The Strength in Chia
When everyone started adding chia seeds to their water, topping their yoghurt with them, or blending them through smoothies, most people thought they were just a part of the latest craze. But the truth is, the tiny seeds could be sticking around for a very long time- not only are they one of the new health fads, but they’re every bit as good as we’re told.
Chia, the ancient Mayan word for ‘strength’, was the name given to the tiny seed after ancient South American civilisations recognised the sustained energy provided by them. Chia seeds are smaller than flax seeds, but pack just as much punch - unlike their larger counterpart, they do not need to be ground before consumption, and contain a complete protein, so are great for vegetarians. The nutritional value of chia seeds is recognisably higher than flax, however each have antioxidants not available in the other so would be healthy to maintain a diet of both.
Although on first look, you may be scared off by the carb-count in chia seeds, you shouldn’t be. In one tablespoon of chia seeds, 11 out of the 12 grams of carbohydrates are made up of fibre- which is not digested by the body, meaning that it doesn’t require insulin to assist with digestion, and has a high water absorption level. This means that, when they do reach your stomach, chia seeds will absorb water, expanding and giving you a feeling of fullness. This, as well as the high protein content, makes them great for weight loss and for feeding the friendly bacteria in the intestine.
Omega-3 to keep you fancy-free
The high omega-3 fatty acids content in chia seeds leads to maintained brain health, keeping you alert and concentrating on the day ahead. However, it is clear that plant-based omega-3 is not as beneficial as its animal-based counterpart, so it’s important to keep up a feast of fish with your health smoothies. Whatever the case, a few tablespoons of these will keep you alert and active - it is not recommended to eat them of a night, as you could very well be up all night!
Strengthening your skeleton
Two tablespoons of chia seeds also stock 18% of your recommended daily calcium intake, and 30% of your daily intake of manganese - which both work wonders for the health of your bones and teeth. The high phosphorous intake assists with bone health as well, while also helping cells and tissues in your body to repair.
Happy start to a healthy heart
Your heart health is suggested to improve by adding chia seeds to your daily diet, as studies have shown they improve the blood pressure of diabetics and possibly increase healthy cholesterol while lowering the bad stuff.
The best part about chia seeds is that they’re easy to incorporate into any diet - they’re tasteless, so can be added to any flavour dish - people use them in replacement of oats or stirred through yoghurt for breakfast, used as a supplement for risotto, and obviously also popularly blended into smoothies. So whether you are keen to exercise or just keen to feel healthier, why not try incorporating these tiny seeds to feel a huge difference?