Despite their small size, chia seeds are packed with important nutrients. They are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help raise HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol that helps protect against heart attacks and strokes). Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants and packed with fiber, magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium.
Health benefits of consuming chia seeds
Consumption of plant-based foods of all kinds has been associated with a lower risk of many adverse health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and general mortality. Eating a diet rich in plant-based foods has also been shown to support a healthy complexion, increased energy, and a balanced weight.
Why is the fiber in chia seeds so important?
Treatment of diverticulosis
High fiber diets have been shown to decrease the prevalence of diverticulitis flare-ups by absorbing water in the colon and making bowel movements easier to pass.
Foods that are high in fiber help keep you feeling full longer and are generally lower in calories. Increased fiber intake and high fiber diets have been shown to help with weight loss.
Cardiovascular disease and cholesterol
Increasing your fiber intake has also been shown to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
High fiber diets are associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes, and eating foods high in fiber keeps blood sugar stable.
Digestion and detoxification
A diet with enough fiber prevents constipation and promotes the regularity of a healthy digestive system. Regular bowel movements are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and feces.
Omega-3s in the fight against heart disease
Research to date suggests that omega-3s may reduce the risk of thrombosis and arrhythmias, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death.
How to add more chia seeds to your diet
Chia seeds are relatively easy to find in any large supermarket and are only slightly smaller than a strawberry bean. They are black in color and have a very mild nutty flavor.
Chia seeds can be eaten raw or cooked and added to yogurt, cereals, and smoothies. Add them to baked goods like bread and muffins.
Chia seeds have the interesting property that when they are left in water for a few minutes, the water begins to set. The resulting gel is a great aid in digestion. Always ingest them when they have already absorbed moisture from a food so it does not steal water from your digestive system.
Here is a recipe with chia that is called “Chia fresco” (also called izquiate), it is a popular and very healthy energizing drink made with chia seeds, water and lemon or lime. In addition to containing great nutrients, it is digestive, provides you with a lot of energy and is a support for reducing diets.
Iskiate recipe - energizing drink with chia seeds
· about 10 ounces of water
· 1 tablespoon dried chia seeds
· two teaspoons of lemon juice
· pure honey or organic agave nectar, to taste (optional)
Mix the chia seeds in the water; let it sit for about five minutes. Shake again and let it rest for as long as you want. The more it sits, the more gel will form. Add citrus juice and natural sweetener to taste and take preferably on an empty stomach or two hours before or after meals.