Its scientific name is Salvia hispanica L. and is distributed over large areas of the American continent. What we do know is the sheer number of benefits of chia that gives us its habitual consumption.
This article aims to give a review to the properties offered by this superfood of the XXI century, demystifying myths and attributing to chia what really belongs to it.
We talk about all the properties and benefits of chia, as objectively as possible.
Where do the seeds and benefits of chia come from?
Chia is a herbaceous plant that can be found grown in South America, especially in Mexico, where it is grown in large areas and consumed fresh in the form of a smoothie.
Although it has always been part of the eating habits of the Aztec and Mayan empires, it has been recently when the properties and benefits of chia for our body have been studied.
In fact, it has become very popular and is considered, due to its high content of fiber, vitamins and minerals, as a super food.
Due to its appearance, size and its zero flavor, it is a good additive in yogurts, porridges, salads and smoothies.
The benefits of chia they are given, to a large extent, by the distribution of their composition, generally by their high fiber content (with the advantages that this entails) and by their high nutritional contribution compared to other foods. This fiber content is also found high in nuts, such as pumpkin seeds.
We do not doubt its high nutritional value, which breaks several myths regarding the mineral and vitamin content of many foods (such as milk, banana, orange, etc.). ç
At the nutritional level, the properties of chia seeds provide us with the following benefits per 100 grams:
|Composition||Quantity||% recommended daily|
However, all its benefits do not end here, since we have something else to tell you about its mineral content, which also concentrates elements of importance and in remarkable concentrations.
Consumption of 100 grams of chia seeds.
|Mineral||Quantity (mg)||% recommended daily|
Its low sodium content is remarkable compared to the rest of the minerals. The consumption of 100 grams provides a significant amount of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and iron, important for stages where we suffer anemia or need an energy stimulus.
These values correspond to the following definitions, so you can check the actual value of the properties of chia seeds as a superfood
- They have more potassium than bananas
- Its protein concentration is twice as high as any current vegetable
- They contain 5 times more calcium than a dairy
- Triples the rate of antioxidants compared to a blueberry
- They have 3 times more iron than spinach (whose iron content has always been mythologized)
- Contains twice as much fiber as oats
As for vitamins, its high content of vitamins stands out. vitamin A, which causes the consumption of 10 grams to exceed by 4 times the minimum daily value of consumption.
It also highlights its high concentration of vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and vitamin C.
Properties and benefits of chia
Looking at the table of components and their nutritional value, we can find out the benefits of chia, rich in antioxidants, fiber and mineral elements.
1. Facilitates intestinal transit
One of the things that stands out the most in the chia seed is its high contribution of fiber. This compound is closely related to the regulation of intestinal transit.
Provide it in a common way in our diet, especially if we suffer from constipation, will improve the fluidity with which we go to the bathroom and perform bowel movements, reducing the feeling of discomfort and swelling.
Among all the benefits of chia, one of the best known and valued is the improvement of intestinal transit when we introduce it regularly into our diet along with other ingredients such as hemp seeds.
2. Depurative action
This high content of soluble fibers and mineral elements reduces the accumulation of liquids, so it increases the body’s ability to reduce levels of salt, toxins and toxic elements.
Therefore, we can say that the benefits of chia they also go through the depurative action of its seeds.
3. Healthy energy source
Those 100 grams of chia that we have discussed above represent the contribution of 483 kcal. A significant amount (almost 25% of the total calories recommended daily).
This, added to their content in vitamins, proteins and fibers, make them a high energy contribution and their consumption is recommended at breakfast, in order to face the rest of the day with force.
4. Increases muscle capacity
Those people dedicated to weightlifting, as a way of life or as a hobby, should increase the consumption of protein to promote an adequate muscle volume.
If we make a balance, 100 grams of chicken breast provide 31 grams of protein (a very high value). The same amount of chia seeds provide 16.5 grams (practically half), so it is a complementary source of rapid protein, along with these lean and white meats.
5. Benefits of Chia as a Source of Omega 3
The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends consuming an amount of Omega 3 between 500-1,000 milligrams per day. One of the most concentrated sources of Omega 3 fatty acid of vegetable origin comes from chia, so they come in handy as a nutritional contribution with all the benefits that this entails:
- Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Has anti-inflammatory effect
- Reduce the risk of thrombosis and cardiovascular problems
- Antioxidant and anti-aging
- Increases brain activity
Omega 3 can also be found in other types of seeds, such as flax fatty acids.
6. Increase hydration and water balance of the body
These seeds are able to store several times their weight in water. Once they are in the body and due to their character and composition, they are a store of water that releases it little by little along with fiber, proteins and fatty acids.
7. Chia helps you lose weight
Chia is a healthy alternative to snacks and products that are taken between meals. Due to its high fiber and protein content, a small amount along with the ability to hydrate, offer a great feeling of satiety with little amount.
Therefore, it is an effective alternative in healthy eating habits, helping to lose weight and eliminate saturated fats and bad cholesterol (LDL).
With this it is valued that the benefits of chia are multiplied, not only for its nutritional content but for replacing more fatty foods with cholesterol and less fiber in our diet.
8. Supplement that does not alter the taste of food
At the nutritional level, we have seen the properties based on its high concentration in fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals. The good thing, in addition, is that it can be added in a multitude of dishes and recipes without the problem of altering or harming the flavor of these foods.
Its flavor is totally neutral, so the only thing that will contribute to the dish will be the texture of its seeds, being especially indicated in recipes such as fruit and vegetable smoothies and others that we will see below.
Buy chia seeds
In specialized stores we can find different compositions of Chia seeds. The most normal thing is to find the seeds directly, untreated.
However, we also find other alternatives such as powder (for those who do not like the texture of the seeds) or even chia oil capsules.
To apply the benefits of chia, in order from left to right, chia powder, chia seeds and chia oil capsules. Which one convinces you the most?
How to take advantage of the benefits of chia?
The chia seeds they are easy to digest and give us many advantages.
Normally, the most common form of preparation is to mix them with water, absorbing up to 10 times their own weight.
The gel that is formed can be mixed with yogurts, smoothies or taken directly as a pudding. It hardly has flavor, so it does not alter it when we mix it with other foods.
Although we can find chia oil, the healthiest, for the conservation of vitamins and fatty acids, is to consume them naturally.
The benefits of chia they are numerous, as we have seen, but there may also be contraindications.
Possible interactions of this food have been investigated in certain people sensitive to allergies or with digestive problems. Let’s look at them carefully.
Among the most common problems due to the habitual consumption of chia (both seeds and oil), one of the most common is the digestive disorder.
Its consumption in significant quantities offer a high contribution of fiber, being able to reach original diarrheal problems, gas and intestinal inflammation.
Chia is a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have a direct effect on reduced blood pressure.
This is (very) positive for people suffering from high blood pressure, but not so much for those with low blood pressure, as it can interact with anticoagulant medications.
As for allergies, there have been isolated cases of problems related to hives, rashes or intestinal inflammation when eating chia seeds.
Do you know more benefits of chia?