Chia seeds – the seeds of strength! Indeed these tiny black-coloured seeds from the Mexican desert plant Salvia Hispanica, related to the mint family, are rich sources of fibre, omega 3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, carbohydrates, calcium, minerals and essential antioxidants. The origin of chia seeds can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of Mayan and Aztec. In fact, Aztecs consumed chia in all their culinary preparations. Many other civilizations before and after them held them in such high regard as well.
So what is this whole hoopla around chia seeds? Well, it has been medically certified that chia seeds inadvertently reduce hunger, and in the process, aid weight loss. The theory behind this is that when eaten, they expand the stomach, giving it a feeling of fullness. This triggers the brain to eat less and the whole process propagates clearing the fat pile-up in the body. Chia seeds are practically unprocessed whole grains that are easily absorbed in the body. Its nutty flavor and mild texture greatly enhance the solubility of the seeds in various foods and beverages. The most common way of using chia seeds is by sprinkling them over cereals, sauces, curries, and rice or by blending them with liquids such as beverages. Chia seeds transform into a gel consistency when directly mixed with water. Hence, they thicken whatever they are added to.
Why eat chia seeds?
There are more than a few reasons why you should include these wonder seeds in your diet. Let’s see some of them.
The power of fibre!
Fiber plays a huge role in making your digestive system strong. It helps in keeping your gut clean. Chia seeds are power-packed with fibre. Considering the US dietary guidelines for the required daily intake, the 10 grams of fibre in one ounce of chia seeds is a massive source of natural daily fibre. Chia seeds are loaded with soluble fiber which eases bowel movement tremendously. This benefit of chia seeds is something that cannot be ignored. It is often recommended by doctors to patients suffering from constipation.
Packed with Protein
They are full of quality protein. As many strictly follow a vegetarian diet, especially during certain festivals, these healthy kernels come to our rescue by providing good quality plant-based protein that’s easily digestible. Not just for adults, these form a good source of protein for children as well.
Full of anti-oxidants, micro-nutrients, and minerals
Chia seeds contain essential minerals such as magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and yes, anti-oxidants. Chia seeds are known for providing nutrients to combat multiple adverse medical conditions such as heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension, and so on. They help to keep us fit and fine and give a generous boost to our metabolism.
With a nod from your doctor, you can include these seeds in your diet as it has added health benefits which will help you during pregnancy and post-pregnancy.
An absolutely yay reason for weight watchers to include these kernels in their diet. Chia seeds are insistently known for their weight loss properties. Their fibre content and the high levels of good fatty acids reduce weight significantly. They digest slowly when consumed and this reduces the urge to eat.
However, there are some things to take into consideration while consuming these seeds.
How to consume?
Be careful when consuming chia seeds. Chia seeds soak up water and can expand in one’s esophagus (throat). Take care to ensure that you don’t eat dry chia seeds. Either mix them in water or cook them.
Doctor’s advice: If you are on a medicated or prescribed diet it is always better to consult your doctor before adding chia kernels to your diet. This goes for adding these seeds to your children’s food too.
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