Chia seeds are very tiny but they are abundantly packed with nutritional benefits which can promote and sustain optimal health. The two important properties of these seeds are: they contain high quality fiber and support deep hydration. These qualities allow chia seeds to improve and maintain our inner strength and vitality. These seeds are rich in protein, fiber, omega-3 fats to boost up metabolism, suppress the appetite and turn on glucagon the big fat burning hormone.
Chia supports deep hydration. Adequate intake of suitable raw materials and the cultivation of proper internal intelligence allow us to experience appropriate hydration. Our bodies need deep hydration at the level of our organs and nervous system. The materials that are needed for hydration are water at the correct temperature, derived from the right source. From ayurvedic perspective drinking water that is somewhere between room temperature and hot is much better for the body and for optimum health.
Chia seeds contain all the essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, manganese and iron. If you eat food having chia seeds you get your daily dose of calcium which is necessary for your bones and teeth. There is iron which is essential to keep your blood oxygenated. You can also get the benefit of Niacin which helps your body to convert food to usable energy and keeps your skin and nerves healthy. You consume trace amounts of manganese, potassium, and vitamin-A, vitamin B-12, thiamin and folate with each serving.
- Add a spoonful of chia seeds to a glass of water and leave it for half an hour for it to become a kind of glutinous solution or kind of a gel which is really good for your digestive system. It provides high amount of fiber as well as this action of forming like a gel moves through your body and cleans up as it goes. This gel forming action is due to the soluble fiber in chia seeds. The flavour is mild and almost non-existent. Combined with any liquid such as water, juice etc they start to form like gel. If you eat them plain the gelling process starts in your mouth itself. So they are better mixed in food items like smoothies, cookies, oat meal etc.
- This same gel forming exercise takes place in stomach when chia seed is consumed; this creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes and slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
- Slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar helps with endurance and metabolic rates which is beneficial for athletes. This way these seeds are known to boosts energy levels and increase stamina. The reason why most athletes especially runners prefer to have them in their diet.
- Eating chia seeds regularly can help control inflammation which is becoming increasingly a curative factor in many degenerative diseases.
- For weight loss chia seeds are an appetite suppressant and chia gel may be used to replace food within recipes. Having a meal with chia gel helps lesson the food consumed.
- Chia seed is the richest plant source of omega-3 oil which is important in heart and cholesterol health. By weight chia contains more omega-3 oils than salmon.
- Chia seeds are extremely high in anti-oxidants. These anti-oxidants help rid of free radicals from our body which have been linked to heart disease and cancer.
- Chia seeds are excellent for cardiovascular health. They decrease abnormal heart rhythms and lower triglyceride levels.
- They are good source of plant-based protein which is an essential micro-nutrient needed for many functions in the body such as muscle building.
- To keep up with general health one can have a spoonful of seeds daily. This will take care of the daily requirement of nutrition. They can be garnished on salads and can be sprinkled in soups. They work well in smoothies and chia seeds soaked in milk and added with honey can make a great pudding.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna