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Chia is referred to a species of flowering plant in the mint family, which is native in Guatemala and Mexico. Since ancient time, chia has been cultivated for its tiny black seeds as a commercial purpose. The seeds are in tiny ovals shape with many colors depending in each variety, including brown, black, gray and white. Chia seeds are a traditional ingredient for culinary in various countries, especially Mexico and United States. They can be used in baked goods, salads, pudding, smoothies and yogurt.
Another feature of the seeds is that they have the ability to absorb water and liquid up to 12 times their weight. Therefore, they are also used to make a distinctive gel texture.
Chia Seeds’ Nutrition
Basically, with 100 grams of chia seeds, you will get 486 calories, 42.1 grams of carbohydrates, 16.5 grams of protein, 30.7 grams of fat (in which 3.33 grams are saturated, 2.31 grams are monounsaturated and 23.67 grams are polyunsaturated).
Besides, such amount of chia seeds also provides 17.83 grams of omega-3, 5.84 grams of omega-6 and 1.14 grams of trans fat.
Chia seeds are found with a significant amount of carbohydrate, in which 80% of them is in form fiber. This quantity can supply a significant amount of people’s daily requirement for fiber both in men and women.
Furthermore, the major of fiber content in chia seeds is insoluble one that acts to benefit human health by reducing the risk of developing diabetes and other chronic diseases. Some of them even work like soluble fiber after being fermented in digestive system. This also means, such insoluble fiber can stimulate the short-chain fatty acids’ formation, which in turn strengthens colon health.
Another interesting fact about the fibers in chia seed is they have an incredible ability of absorbing, in which the seeds can absorb water up to 10-12 times their own weight then turn themselves into a gel-like paste.
Like other seeds, chia seeds possess 19% protein that helps to make you feel full and reduce hunger pang.
Into the bargain, the protein profile of chia seeds is confirmed to be the high-quality one, which is beneficial for human.
With a proper amount if chia seeds for meal, you can effectively reduce the food intake without worrying the deficiency of nutrients.
Chia seeds are an ample source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely beneficial for the health of human, especially the heart.
More specifically, the omega-3 fatty acids account for 75% of the total fats in chia seeds and leave 20% left for omega-6 fatty acids.
However, it doesn’t mean that chia seeds can be categorized in the same group with fish or fish oil since the omega-3 fatty acids in the seeds are alpha linolenic acid (ALA), which requires the body to turn into active forms like EPA or DHA for using.
Vitamins and Minerals
Generally, chia seeds are an excellent source of minerals, but contain almost no essential vitamin for the body.
Specifically, the minerals in chia seeds include:
- Phosphorus: beneficial for tissue maintenance and bone health.
- Calcium: good for nerves, bones and muscles.
- Manganese: needed for growth and development as well as metabolic activities.
- Copper: contributes to heart health.
- Selenium: acts as a powerful antioxidant participating in various processes of the body.
- Magnesium: important for several processes in the body.
- Iron: essential for the formation of hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells. Iron also contributes to the oxygen transportation throughout the body. However, the absorption of iron in chia seeds is not really efficient because of the phytic acid content.
Asides from all nutrients mentioned above, chia seeds are also a source of beneficial organic compounds, including:
- Quercetin: an antioxidant acting to protect the heart and reduce related diseases such as osteoporosis and strokes. Besides, it is also a beneficial factor in cancer prevention.
- Chlorogenic acid: an antioxidant acting to ease the strain in blood vessels and arteries, which in turn reduce blood pressure.
- Kaempferol: an antioxidant used to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.
- Caffeic acid: contains anti-inflammatory property
Thanks to this amazing profile of nutrients, chia seeds can help you improve your health and prevent various diseases. For further information, please take a look at 7 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.
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