You may have heard of chia pets – clay figurines where chia sprouts grow to be like animals’ hair or fur. Many have become fond of these “pets” and were given as gifts and made someone happy. But have you heard about chia seeds? These days they have become increasingly popular as a superfood. Many are eating chia seeds for its nutritional value.
Chia seeds are oval gray seeds with black and white spots. The seeds are so tiny they’re just about 1 millimeter in diameter. A distinct characteristic of these seeds are the way they can easily absorb liquid 12 times its weight. When soaked it also becomes like gel, making it great for use in creams and beverages. The seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica of the mint family and originated from Central America. Historically, these seeds were eaten by Aztecs and Mayans. “Chia” actually means “strength” in the Mayan language. Let’s find out if the chia seeds really live up to its name and if it will provide you with “strength” by checking out its advantages.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds may be small, but they are packed with a lot of nutrients that are good for your body. There are lots of benefits of chia seeds.
The high amount of antioxidants in the seeds helps in fighting aging and cancer. Because the seeds are high in fiber it is good for the intestines. Calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus which are found in chia seeds are great for healthy bones. According to studies, chia seeds may decrease the spike of blood sugar after a high carbohydrate meal of those with type 2 diabetes. Chia seeds also decreases inflammation and improve your energy. Because it’s rich in protein, it is good for the muscles, skin and hair. It is also good for the heart because of omega 3 fatty acids and the fiber in it.
If you want to lose weight, eating chia seeds can you help you with that. When the seeds become gel-like in your stomach, it will make you feel full so you don’t have to eat more than you need to. Chia seeds are high in protein and when you have higher intake of protein your appetite tends to slow down. You will also are less likely to think about food or to want to have midnight snacks. Who wouldn’t want that?
But of course the benefits can be there but eating chia seeds should be coupled by other factors such as having a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy diet. You can’t just eat chia seeds and lose weight. You would also need to eat other nutritious food and exercise as well.
Chia seeds side effects
If you are going to eat chia seeds to lose weight, you should not go around and eat chia seeds all day and every day. You should determine how much chia seeds for weight loss. There are chia seeds side effects so you have to be careful. The recommended dosage for chia seeds is taking in 20 grams or about 1 ½ tablespoons, twice a day. That is the chia seeds daily amount. So try not to eat too much.
Because chia seeds are high in fiber, eating too much of these might have a side effect on your digestive system. You might get pain in the abdomen, gas, constipation or diarrhea. If you are taking medicine for high blood pressure or blood thinners, taking chia seeds might also affect your health. If you have allergies to food like sesame or mustard seeds, you might want to avoid chia seeds as well.
You also need to be careful of eating too much of chia seeds as you may choke because of its gelling properties. There was a study of a man who ate dry chia seeds and then drank water. The expanded seeds blocked his esophagus and he was taken to the hospital to take them out. Be sure to soak chia seeds for 5-10 minutes before taking them. Another danger to not preparing chia seeds correctly is when you eat dry seeds; it might soak liquid from your body – which is not good since chia seeds absorbs 12 times its weight.
So if you ask, can you eat too many chia seeds? Yes, you actually can. But these should not stop you from eating them (except if you have allergies and taking the medication mentioned before). Just eat in moderation and you’ll do great enjoying chia seeds and the good health benefits they offer.
Eating Chia Seeds
If you’ve never had chia seeds before you should try it. It used to be sold mostly online or in natural food stores but now many grocery stores have them, thanks to the growing popularity of these nutritious seeds. So head on out to your nearest grocery stores and get those chia seeds.
It tastes bland so you can mix many flavors with it and do so many things with it. You don’t need to ground it. Try sprinkling chia seeds over cereals, yogurt, vegetables or rice. It is also great for porridge, pudding, smoothies and beverages. If you need to thicken your sauce, adding chia seeds will do the trick. If you are avoiding eggs, chia seeds can be your substitute.
There are many recipes out there with chia seeds as the main ingredient. Here’s a basic recipe for chia seeds pudding to start you off. You’ve got to have chia seeds – 6 tablespoons would be just right. You need the liquid where the seeds will soak – about 2 cups coconut milk, almond milk or regular milk will do. If you want it on the sweet side, add a tablespoon of honey, maple syrup or plain old sugar. Add a little bit of vanilla and mix. The pudding should be ready in less than 30 minutes but if you want it to really set; you can leave it in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy it the next day. Get a portion of the pudding and top it with your favorite berries – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries. Sounds so yummy! Now that would be a great start to enjoying your chia seeds.