Chia seeds, originating from Mexico, now grow in many South American regions. Most of the supply we see in America is from Ecuador. They are small seeds that come in black, brown, or white. Absolutely, genetics determines the color of chia seeds, and plants that produce white seeds carry a recessive gene that causes them to produce white flowers and white seeds. It should be noted that the dominant black chia gene is more common, which has led to most chia seeds being dark in color. As a result, white chia seeds are relatively rare and are often considered a specialty item. However, regarding nutritional value, there is no significant difference between white and black chia seeds.
They are considered a superfood obtained from a mint family flowering plant. When soaked in liquid, these dry seeds expand and become soft and gelatinous, with a mild, almost unnoticeable taste. Chia absorbs the liquid. Subsequently, it has found a use in the diet of horses that cannot run. Chia is excellent at absorbing the water sitting still in their stomach for easy digestion.
Chia seeds are versatile and can easily incorporate into various dishes, smoothies, baked goods, and cereals. With adequate amounts of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fats, they are a healthy addition to any diet, particularly for vegans and vegetarians that tend to purchase bulk chia seeds because they require additional sources of protein and healthy fats. Therefore, professionals like Dietitians recommend adding this food to diets to alleviate certain chronic conditions.
Why Dietitians Recommend Chia Seed In 2023
- Improved digestion: Chia seeds are high in fiber, promoting bowel regularity and preventing constipation.
- Weight loss: Because chia seeds are high in fiber and protein, they can help you feel full for longer and reduce your overall calorie intake, which may lead to weight loss.
- Lowered risk of heart disease: Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and improved cholesterol levels.
- Improved blood sugar control: Chia seeds may help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance, making them a good option for people with type 2 diabetes.
- Stronger bones: Chia seeds are a good source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.
- Reduced inflammation: Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and may lower the risk of chronic diseases.
- Improved brain function: Chia seeds contain essential nutrients that can help improve brain function and protect against age-related cognitive decline.
1. Improved digestion
Chia seeds’ soluble fiber feeds beneficial gut bacteria and supports bowel regularity, improving gut health, immunity, and brain function. Chia seeds become gelatinous when mixed with liquid, making them easy to tolerate for those with sensitive stomachs. Evidence also suggests that chia seeds can improve the tissue inside the GI tract, increasing nutrient absorption.
2. Weight Loss
Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber, which increases feelings of fullness and reduces overeating and calorie intake. When soaked in liquid, they expand, further promoting satiety. Additionally, chia seeds contain protein, which builds muscle, burns fat, and boosts energy, aiding in weight loss efforts.
3. Lowers Risk Of Heart Disease
Chia seeds’ fiber content reduces LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, reducing the risk of heart disease. Omega-3s in chia seeds also promote a healthy heart and may reduce blood pressure in those with hypertension.
4. Improved blood sugar control
The fiber in chia seeds stabilizes blood sugar levels, aiding in overall health and diabetes prevention. Pairing chia seeds with other foods create balanced meals that stabilize glucose spikes and promote better weight management, mood, hormone balance, and overall health.
5. Stronger bones
Chia seeds are a good source of calcium, which is vital for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Calcium is essential for various bodily functions, including muscle contraction, nerve function, and blood clotting. When the body does not get enough calcium from the diet, it may take calcium from the bones, weakening them over time and increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
Just 1 ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains about 18% of adults’ recommended daily calcium intake. This makes chia seeds a great addition to a balanced diet that includes other sources of calcium, such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified foods.
6. Reduced inflammation
Chia seeds have an ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, which possess anti-inflammatory properties. These fats help reduce inflammation in the body, which can cause conditions such as acne, ulcers, arthritis, and brain inflammation. The high fiber and protein content of chia seeds further support reducing inflammation.
7. Improved brain function
chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, linked to improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of certain neurological conditions. Additionally, some studies have suggested that the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids may help to alleviate allergies that reduce brain function.
Common Uses For Chia Seed
Chia seeds have many common uses in the kitchen, including:
- Smoothies: Add chia seeds to smoothies for a nutritional boost and to help thicken the texture.
- Chia pudding: When soaked in liquid, chia seeds absorb the liquid and create a gel-like texture, which is perfect for making chia pudding.
- Baked goods: Chia seeds have a use as an egg substitute in baking recipes. Mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let it sit for a few minutes to create a gel that can replace one egg in recipes.
- Salad toppings: Sprinkle chia seeds on salads for extra crunch and nutrition. Absolutely, professionals that recommend to add chia seeds to their diets, they will usually ask for you to eat more salads.
- Oatmeal: Mix chia seeds into your morning oatmeal to boost fiber and protein.
- Energy bars: Add pre-soaked Chia seeds to homemade energy bars for a nutritious and satisfying snack.
- Beverages: You can add pre-soaked chia seeds to water or juice to create a refreshing and hydrating drink called ‘Chia Fresca‘.
- Meat substitute: Chia seeds can be a binding agent in vegetarian or vegan meat substitutes.