Chia seeds are produced by a unique flowering plant, which belongs to the mint family, is native to Guatemala and Mexico. In fact, history suggests that these seeds have been an important food in the Aztec & Mayan diets for many centuries now. Currently, chia seeds have drawn the interest of numerous individuals because of its many health benefits & uses in cooking.
Chia seeds are a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients. Plus they can be easily consumed in various ways including roasting & grinding them into a unique floor which is referred to as chianpinolli which is made into tamales, tortilla and beverages. Traditionally the roasted chia seeds were used as gruel which is referred to as Pinole.
Rich Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These small, white or black colored, oval shaped seeds are a very rich source of poly-unsaturated fatty acids especially the omega-3 fatty acids even more that the flax seeds. Their lipid profile is actually composed of more than 60% omega-3s, which makes them the best plant-based source of these unique fatty acids- ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) to be precise.
These seeds come packed with these fatty acids, which is almost 5 grams in an ounce of serving. These omega-3s can help lower inflammation while enhancing cognitive performance & reducing high cholesterol in your body. Research has shown that the conversion of chia’s omega-3s into food or plasma is way better than that of flax seeds.
Protects Healthy Cells From Damage
These seeds are rich in different types of antioxidants which help protect our body from aging, cancer and free radicals. This is actually the main reason why these seeds can stay very fresh for a really long time. Some of the antioxidant present in chia seeds include:
Studies have shown that this antioxidant can boost energy, fitness and endurance in healthy individuals. It can increase the energy supply into your muscle and brain cells. Quercetin can protect your body against various chronic illnesses like lung cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, asthma, type-2 diabetes and cerebrovascular disease among other illnesses.
b. Chlorogenic acid
This antioxidant has anti-cancer properties which helps prevent the growth of certain brain-tumors. This antioxidant can also reduce the amount of glucose being released into your blood stream after a meal. Chlorogenic acid also improves the flow of bile thus promoting the health of your gallbladder and liver while reducing cardiovascular risks.
c. Caffeic acid
This can be used as a component to help prevent various conditions including cardiovascular diseases, colitis, inflammation and certain cancers. Caffeic acid can also help improve your immune system.
Great Source of Fiber
These seeds are a great source of fiber. An ounce serving of these seeds contains about 11 grams of dietary fiber, which is approximately a third of the recommended fiber daily intake for adults. Fiber is actually associated with regulating bowel function, lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation in our bodies. These seeds can help improve your digestive system and compared to flax seeds, chia seeds have higher fiber content.
Compared to other nutritious seeds, Chia seeds are the best sources of fiber, antioxidant and plant-based omega-3 fatty acids available. These seeds have been consumed by some South American communities for centuries now and they are also the best source of minerals including iron, zinc, phosphorus, niacin, calcium and magnesium.