Chia seeds: 10 reasons to add them to your diet
The healthiest of health kicks
Chia seeds are a food native to South America and something that has been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries.
The chia seed comes from a flowering plant in the mint family that's native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests it was a very important food crop for the Aztecs. It became well known in North America when researcher Wayne Coates began studying chia as an alternative crop for farmers in Argentina around 29 years ago.
Today, the tiny gluten-free seed has drawn the interest of many people for their assortment of health benefits and uses in cooking. Take a look below at ten of its astonishing advantages...
1. They combat diabetes
Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down ones digestion. The gelatinous coating chia seeds develops when exposed to liquids-can also prevent blood sugar spikes.
2. They provide you with fibre
Just a 28-gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fibre — about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults. Adding some chia to your diet is an easy way to make sure you're getting a good amount of fibre, from sprinkling them onto your porridge to blending the seeds into a smoothie.
3. They are rich in Omega-3
Chia seeds are full with omega-3 fatty acids, with nearly five grams in a one-ounce serving. These fats are very important for brain health. "There's better conversion of omega 3s into the plasma or into the food than with flax seed," states researcher Wayne Coates.
4. They give you stronger teeth and bones
A serving of chia seeds has 18 per cent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which helps maintain bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.
5. They pack in the protein
Chia seeds make a great source of protein for vegetarians and don't have any cholesterol. One 28-gram serving of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 per cent of the daily recommended intake.
6. They fight belly fat
Chia's stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to the increase in belly fat.
7. They keep you full
Satiety is the feeling of being full and satisfied, an element that the chia seed has — helping lower food cravings between meals. The combination of protein, fibre and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to keeping you full.
8. They improve heart health
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol.
9. They provide plenty of phosphorus
With 27 per cent of your daily value for phosphorus, chia seeds also help you maintain healthy bones and teeth.
10.They can substitute butter and oil
If you enjoy making baked goods, but don't like using masses of butter and oil, chia gel is the answer. All you need to do is divide the amount of butter or oil in half, and then use the same amount of chia gel to fill in for the rest of the recipe. The anti-oxidants in chia can even help the food taste fresher for longer.
Buro 24/7 Middle East recommends incorporating chia seeds into the most important meal of the day – breakfast. Follow the simple steps below and get the glow...
1 mason jar or similar
Handful of chia seeds
2 spoonfuls of Greek yoghurt or similar
1 drizzle of organic honey
Handful of fresh Blueberries or similar
1 splash of fresh OJ or similar
Place your chia seeds in your mason jar, add the 2 spoonfuls of Greek yogurt, drizzle of honey, handful of your chosen fresh fruit and a splash of OJ, mix everything together. Seal jar with lid, place in fridge overnight. In the morning the chia seeds will have soaked up all of the moisture to resemble a porridge-like texture. Many variations of this recipe can be explored – try organic dark chocolate and a shot of espresso, coconut, and even savoury ideas. Enjoy!