Chia seeds have been around for a long time. In fact, their impressive nutritional benefits for the body was first recognised by the Mayans and Aztecs. These seeds were revered for their rich omega-3 fatty acids, an abundance of antioxidants, fibre, protein and calcium. At the same time, chia seeds also function as natural laxatives. In the past, it was believed that the Aztec warriors ate chia seeds on a regular basis to improve their endurance. It’s not surprising why chia means strength in the Mayan language as it was believed that one spoonful of chia seed could sustain these warriors for 24 hours. The whole-grain seeds are unprocessed which is one of the main reasons why they are so good for the health. In recent years, research has found that chia seeds may contain more benefits than first believed.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
Promotes Weight Loss
The high-fibre content in chia seeds can go a long way in aiding weight loss. In fact, a regular intake of chia seeds a day will go a long way to leave you feeling sated and fuller for longer. This, in turn, curbs hedonic hunger and prevents frequent snacking. A normal intake of chia seed, about 25 to 38 grams of it a day, is enough to reduce belly fat. For weight loss, you will need to add two tablespoons of chia seeds into a glass of water. After stirring well, you should drink it before they absorb water and become swollen. Chia seeds aids in satiety by absorbing the water in the stomach and expanding, suppressing the appetite. Studies have shown that chia seeds play a large role in fat reduction. The high amounts of protein also contribute to weight loss through satiety.
Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia is one of the few seeds that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which has numerous benefits for the body. For instance, it can fight depression and anxiety, improve eye health, and promote brain health. On top of that, consuming foods that are high in omega-3 has been found to raise good cholesterol, fight inflammation and even reduce blood pressure. At the same time, omega-3 has been shown to alleviate and reduce symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). An increased intake of omega-3 can combat age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s Disease as well. If you’re suffering from interrupted sleep or sleep problems, omega-3 can go a long way in preventing sleep apnea and improving the overall length and quality of your sleep.
Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Chia seeds can slow the rate of digestion thus preventing diabetes. Studies have shown that chia is actually good for diabetes treatment. The seeds are also capable of improving the blood pressure levels in diabetics. Additionally, the presence of omega-3 fatty acids has been considered to be extremely useful in diabetes treatments as the seeds were found to improve the blood pressure levels in diabetics. Hence, chia seeds are beneficial if you are undergoing treatment for diabetes.
Supports Healthy Blood Lipid Levels
Besides omega-3 fatty acids lower blood cholesterol and prevent coronary heart disease. Additionally, the monounsaturated fats found in chia seeds aid in lowering the cholesterol in the blood. Studies have shown that a regular diet consisting of chia seeds can regulate and manage the cholesterol levels in the body. Another study reported that chia seeds reduced the risk of low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and delayed the accumulation of arterial plaque. Besides that, chia seeds have been found to treat a metabolic disorder called dyslipidemia, which occurs when there is an abnormal amount of cholesterol in the blood. What’s more, chia seeds also increase the levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) or good cholesterol in the blood.
High in Antioxidants and Enhances Mood
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, which are responsible for keeping free radicals in check and preventing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an accumulation of free radicals in the body. Antioxidants can prevent chronic conditions and premature ageing. Additionally, they have been found to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and protect the body from infections. Considered a superfood, chia has been said to boost the mood when consumed regularly. According to studies, omega-3 fatty acids boost mood and behaviour as well. In fact, studies have shown that chia seeds can combat depression and improve overall mental health.
If you have trouble sleeping or suffering from sleep deprivation, chia seeds could be your best bet. There are two major hormones that are essential for sleep, serotonin and melatonin. Both of these hormones are manufactured by tryptophan, an amino acid in the body. The tryptophan in chia seeds helps to relax the body and promote good sleep. Studies have shown that tryptophan is effective in treating a number of sleep disorders. It’s important to consult a medical professional if you are suffering from severe sleep problems.