Should I Eat Chia Seeds?
The Big Deal About Chia Seeds
- Chia seeds can be easily added to foods or grown to make edible-sprouts.
- They are high in fiber, omegas, and have a notable amount of protein.
- These seeds are heart healthy, helpful for weight loss and are beneficial to the skin.
The Chia Seed
Chia seed is surprisingly a grain product that derives from the plant called Salvia hispanica. The plant is grown in Mexico and is also known as Mexican Chia and Salba. These seeds look much like the tiny tree bugs that, at times, make their way into my home. The name, "Chia" means strength and got its name from the Mayan and Aztec cultures.
It's believed that the seeds increased energy. As there isn't any evidence on energy in particular, this flowering plant produces edible seeds that are commonly used for gut health. They partly dissolve in liquid, which creates a slimy film over the remaining seed. Many mix spoonfuls of these black and white seeds in water, yogurt, oatmeal, and even baked goods. The taste is fairly nutty and mostly noticeable in other textured foods.
You May Have Seen Them
Funny thing, these are the exact same seeds that grow the fur-like grass on the Chia Pet. Remember those? Turns out we have heard about the Chia seed long before we knew it could be eaten .. or at least I did! The sprouts are edible too and can be added to sandwiches and salads, much like Alfalfa.
I've always wanted one, I'm even more interested in sprouting my own. So, how did we go from using them as a part of a novelty toy to being a huge deal in the health-conscious community? That's a tricky one. Although I'm not too sure about that one, let's look into the facts about the Chia seed.
Chia Seed Scientific Benefits
In multiple human studies, it was shown that incorporating Chia seeds as a part of a daily dietary routine brought about the following benefits:
- A decrease in appetite. This can help those desiring to lose weight or even maintain a certain weight as long as you eat balanced meals.
- A decrease in blood sugar. It can effectively lower the glucose in the bloodstream, making Chia a great choice to consume to moderately help level out your blood sugars.
- A decrease in blood pressure. The seed has been found to reduce blood pressure as well. Lower blood pressure lessens the chance of having a stroke.
- An increase in skin moisture. There are properties of the seed that allow the skin to retain moisture. Supple skin leaves less room for wrinkles to form.
Chia Seed Nutrition Facts
Nutritional facts per serving size: 2 Tbsp (30g)
- Calories 160
- Calories From Fat 90
- Total Fat 10g
- Saturated Fat 1g
- Polyunsaturated Fat 8g
- Total Carbohydrate 12g
- Dietary Fiber 8g
- Protein 6g
- Calcium 4%
- Iron 8%
Great Source of Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are an amazing source of healthy fats. Omega-3 and omega-6 are the fatty acids found in these seeds, although the fatty acid component tends to be more than half of omega-3s. Omegas are a considerable part of managing and decreasing chances of gaining heart disease and may also lower blood pressure.
According to Web MD's article on Omega-3s (2017), some of the benefits of eating fatty acids include: Lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, slow development of plaque in the arteries, reduce the chance of abnormal heartbeat, decrease the likelihood of getting heart attack and stroke, and lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people who have heart disease.
Great Source of Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient for the body. They provide as much energy as carbs and are a huge part of structural components in our bodies like muscles and hair. These and many other components are unable to grow without the protein. The chia seeds have a high protein content. It has about 20% of our daily nutritional need. A serving of these seeds holds an impressive 6g of protein, which is the same as eating one large egg. So, if you're lacking in the protein area, adding chia seeds to your diet can help to increase your protein intake.
Great Source of Fiber
Chia seeds are a great source of dietary fiber with 8g of fiber per serving size. We hear a lot about how it aids digestion, but what is this fiber and do we need it? Medical News Today, best defines it as "the indigestible part of plant foods that travel through our digestive system, absorbing water along the way and easing bowel movements" (2017). In other words, it is a natural ingredient that promotes regularity.
Fiber is also a part of what makes fruit, vegetables, and whole grains so nutritious. Compare to an apple, a serving of chia seeds has 2 times the amount of dietary fiber than a medium-sized apple. Fiber helps speed up the process of ridding toxic waste through the intestines. It has many other notable benefits as well such as protecting against heart disease, keeping gut health in check, lowering chances of diabetes, and controling body weight.
Try Chia Seeds For Yourself
To Eat Or Not To Eat
From easy consumption to healthful heart, digestion, and weight control benefits. These tiny Chia seeds that you know from that Chia Pet you've had or seen on TV are interestingly worth eating! They've been consumed for centuries in other countries like Mexico. Chia seeds have the same amount of protein as a large egg and double the fiber than a medium apple. These seeds should surely be eaten.
They can easily be mixed in water or fruit juice to drink or added to an oatmeal or yogurt bowl to eat. However you consume them, they have a faintly nutty taste and slimy in texture. If you can get over that, then incorporating them into your daily diet is a wise choice for your health. What do you think? Should you be eating Chia seeds?
Sources and Further Reading
- Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements: Benefits, Side Effects, and Uses
WebMD explains the health benefits of omega-3 fish oil, along with side effects.
- Dietary fiber: Why do we need it?
Fiber is food that cannot be digested or absorbed in the gut. Why is fiber necessary in the diet, and what foods are high in fiber?
- Salvia hispanica - Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com
Salvia hispanica (Chia) are seeds commonly used to supplement dietary fiber and are claimed to have other health promoting properties. Its mechanical properties may provide use during baking and the fiber content good for bowel health with health pro
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Brianna