabetes
Perhaps the most exciting application of chia seeds was tested during an in-depth study of diabetics. Over a 12 week period, 20 diabetics had their daily rations supplemented with either 37g of wheat germ or 37g of chia seeds.
The results in the chia group were stunning: average blood pressure dropped between 3 and 6 mm/Hg, an inflammation factor plummeted 40%, and an associated health risk factor known as vWF was lowered by 21%. All from one tiny dietary change. Impressive!
It sounds peculiar that blandness would be an advantage in any food. Who would want to eat anything that tastes like nothing at all? Ironically, that unremarkable flavor is key to chia’s usefulness, because chia can be added to baked goods, oatmeal blends, and smoothies. Except for adding a dappled appearance, chia disappears into foods without a trace.
Chia seeds are easy to add to any diet, and appropriate in most cases- though they should be added gradually so as to not overload the gastrointestinal tract with excessive fiber.