Chia seeds health benefits

Chia plant, scientifically known as salvia hispanica, is an important species of flowering plants. Chia is a sage plant from mint family, which is primarily cultivated for its seeds because of the many uses ranging from the kitchen to pharmaceutics. It was first cultivated by Aztecs and used as compliment by the people to their rulers, and amazingly is still grown in Mexico for its versatile health benefits. Some of the multifaceted health benefits of chia seeds are discussed below.

Chia seeds contain some 20% protein, 30% oil and 25% dietary fibres which can be eaten as raw or in prepared dishes. Raw chia seeds are full of dietary fibres that increase the water content in the intestines, which eventually eases defecation. Chia seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fibres. The seeds are coated with soluble fibres while the exterior of the seeds contain the insoluble fibres. Soluble fibres are required for gelling action to keep the colon hydrated and the insoluble fibres are required for the bulk movement of undigested materials through the colon. In this way, chia seed prevent diverticulitis, which is an inflammatory colon disease that occurs due to inappropriate movement of food materials through the colon.

Chia seeds yield 25-30% extractable oil which contains mainly alpha linolenic acids, thus are highly rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly beneficial for the reduction of triglycerides and upsurge of high density lipoprotein – which effectively gives Chia seeds the ability to reduce high blood pressure. Scientific research papers published in The Journal of Neuroscience in the March 2005 edition, has also established omega-3 fatty acids being responsible for decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, giving more credentials to the medical benefits of chia seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing the accumulation of protein body.

Nowadays chia seeds are considered as a very rich source of dietary supplements, containing lots of nutrients along with the essential dietary fibers. Chia seeds help the body maintaining the optimum level of fluid and electrolytes. The seeds also help in reducing body weight by preventing the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. In additions, Chia seeds contain magnesium and boron which aid the absorption of calcium. In this way, the seeds help in maintaining the bone mass by retaining calcium level – staggeringly containing more calcium than that of milk. Chia seeds also contain two times the amount of potassium than banana.

Chia seeds are very good sources of antioxidants. The seeds contain myricetin, quercetin, caffeic and cholinergic acids, kaemferol flavonols. The antioxidants in chia seeds help prevent pre-matured aging by protecting the body from free radical damage. Free radicals can cause inflammation of different organs and pre-matured destruction of skin. The antioxidants in chia seeds not only prevent the pre-matured ageing but also can improve the shelf-life of the seeds. Chia seeds can be kept fresh in room temperature for whole two years without use of any preservatives.

Chia seeds contain 20% protein which is a good source of energy. Taking chia seeds regularly can provide a considerable amount of energy which can prevent day time tiredness. The combination of protein, minerals and vitamins and blood-sugar levelling gel in chia seeds are good source of energy for health. Taking chia seeds is beneficial for health as the level of energy never falls due to the gelling action of the seeds.

Food scientists are still in search of other beneficial health effects of chia seeds. But the health benefits of chia seeds so far have increased its acceptance worldwide, and is already been touted as a major source of essential nutrients for the body.

Last updated on Sep 11th, 2010 and filed under Healthy Eating. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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