You’ve probably seen chia seeds in recipes, the bread that you eat and even in the salads and smoothies of your favourite restaurant.
What is this buzz around the tiny black seeds, and are they actually beneficial? Well, we are here to answer those questions!
What benefits do chia seeds have?
Chia seeds are edible seeds procured from the Salvia hispanica plant—a flowering species native to Central America. Over the last few years, their health benefits have gripped the attention of nutritionists and dieticians across the world, including in India.
Let’s discuss some of them.
- Chia seeds are full of heart-friendly omega-3 fatty acids called alpha-linolenic acid. This plant-based acid improves blood circulation and also has anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that a regular intake reduces a blood marker for inflammation.
- They are also extremely protein-rich—28 grams contain 14% protein. So, for anyone looking for an upgrade in their protein intake, a simple smoothie or salad with chia seeds is a great choice.
- In addition to protein, these seeds are jam-packed with calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus—four nutrients that are absolutely vital to maintain bone health.
- Chia seeds can efficiently control post-meal blood sugars, converting the glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate. This makes the seeds an excellent addition in the diet for those battling diabetes.
- Sometimes our bodies experience an imbalance between the production of free radicals that damage cells and the body’s ability to battle their harmful effects. This is called oxidative stress. The antioxidant properties of chia seeds help the body combat this phenomenon.
- Just 28 grams of the Salvia hispanica seeds contains 11 grams of fibre. This fibre helps in good digestion and also maintains the gut bacteria that is linked to stronger immunity.
- Most of the fibre that they contain is soluble fibre which gives chia seeds the ability to absorb 12 times its weight in water. So a glass full of chia seed water will not only begin your day on a healthy note but will make you feel full for a long time!
- In addition to all these fantastic health benefits, about two teaspoons of the seeds contain only 101 calories. So anyone watching their calorie intake, this is your solution!
What is the best way to eat Chia seeds?
There are many excellent ways. Most of these foods and beverages don’t need you to change your dietary plans at all, which is even better.
If you start your day with a smoothie or a bowl of cereal, add some Salvia hispanica seeds to it. For those who love to have a salad for lunch, a sprinkle of the seeds is enough intake of proteins and nutrients. But you aren’t limited to these dishes. Curries, parathas, curd (or yoghurt), juices can all do with some chia seeds.
Remember, these seeds absorb a lot of water (or other fluids), so you may want to reduce the quantity of food or liquid you consume so you don’t feel like you’ve overeaten.
Is drinking chia seeds in water good for you?
As discussed above, chia seeds are an excellent source of proteins and heart-friendly acids. Add them to your breakfast routine, and you will soon see the benefits.
The best way to have chia seeds water is to soak about 2-3 teaspoons of it in one cup of water overnight. Leave it at room temperature, or you can refrigerate it too. The next day you’ll notice that the seeds have soaked the water and have a gel-like texture. You can have this directly or add it to your juice or smoothie.
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(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)