Chia seeds –the nutritional atom bomb

This superfood, sadly and surprisingly, not popular among us, is sure to hit the news in the near future because of its never-ending health benefits and powerful medicinal value.Did you know, just a single teaspoon of Chia seed per day is more than adequate, to keep you free from any mineral deficiency? Come on health lovers, let us explore this nutritional powerhouse to its fullest.

Grown first by the Aztecs, in the pre-Columbian era,the origin of the word “chia” traces back to a Nahuatl(an Aztec language) word Chiapan which means “river of chia”, and later from an Aztec word Chian which means “oily”.  They come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows in southern Mexico.Known as Sabja  in hindi and tamil and Avisa ginjalu in telugu ,it is a very tiny seed with neutral flavor

Chia comes in two main types, white chia and black chia. Typically, black chia is the more commonly produced variety. There is not much nutritional difference between these two varieties of chia seeds.
There are many reasons as to why chia seeds are said to be superfoods. Chia seeds are rich in minerals like Calcium,Phosphorous,potassium,,zinc copper and manganese.Chia seeds are very low in cholesterol and sodium which makes them good for health. They are a rich source of proteins, complex carbohydrates and  essential fats. They are high in antioxidants such as myrecetin, quercetin, kaemferol, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and vitamin C, which strengthen the immune system and provide energy to the mind and body. Given below are details regarding what nutrients one ounce, or approximately 28 g of chia seeds will contain

(borrowed)
NutrientQuantity
              Total calories137 kcal
Calories from carbohydrate50 kcal
Calories from fat72.1 kcal
Calories from protein15.2 kcal
Total carbohydrates12.3 g
Protein4.4 g
Dietary fiber10.6 g
Total fat8.6 g
Saturated fat0.9 g
Monounsaturated fat0.6 g
Polyunsaturated fat6.5 g
Total Omega 3 fatty acids4915 mg
Total Omega 6 fatty acids1620 mg
Calcium177 mg
Phosphorus265 mg
Potassium44.8 mg
Sodium5.3 mg
Zinc1.0 mg
Copper0.1 mg
Manganese10.6 g
Cholesterol0.0 mg
Water1.4 g
Ash1.4 g
Health benefits

Chia seeds and heart: It helps to reduce blood pressure. Since Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids they lower the risk of many heart diseases.Their  high content in soluble and insoluble fibres helps in lowering cholesterol. Since they are a natural source of antioxidants, they act like brave soldiers protecting the heart.
Increase energy levels: Chia seeds form a gel by absorbing a lot of water(they absorb nine times their weight in water). This gel causes carbohydrates to be released slowly into the body, and the carbohydrates are slowly converted into glucose which is then used for energy.  Thus energy levels of  your body increases and you remain energized for a longer period of time.
Helps in curing Arthritis: Rich in Omega 3 and anti-inflammatory properties, Chia seeds can reduce swelling as well as acting as a lubricant for joints.
Chia seeds and anti aging:The richness of nutrients in chia seeds make you look more youthful.It  helps in the construction of tissue and muscle in your body.This anti-oxidant powerhouse help prevent free-radical damage which is the cause of premature aging and the inflammation of  various tissues in the body.Thus taking a tea spoon of chia  a day helps you stay younger.
Improves Digestion
The chia seed supports healthy colon activity while helping eliminate toxic wastes. Chia seeds have a fiber content of more than 36% and the remarkable ability to absorb ten times its weight in water, making it a wonderful way to stay hydrated. By hydrating the colon – it makes it easier for your digestive system to move food through the gut and be eliminated in a timely manner.
Insoluble fiber is found in the seed’s outer coating and works as an intestinal sweeper. The outside of the chia seed is covered with invisible tiny fibers standing on end, which trap the liquid to cause a layer of gel to form around the seed. The liquid is removed slowly by the digestive system, which keeps the colon hydrated while releasing the electrolytes and nutrients, keeping food moist is a way to prevent constipation and diverticulitis.
Reduces menopause symptoms:
The high level of Omega-3 fatty acids present in Chia seeds is a rich source of antioxidants which help to reduce the menopause symptoms such as weight gain, mood swings and fatigue.

Side effects of Chia Seeds:

Chia seeds must be consumed at normal dosage, if not its side effects may include
low blood pressure and low sugar levels. Minor side effects may include flatulence, allergy, and bloating. Chia seeds should be taken under proper medical guidance for the people suffering from cancer and blood pressure. Allergic reactions usually include watery eyes, diarrhea, and/or skin eruptions. Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms after consuming chia seeds.

However, if consumed at normal dosage, its side effects can be avoided, and one can exploit its benefits to its fullest.


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