Health Benefits of Chia Seeds  - NOURISH Cooking Co.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds 

Chia seeds may be tiny, but they’re super-rich in nutrients. A staple in the ancient Mayan & Aztec diets, these miraculous seeds have been consumed for their health properties over hundreds of years.

Boasting antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, minerals & fiber, scientific studies have shown that these versatile white or black chia seeds can improve blood sugar balance, boost strong bones, & promote heart health [1]

What Could be Better?

Did You Know?

Chia Seeds in Spoons

If you add just 2 tablespoons (1 once/28 grams) of chia seeds to a meal (such as your breakfast cereal), you will get 138 calories, plus a very impressive nutritional profile comprising:

  • 4.7 grams of protein
  • 8.7 grams of fat
  • 5 grams of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
  • 11.9 grams of carbohydrates
  • 9.8 grams of fiber
  • 14% of the Daily Value (DV) of calcium
  • 12% of the DV of iron
  • 23% of the DV of magnesium
  • 20% of the DV of phosphorus
  • 12% of the DV of zinc
  • 15% of the DV of vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • 16% of the DV of vitamin B3 (niacin): [1].

Note: The Daily Value (DV) is a reference amount (expressed in grams, milligrams, or micrograms) of nutrients to consume each day. The percentage (%) of the DV indicates how much a nutrient in a serving of a food contributes to a total daily diet.

Boosting Your Daily Fiber

Chia Seeds Plant Flower

“A diet with adequate fiber helps prevent constipation & keeps the digestive tract healthy, but many Americans do not eat enough” [2]

Adding chia seeds to your menu, is a smart way to achieve your optimum level of dietary fiber. As 2.5 tablespoons of chia provides close to 10 grams of fiber, it goes a long way toward meeting the daily recommendation of 25–30 grams (for an adult) [2].

Keeping Your Weight in Check

Besides revving up our digestive health, fiber can also help us feel fuller for longer, thus playing an important role in helping us achieve and sustain a moderate weight [2].

Helps Increase Good (HDL) Cholesterol

“A 2021 review of 10 clinical trials found that chia seeds raised high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol & lowered low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol, while LDL is known as “bad” cholesterol. The authors concluded that chia seeds have a protective effect on lipid balance in the blood” [2].

Helps Reduce Blood Sugar Spikes

One study determined that: compared to flaxseeds, chia seeds slow down how quickly the body releases glucose. This in turn decreases the blood sugar spike that we get after we consume carbohydrates [2].

High in Omega-3 & Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are also an incredible source of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that helps to promote a lower omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio — a lower ratio is associated with reduced risks of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, & inflammatory conditions” [3]

Chia seeds provide 6.72 grams of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) per serving, and this incorporates Omega-3 and Omega-6. A 2020 review of 86 clinical trials determined that consuming more Omega-3 could decrease the risk of heart attacks and their associated risk elements. This potentially infers that chia seeds are an excellent addition to a heart-healthy menu [2].

The Many Culinary Applications of Chia Seeds

There are all kinds of things you can do with these marvellous seeds. These include:

  • Creating a delicious chia pudding by mixing the seeds with fruit juice or vegan milk, and topping it off with fresh fruit or cacao nibs
  • Making an egg re-placer to use in baked goods such as bread and cakes
  • Producing a chia gel to add to home-made smoothies and soups
  • Adding the seeds to muffin batter
  • Sprinkling the seeds on to a salad or yogurt
  • Revving up your breakfast oats or cereal by adding 1 or 2 tablespoons
  • Soaking them to generate super healthy chia sprouts
  • Mixing the seeds with spices and almond flour to make breading for a special vegan dish [3].

Give it a Whirl: Strawberry Chia Pudding

Strawberry Shake Chia Seeds Pudding

Take your blender, and mix the following ingredients to make a delicious, super-healthy desert, which is bumper-packed with fab ingredients, and zero nasties!

Ingredients

  • Frozen strawberries (1 to 1.5 cups)
  • Chia seeds (3 tablespoons)
  • Coconut nectar or maple syrup (1 tablespoon)
  • Lemon juice, freshly squeezed if possible (1 teaspoon)
  • Vegan Milk (1.5 cups)
  • A dash of salt

Instructions

An hour or so before you plan to eat, chill the Strawberry Chia Pudding mixture in your refrigerator. When you take it out, sprinkle a few cacao nibs on top.

Cooking Tip

Soak chia seeds in a liquid to change the seeds into a gel-like substance. The latter is terrific for thickening sumptuous vegan desserts, such as chia seed pudding.

Chia Seed Egg Substitute

Chia seeds are a perfect vegan egg substitute for baking. Mix 1 tablespoon of whole chia seeds (or 2 tablespoons of ground chia seeds), with 3 tablespoons of water. Let them sit for a few minutes. Once the mixture has transformed into a gel, use it to substitute 1 egg [2]. If your recipe calls for more than one egg, just modify the ingredients.

Storing Your Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are now becoming more popular than ever, as people hear about celebrities and health writers extolling their virtues. Whole chia seeds can be found online, and in bulk food stores, supermarkets, and grocery shops.

Once you get them, you should store them in a dark, cool place; and if you grind the whole seeds, as soon as they are done, simply place them in a storage container or airtight bag and keep them in your refrigerator or pantry [3].

Sources

[1]. Gunnars, K. & Streit, L. (2022). “7 Enticing Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.”
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds


[2]. Kandola, A. (2021). “What Are the Benefits and Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds?” Medical News Today.
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/291334

[3]. Brennan, D. (2020). “Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.” Nourish by WebMD.
https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chia-seeds

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