Chia Seeds

Chia Seeds

health benefits infographic

At this day and age where stress and pollution are increasing in every part of the world, people are becoming more conscious about the things that they put in their bodies – from the food that they eat to the products that they apply to their skins. People now give great attention to the components found in almost everything they buy. The lesser the chemicals, preservatives, and artificial flavours, the better. In terms of food, Chia is fast-becoming popular for the many health benefits it offers.

Chia seeds were first used by the Aztecs and Indians as the most essential part of their diet as it gives them the energy and endurance they need in their daily lives. Chia served as their super food which gives them all the strength they need while hunting for food and travelling on foot, and trying to survive weather conditions. They would run all day, trying to catch their prey bringing only some Chia seeds and their hunting spears. This is why it is also known as “running food.”

Documentation by a plant explorer named Edward Palmer in 1871 describes how these seeds were used by the people: “In preparing Chia for use the seeds are roasted and ground, and the addition of water makes a mucilaginous mass several times the original bulk, sugar to taste is added, and the result is the much prized semi-fluid pinole of Indians and others – to me one of the best and most nutritive foods while traveling over the deserts.”

 Then the Spanish conquerors arrived in South America under the leadership of Hernando Cortez. They destroyed almost everything that made up the culture of the natives including the Chia fields. From then on anyone seen to have Chia seeds in their possession was punished or fined. However, some seeds were brought to Spain which caused the mistaken belief that it was native to that country.

Chia remained basically unknown to the world, with only the South American and American Indians growing and eating them, until the 80’s when a number of health-conscious groups that emerged learned about it. In 1991, production in Argentina started.

Today, as with everything due to the internet, information about and the use of Chia seeds are fast spreading in many if not all countries.

The seed was named as such, from the Mayan word “chian” meaning “oily,” because of its abundant Omega-3 oil content. This component is known to help against heart disease and reduce inflammation and pain. It enhances oxygen metabolism, and lowers blood viscosity or thickness as well.

Quercetin is another beneficial component found in the super food.  Untrained but active people are the major beneficiaries of this. A study made by the researchers from the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health found out that this compound greatly boosts endurance and maximal oxygen capacity in healthy and active but untrained persons. In other words, they concluded that quercetin maybe important in fighting fatigue which causes people to become more inactive in exercising.

In addition to that, it also contains protein, complete with all the amino acids needed namely Tryptophan, Threonine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine+Cystine, Phenylalanine+Tyrosine, Valine, and Histidine. All these amino acids are important that they are complete in the body for the proper building of muscle tissue, growth, maintenance, repairing of cells, and the production of enzymes, hormones and DNA, which all support efficient energy use. If one or some of these are missing, which is most often the case in people, protein in the body is of poor quality. This is a common problem for the athletes as when their fats and carbohydrates are already used up, their body then utilizes protein for the energy. Therefore their body now contains less amino acids affecting the metabolic functions. Chia is now one alternative for these athletes to keep them well nourished.

Since the seed has the ability to give the body more than enough energy, more calories are burned in the process thus supporting weight loss at the same time.

People in need of iron can benefit as well. This mineral is known to boost physical performance, improve immunity, concentration, and sleep.

Calcium, another important electrolyte for a healthy cardiovascular system aside from keeping bones and teeth healthy is included in the list. One tablespoon of Chia seeds actually contains more calcium than a glass of milk. Protection from colon cancer, stabilized hormones, are the other benefits the body gets from this mineral.

Moreover, magnesium which is known as the “anti-stress mineral” is richly found here. This can be helpful for people recovering from stroke or a heart attack as it helps maintain healthy overall muscles and reduces muscle spasms.

The list does not end there: Potassium, zinc, sodium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus are inside these small seeds, too. With all these minerals people can expect great improvement with their bodies’ performance in day to day activities.

For proper absorption and utilization of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese, the body needs boron and this is conveniently found in Chia, too.

Aside from all the nutrients mentioned, Chia seeds have properties or characteristics that prove to be beneficial to the human body as well. First is its natural antioxidant property which is the reason why these seeds need no preservatives for longer storage. Unlike nuts and other grains, Chia seeds can be stored for years – without preservatives. It can even be mixed with water for a couple of days and still stay fresh as long as it is kept in the fridge.

Not only is it antioxidant on its own. It also increases antioxidant activity inside the body therefore slowing down the person’s ageing process.

Its hydrophilic property on the other hand – meaning it can hold water more than 12 times its own weight – prolongs hydration and the life of electrolytes in the body fluids thus longer cell life.

Bowel movement is also improved with the intake of Chia since it serves as a nutritious dietary fibre. It cleans the intestinal walls without affecting proper absorption of minerals during digestion. This fast effect has been testified by a lot of people already after just a few days of including Chia seeds in their meals.

Last but not the least Chia seeds increase natural estrogen levels. This is good news for women in menopause as this means that they will have a more youthful appearance with their smoother skin, sharper mind with a lower risk for having Alzheimer’s disease, stronger bones, and improved sexual health.

People who have yet to try this running food may not worry about taking in any chemicals harmful to the body as it does not need any pesticides when growing. The amount of oil it contains is enough to serve as its natural insect repellent.

It is also inexpensive – very affordable considering the many benefits contained which is why more and more people are beginning to include this in their food to buy.

And unlike other regular food also rich in benefits which people had to tolerate for their bitter and sour taste, chia seeds do not have any taste. Therefore you can add it to any food or drink that you are taking. It can serve as an extender to your meal without tasting a change in your delicious viand.

Furthermore, there are no accounts of allergic reaction to eating Chia seeds. This may be a good alternative for those who experience itchiness, dermatitis, diarrhea , or other digestive problems from eating other sources of omega-3 such as flaxseed and marine products.

Given the energy a person can get from eating Chia seeds plus the other favourable properties it has, this is perhaps the best food in the world right now.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *