Importance of Eating Chia Seeds to Health
Chia Seeds Are Extremely Healthy
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
There is evidence that vegan, vegetarians and conventional eaters die due to a lack of omega-3 essential fatty acids. You can read more about that at Essential and Dangerous Supplements. People can get omega-3 from eating seaweed and fish. Vegans and vegetarians do not eat fish.
So they would usually take flaxseeds to get enough omega-3 essential fatty acids since that was the highest vegetable source. But flaxseed shells cannot be digested and they are tiny seeds. If you grind the shells and get the powder or oil, they can go bad (rancid) quickly. Chia seeds do not have to have their shell broken so they are much better to use. They have as much omega-3 is flaxseeds do.
Chia seeds are tiny black and white seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is related to the mint. Have you heard of the Chia pet? They out chia seeds on an animal figurine and grow hair/sprouts on it. Someone decided to grow them on Obama figurine heads and sell them. Here is one so you can see what I am taking about.
Importance of Chia Seeds to Health
So you can but them. Of course organic ones are better but usually cost more. Many people like to soak them in hot water or hot tea for about 15 minutes and drink them. That is a convenient way to take them. Ninety percent of the carbs in chia seeds are fiber that isn't digested, yet has many benefits, PubMed is part of the U.S. National Library of Medicine that is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It has an article called Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber that says:
Individuals with high intakes of dietary fiber appear to be at significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Increased intake of soluble fiber improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals. Fiber supplementation in obese individuals significantly enhances weight loss. Increased fiber intake benefits a number of gastrointestinal disorders including the following: gastroesophageal reflux disease, duodenal ulcer, diverticulitis, constipation, and hemorrhoids.
Note that that fiber is in plant foods but not animal foods. Chia seeds are a very nutrient dense food and it is infinitely better to get minerals from foods instead of mineral supplements, urine, manure and salt (all of which are not foods). One ounce of chia seeds contain 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat (5 of which are omega-3 fatty acids), 18% of the RDA of calcium, 30% of the RDA of both magnesium and manganese, 27% of the RDA of phosphorus and lots of other nutrients.
Note recently I learned that people usually get enough minerals, but magnesium may be one of them that most Americans do not get enough of and it has many important functions. Chia seeds are loaded with many antioxidants like many very healthy foods.
The body needs the active forms of omega-3 called EPA and DHA but can convert them into those forms as needed unlike with fish. By mixing chia seeds with water making it into a gel there are many recipes that you can make with them. See links to this article for more on them.
Now since chia seeds contain a lot of calcium I should point out that many websites say that people should get more calcium to avoid osteoporosis. But people get much more than they need of calcium. A PubMed study showed that increasing the amount of calcium in the food had no effect on osteoporosis. People get more than they need of protein also. So why have these nutrients been singled out?
This is part of the marketing campaign of milk, dairy and meat. Actually the amount of calcium has no effect on osteoporosis as that study shows but the amount of calcium in the urine does affect osteoporosis. See why there is calcium in the urine and more by reading The Real Cause of Osteoporosis. Of course a big part of why fiber helps you to lose weight is that it fills up your stomach but its calories are not digestible. Note that calories are actually units of heat and they measure the calories of food by burning them. Fiber cannot be digested by humans but there is no trouble in burning them.
There are also studies showing that if you add nuts or seeds to your diet, you do not gain any weight but you do get many health benefits including living longer. Joel Fuhrman M.D. says to eat G-BOMBS to prevent diseases. It stands for greens, berries, onions, mushrooms beans, and nuts/seeds. See The Wonders of Nuts and Seeds, By Carrie Dennett, MPH, RDN, CD (Masters in Public Health, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Dietitian)
Today's Dietitian Vol. 18 No. 3 P. 22. It says:
Recent findings from the PREDIMED trial suggest that a Mediterranean diet that includes one serving of nuts per day protects against heart attack, stroke, or death from other cardiovascular causes in people at high risk due to type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.3 PREDIMED data also suggest that eating more than three servings of nuts per week reduces risk of death from all causes, especially if also following a Mediterranean diet. Subjects who frequently consumed both total nuts and walnuts had a lower rate of death from cancer.