Cha-cha-cha-chia! If you have ever been victim to late night television’s bizarre commercials it is likely that you know the little song written for the line of products called “Chia Pets”. These are clay forms that special packets of seeds are applied to and which then sprout funny clumps of chia hair.
This makes many people wonder just what chia is in the first place, and we’re here to tell you that it is not just the silly “hair” to grow on your chia sheep, Shrek, or other unusual figure.
The Many Health Benefits from Eating Chia
Before you dig into a serving of chia it is likely that you would want to know just what chia seeds are, and the answer is that they are a relative of the native mint plants that appear in Mexico and areas of Central America.
They can be found in a number of forms, and the only ones with truly measurable health benefits are those that are white or dark brown to black in color. You may seem them in their whole form (which is the wisest way to invest) or as a milled food. You may seem them in a red hue, and these should be avoided as they are immature and without a lot of nutrient content. You also want to avoid the purely black seeds that are visibly smaller in overall size as these are a type of chia that is not beneficial in the diet.
This may make it sound as if chia is tough to find, but you can head to almost any modern market and get yourself a very good supply of whole and nutritious chia seeds.
Now, what are the benefits of eating them? To begin with they are one of the few non-animal protein sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These will prevent cancer cell growth, reduce inflammation throughout your body, maintain cell health, and much more. Chia is also a very high fibre food, and most of us already know that we don’t get enough bulky fibre to ensure optimal digestion.
Furthermore, the studies already done on chia’s benefits in the diet have demonstrated that it is great for providing energy, lowering cholesterol levels, and keeping blood sugar at a much more stable level.
Additionally, any assessment of chia seeds show that they are nutrient dense food sources that pack a lot of calcium, manganese, and phosphorous in each serving too. Because they take a long time to digest it also means that the absorption of these nutrients is further enhanced.
Why You Should Eat Chia
With so many benefits it is impossible to ignore the need to add chia to the diet. You don’t have to eat them whole, and even if you do you will hardly notice their presence because they have no taste or odor. This is why so many people will just sprinkle them over salads, into hot meals, or grind them up and sprinkle as a powder into everything from smoothies to ice cream! You can even make like those cha-cha-cha-Chias and sprout the seeds for eating.
The benefits of chia are many, including:
- Fighting off the development of diabetes
- Getting around 1/3 of the daily requirement for fibre with just a single serving of seeds
- Keeping the brain in top condition with all of those omega-3 fatty acids
- Providing enormous amounts of bone and teeth supporting calcium, phosphorous and manganese
- Delivering a nice amount of high quality (cholesterol free and cholesterol fighting) protein in each serving
- Stabilizing the blood sugar and preventing insulin resistance
- Improving the blood pressure
So, why not start enjoying this impressive super food today?
If you have questions about the benefits of chia seed in the diet, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian.
Coles, Terri. Chia Seed Benefits: 10 Reasons to Add Chia to Your Diet