Hands up if you like chia seeds!
Chia seeds have become one of the most popular ‘super foods’ of the 21st century. The fact their popular almost puts me off them, I’m much more comfortable swimming against the tide. But…nevertheless…the wealth of benefits are too irresistible to me.
Chia literally translates to strength. These tiny little seeds originate from Mexico, where they were used as currency (believe it or not) as they were famed for their medicinal properties. If only I could use them as currency now, I’d be a millionaire!!! 🤣
It’s reported that Aztec warriors regularly ate chia seeds to give them energy and endurance. Apparently 1tsp gave them elevated energy levels for 24 hours!! That’s quite a claim, isn’t it?
Truth is….I wasn’t around when the Aztec warriors were devouring their chia, so I cannot confirm these claims…but, I have done a shit load of reading around current claims and can say with some certainty that there is a good evidence base for the health benefits of these tiny little seeds!!
So, what do these things do….I hear you ask! Well, let me tell you….they have a whole host of health benefits.
- Promotion of healthy skin.
- Reducing signs of aging.
- Supporting heart health.
- Regulated digestive system.
- Helps build strong bones & muscles.
- Halt/reverse diabetes!
Considering chia seeds are almost microscopic, they pack a punch when it comes to nutrients. They’re rich in fibre, with a whopping 42% of your recommended daily intake in every ounce!
They’re also crazy full of omega-3, you know the good stuff that reduces inflammation, lowers bad cholesterol and blood pressure. Chia seeds contain more omega-3 than salmon!!! Can you believe that? So, you can get omega-3 from a seed and nobody has to die for it?? Wowza! Surely that’s all you need to hear….shift to chia….your heart will literally thank you! 💞
The humble chia seed is rich in protein, with 4.4g (9% of your daily allowance) from one portion.
They’re also full of vitamins (A, B, E & D) and minerals also. And…get this…they have 77mg of calcium per portion, 18% of your daily allowance. Which btw….isn’t much different from the amazing and necessary (sarcasm) dairy milk. 100mls of whole milk has 113mg…and considering chia seeds are TINY and cruelty free, whereas milk is literally the work of Satan (too severe?)….I don’t even think milk stands a chance here.
Let’s explore specific claims a wee bit more. Let’s start with one all of us will find beneficial; effect on skin and aging.
So, a recent study in Mexico showed that the levels of antioxidant in chia can stop up to 70% of free radicals. (The easiest way to think of free radicals is to image they’re the evil villain and Antioxidants are the body’s super hero of choice to deal with them!) Antioxidants are responsible for skin repair and play an essential role in preventing further skin damage. So….double bonus….loads of antioxidants = less free radicals and reduction in skin damage with speedy repairs! Win win!
These little beuts are also very fibre rich. We know fibre is essential for good gut health. Fibre assists the body to balance insulin levels. They also have a unique little trick – when ingested they begin to produce a gelatin like substance which works to promote the growth of probotics in the guy = healthy gut and healthy jobbies! (Yup, the world stool would have been more grown up there, but I’d have let the side down if, when presented with an opportunity to crowbar the word jobbie in, I didn’t!)
I could go on and on about these seeds. But….I’ll end on the great diabetes topic. Diabetes is a huge public health issue at present. The levels of diabetes in our population is incredible. Yes, lots of it is type 2 and related to poor diet, lifestyle, etc. However, the disease itself is prevalent at present and we should all be doing out bit to reduce the incidence of developing the disease. There are lots of ways of doing this, of course, but I’m particularly fascinated by the impact the chia seed can have on this disease.
A recent study in Argentina found some interested data when they researched this a little more deeply. To cut a very long story short, they fed a group of test rats a diet rich in sucrose with the addition of Chia seeds as fat. The results for these subjects was rather astounding….their blood didn’t alter. These animals didn’t show any signs of morbidity despite their diet consisting of 65% sugar! 😲
The second group of rats were fed a diet high in sucrose to create insulin resistance. These rats were then fed chia seeds for a further 8 weeks…and….yup, you guessed it…they recovered!!! They actually recovered.
So, from this can we go as far as saying chia can halt diabetes and perhaps even reverse it?? I don’t honestly know if we can claim that, as of yet, but what we can say is that they are having some impact. And…quite possibly…they are beneficial in the fight against diabetes.
Btw, use of rats for this study is in no way vegan, but I am simply discussing the study in its entirety. This does not mean I agree with it.
There is a ton more information out there on the chia seed. I could literally write all night! Do some research, see what you think.
They recommend you begin your chia journey with 15g per day of the seed. I have mine on my toast, in sandwiches, smoothies and even sprinkled on my dinner. But you can soak them, have them in tea or make puddings from them. The possibilities are endless.
In Chia I most definitely trust!