We are now in the era of rediscovering amazing benefits of many super foods that have been around for quite some time now and chia seeds are one of them. The word “chia” actually means “strength” in the Mayan language as chia seeds are powerful energy boosters. Not only do they boost your endurance, but they are also packed with nutrients that have a positive influence on your health on so many levels.
Chia seeds come from a flowery plant of the mint family, Salvia Hispanica, which grows in Mexico, and it was a food of choice for Aztec warriors for providing them with strength to fight. However, it was not very well known in the other parts of the world, until researcher Wayne Coates started studying chia back in 1991. Chia seeds can be of white or black color, and they are rich in omega-3 fats, fibers, proteins, calcium and phosphorous.
Chia seeds: Rich in nutrients, Low in calories
100 grams of chia seeds contain various healthy nutrients  :
- 34.4 grams of fiber
- 16.5 grams of proteins
- 17.83 grams of omega-3 fats
- 860 milligrams of phosphorous
- 631 milligrams of calcium
With only 486 calories in 100 grams and plenty of proteins, minerals and healthy fats, chia seeds have rightfully earned their place in the super foods. Besides phosphorous and calcium, chia seeds are also a great source of iron, magnesium, potassium and manganese. If you are looking for a great gluten-free source of valuable antioxidants, then chia seeds are the perfect choice for you.
What health benefits do chia seeds provide?
Chia seed can be beneficial for your skin, digestive health, heart, helps with diabetes and makes your bones stronger.
Chia seeds can prevent skin aging
A study conducted in Mexico  has confirmed that chia seeds possess high anti-oxidant capacity, which helps in preventing skin damage. Anti-oxidants remove free radical from our blood thus helping the skin repair faster and prevent premature skin aging.
Chia seeds prevent cardiovascular diseases
Chia seeds have numerous health benefits that can help your heart and prevent various cardiovascular diseases. By lowering blood pressure, chia seeds help in protecting your heart, as researchers from the Department of Nutrition at University of Paraiba in Mexico have proven .
Furthermore, chia seeds reduce the risk of heart attack due to the fact that they are a great source of fiber. It has been proved  that taking just 10 grams of fiber on a daily basis can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood.
Chia seeds control blood sugar levels
Thanks to their high content of fibers, proteins and healthy omega-3 fats, chia seeds can improve your metabolic health, and consequently help you regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of diabetes. Researchers from Ontario conducted a study  that showed how bread made with chia seeds is successful in regulating blood glucose levels.
Chia seeds are successful in fighting cancer
Alpha lineic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, which is found in chia seeds is beneficial in fighting cancer, more specifically, breast and cervical cancers. A study published in the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry  demonstrated findings that confirmed that alpha lineic acid limits the growth of cancer cells, without affecting the healthy cells.
Chia seeds help with weight loss
A diet rich in chia seeds will enable you to feel full without many unnecessary calories. Moreover, chia seeds are rich in fiber and protein, which helps with weight loss, as it has been proven that a diet that contains a lot of protein reduced appetite .
Chia seeds make your bones stronger
In order for our bones to stay strong, they need calcium, thus chia seeds are a great choice for people who wish to maintain bone strength and mass. As Dr Marilyn Glenville, a nutritionist, points out : “Chia seeds can give you a real energy kick. One tablespoon has more calcium than a glass of milk.” In addition to calcium, chia seeds contain other minerals that are necessary for promoting bone health, such as magnesium, manganese and phosphorous.
Chia seeds help promote digestive health
Incorporating chia seeds in your diet means you are increasing the intake of fibers, which are beneficial for your digestive health and prevent constipation .
Are there any side effects when consuming chia seeds?
There haven’t been any serious cases of adverse effects caused by consumption of chia seeds, yet it is advised to consume plenty of water with chia seeds.
As chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fats, consuming them in large quantities may lead to blood thinning, thus it is advised to consult your doctor if you are taking blood-thinning medications.
How to pick the best chia seeds?
As with any type of food, you should always buy chia seeds from trusted brands, and of course, organically grown are the best ones. It is also a good practice to buy whole seeds, and not ground chia, since nutrients are best preserved in whole grain seeds.
As far as the color of chia seeds is concerned, always pick black speckled or white. If chia seeds are of brown color, that is probably the sign that the seeds are not mature enough or they haven’t been grown in optimal conditions.
Raw or soaked?
There is no harm in eating raw chia seeds, but soaking them will make it possible for your body to absorb all the nutrients better. When soaking chia seeds, the best option is to use 1:10 ratio chia to water. You can then leave them to sit from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your preferences. If you eat raw chia seeds, they will absorb water from your organism, so you should drink plenty of water.
3 Chia seed pudding you cannot miss (They are easy!)
Chia seed puddings are quite easy to prepare, and the recipes won’t require much of your time. You will have a great dessert that is low in calories and rich in healthy nutrients.
Overnight chocolate chia seed pudding
It takes only 15 minutes to prepare this delicious and creamy chocolate pudding with just 6 basic ingredients. It is naturally sweetened and perfect for either healthy breakfast or snack.
Vanilla-almond chia breakfast pudding
Perfect way to start your day and fill yourself with energy. For this recipe, you will need to soak chia seeds in almond milk overnight, which will give pudding an amazing texture. You can also add fresh seasonal fruits for richer flavor.
Pina colada chia pudding
Taste the delicious flavor of your favorite cocktail in a healthier version. With the taste of pineapple and coconut, you will feel as if you are at the beach, drinking cocktails. It’s great for breakfast or dessert.
How much chia seed should you eat?
There isn’t a recommended amount for consuming chia on a daily basis. However, the reasonable amount of chia seed you should consume every day is around 25 grams. Chia seeds are indeed healthy, but you should be moderate in consumption.
Chia seeds are even safe for women who are pregnant, and is also quite beneficial for their health.