Chia seeds have become popular due to their pleasant taste and nutritional value. Chia superfood packs tons of nutrition in as little as 1 ounce and has quickly become a favorite among those seeking to embrace healthier lifestyles.
Chia seeds can easily be incorporated into a daily diet routine. They can be sprinkled on yogurt, added to cereal, blended into shakes and smoothies, or eaten whole. Chia seeds are easily accessible and can be purchased at grocery stores, health foods stores, or online.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds pack a powerful punch when it comes to nutrition. They are filled with ingredients that contribute to cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, regulating the digestive system, and eliminating dangerous cells from the body. In addition to important minerals like calcium, iron, and magnesium, chia seeds have four key ingredients that make them so beneficial: omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, and protein.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can have dangerous effects on the body, including leading to an increased risk of developing cancer. Omega-3 fatty acids also contribute to heart health by regulating blood pressure and heartbeat.
Fiber: Fiber helps to regulate the digestive tract while also creating a feeling of fullness. This is crucial when it comes to weight control. Feeling full prevents overeating and potential unhealthy snacking between meals. There are approximately 10 grams of fiber in just 1 ounce of chia seeds.
Antioxidants: Chia antioxidants cleanse the body of dangerous cells called free radicals. Free radicals are cells that cause damage to the body, aging, and even serious illnesses like cancer.
Protein: Protein combined with fiber contributes to feeling full. Protein is also an ingredient the body needs to make blood and antibodies. Both help keep the body regulated, healthy, and functioning properly. Chia protein content is powerful with just 1 ounce, approximately 2 tablespoons, equaling 4 to 5 grams of protein. Adding an ounce of chia seeds to a morning smoothie or shake can help get the daily protein needed to build strong muscles and bones.
Different Kinds of Chia
Chia seeds come in a variety of forms including black chia, white chia, ground chia, and chia seed oil.
White and Black Chia
There is no difference between white and black chia seeds other than color. According to The Chia Co., they each have the same nutritional value. Brown chia seeds, however, are not yet ripe. This means that they do not have the rich nutritional content of black or white chia seeds yet. It is best to avoid brown and opt for fully ripened black or white chia instead. Once chia seeds are ripe, they can be stored for months or even years while retaining their nutritional content.
Chia seeds are also available as ground chia. Unlike flaxseed, it makes no difference nutritionally if chia seeds are consumed whole or ground. The body will digest the chia and reap the health benefits either way. So whole or ground is really a question of personal preference.
Chia Seed Oil
Oil can be extracted from ripe chia seeds to make a chia seed oil that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seed oil is popular as cooking oil and also as a topical skin treatment. Chia seed oil may help give the skin a healthy glow while relieving discomforts like dry skin and itching.
Where to Buy Chia
Chia seeds can be purchased at most grocery stores or specialty food stores. Ground chia can be purchased at grocery stores as well as online. Chia oil can be purchased at health food stores and online.