Chia seeds are among the most popular superfoods nowadays. This is not surprising, because they contain a large amount of calcium, potassium and iron. These seeds are also rich in omega-3s, essential acids, antioxidants, protein and fiber.
Benefits of chia seeds
The vitamins and minerals in the seeds support health and even help fight some diseases.
Relieve pain on critical days
Chia is useful to use on critical days – the high content of omega fats relieves pain during menstruation. Fats and proteins even out the hormonal background, facilitate the period of menopause.
Moisturize and nourish hair and skin
Seeds are widely used in cosmetology due to the high content of vitamins: they are added to hair and skin masks, shampoos, and creams. Such cosmetics moisturize the hair, rejuvenates the skin.
Improve men’s health
In men, the hormonal background also levels out, the endocrine system works better. Omega-3 helps to solve problems with potency, opposes the development of prostate adenoma.
Help to lose weight
Chia is high in insoluble fiber, which fills you up quickly. Therefore, seeds can replace more high-calorie dishes. Fiber facilitates the work of the intestines, cleans out harmful substances, and forms a healthy microflora. This speeds up metabolism and improves digestion.
Chia, reacting with substances in the stomach, absorbs liquid, the volume of which can be 12 times the weight of the seeds themselves. Therefore, it seems that the stomach is already full, and you don’t feel like eating anymore, the desire to have a bite disappears.
The result does not come immediately, you need to constantly adhere to the diet, supplementing it with chia seeds, but the effect of losing weight will last for a long time. It is also better to consult a nutritionist before introducing chia into the diet so that the product does not harm.
The main composition of fats in seeds is polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3, omega-6. In total, 100 g of seeds contain 3-4 daily norms. The protein content in chia is higher than in any other cereals. Vegans and vegetarians use the seeds as a substitute for meat. When losing weight, it is permissible to consume 1-2 tablespoons of chia per day.
There are 7.7 mg of iron per 100 g of chia. With daily consumption of seeds in food, hemoglobin levels can be brought to a healthy level. This point is also important to take into account when studying how chia seeds are useful for women: most pregnant women have low hemoglobin, since its intake by the body is many times higher than the intake of iron in the body.
General strengthening of the body
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are important for the whole body. Omega-3 prevents inflammation, strengthens the walls of blood vessels, restores hormonal levels, and improves vision.
Strengthen teeth and bones
Chia seeds contain 631 mg of calcium per 100 g. Therefore, the product is recommended for people with problems with the musculoskeletal system and problems with teeth.
Thanks to its high phosphorus content, chia improves memory and helps fight Alzheimer’s disease.
Gives a burst of energy
The potassium and protein in chia provide a burst of energy, which improves brain function and increases the level of attention.
Help fight diabetes
The seeds help to maintain an even level of glucose and insulin in the blood. Chia can replace cereals in the diet of a diabetic. If you follow a low-carb diet for a long time and take chia seeds, you can achieve several results:
- make the blood more liquid, prevent the development of blood clots;
- normalize appetite;
- bring the body weight back to normal;
- prevent the development of diseases that provoke diabetes;
- increase efficiency and activity.
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Can Chia seeds be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
You can use chia seeds in your diet during pregnancy, but be careful. Whatever the benefits, pregnant women are responsible not only for themselves, but also for the health of the fetus. Do not exceed the daily allowance – one tablespoon. In small amounts, chia can bring positive effects to a woman and a child:
- enrichment of the body with vitamins and minerals, which are constantly lacking during pregnancy;
- phosphorus and zinc support health and strengthen the immune system;
- calcium helps to properly form the baby’s bone tissue;
- omega-3 fatty acids are important for the development of the nervous system and the formation of fetal intelligence.
In general, the seeds replenish the supply of valuable elements in the body of the baby and his mother. So that the harm of chia seeds does not outweigh their benefits, it is better to consult a doctor before introducing this product into the diet.
During lactation, chia should also be consumed in moderation and two months after the start of breastfeeding. First you need to try a teaspoon of seeds and see how the child reacts. If an allergy has not appeared, you can eat chia, increasing the amount over time (gradually bring it to two tablespoons). You need to drink chia with non-carbonated pure water, it contributes to the rapid absorption of seeds. Due to this, breast milk will be more actively produced.
It is not necessary to eat the seeds in their pure form. You can add them to porridge, smoothies, juices, yogurts, salads. If you grind chia, you get flour for making desserts.
Can children have chia?
Protein, fats, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals are important for the child’s body:
- phosphorus strengthens the child’s nervous system;
- potassium is needed for the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system;
- zinc strengthens the immune system;
- copper is needed for the proper functioning of the endocrine system;
- fiber allows you to stay full for a long time, avoid obesity;
- iron and magnesium counteract iron deficiency anemia (it is often found in children who prefer the computer to walks).
Chia seeds are an indigestible product, so the dosage for children should be minimal. It is better to add seeds to salads, cereals and sandwiches. Consult your doctor before taking seeds!
Harms and possible contraindications
Advertisements tell what the benefits of chia seeds are for the human body, but are silent about the negative aspects of the promoted products, so you should not assume that chia is a magic panacea that can be used in unlimited quantities in any convenient situation. The seeds also have contraindications:
- Chia should not be consumed if there are kidney problems. Or you need to consult a doctor first.
- It is not recommended to use seeds in the diet for people with low blood pressure – they can lower it even more.
- Chia should not be used by people who are allergic to sesame seeds.
While taking aspirin or drugs that reduce blood clotting, chia seeds are contraindicated.
It is also worth considering that a large amount of chia in the diet increases gas formation in the intestines. If there is a tendency towards a problem, it is best to avoid this product.
How to use chia seeds?
The daily rate should not exceed two tablespoons. For pregnant women, it is recommended to limit consumption to one tablespoon. The maximum daily serving for children is one teaspoon. When used dry, be sure to monitor the amount of water drunk during the day.
Chia for breakfast
It’s easy to make breakfast even healthier by adding chia to oatmeal, yogurt, cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, or sandwiches.
To prepare a pudding, pour 50 g of chia with a glass of coconut milk (you can replace it with any other vegetable milk or even cow’s milk, if there is no intolerance), add half a teaspoon of honey. Mix well and refrigerate overnight. When the pudding is ready, it doesn’t spill and the seeds are like jelly. You can add fruits and berries for more flavor.
Add chia to ordinary muffins, and they will already be a little healthier. Mix half a glass of flour, half a teaspoon of soda, the same amount of salt, a tablespoon of chia and the same amount of sugar, and a pinch of vanilla. Mix everything well. Add a teaspoon of lemon zest, two egg whites, two teaspoons of lemon juice. Once again, mix everything well and add 100 g of blueberries, you can use jam. Pour the dough into cupcake molds, put in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for 20 minutes.
The beneficial properties of chia are not lost when heated, as the seeds are covered with a dense shell.
Smoothies are suitable for those who do not like the texture of chia. Get an energy drink with lots of vitamin C and fiber. To prepare, mix one glass of your favorite berries with 100 ml of water and pomegranate juice, add a teaspoon of chia. Whisk everything in a blender.
What can replace superfoods?
Flax seeds have a similar composition and enveloping effect. They are also beneficial for the body and even benefit from the content of some vitamins and minerals. The difference lies in the more pronounced and specific taste of flax, which, according to consumer reviews, is not to everyone’s taste. Flax seeds are larger and tougher, and can injure the mucous membranes of the mouth and gums. Chia has a stronger protective and enveloping effect on the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract.
Bran has a similar effect in terms of enriching food with plant fibers, their price is much lower, but chia seeds contain twice as much fiber. They also increase in volume more. Chia serves as a substitute for bran in case of intolerance.
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