How To Eat Chia Seeds & Reap Their Countless Health Benefits

How To Eat Chia Seeds & Reap Their Countless Health Benefits

Chia seeds may be tiny, but they are powerful nutrition bombs. Part of the desert plant in the mint family ‘Salvia Hispanica’- chia has many other names too. Ancient Central America had these seeds as staples in the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. Today, chia seeds are commercially grown in Mexico, Guatemala, the United States, Peru, Argentina, Australia and India. At JIWA, we bring you only the best locally grown variety.

Chia seeds' benefits have been prized for centuries because of their omega-3-rich nature and the presence of other minerals and proteins. Thanks to the goodness of chia seeds, they made it to our range of choicest organic products fairly early. Recent times have seen a marked increase in their consumption in various ways due to the healthy eating wave. You can now buy chia seeds online, but to reap the maximum benefits, it is best purchase chia seeds from a trustworthy source.

Image source: https://www.jiwa.in/products/organic-chia-seeds

The advantages of adding chia seeds to your daily routines are abundant. From reducing the risk of many heart issues to maintaining a healthy body weight, they offer many health benefits.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Cardiovascular health

Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and can potentially lower the risk of heart attacks and other health issues associated with them.

They also have a positive impact on the HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol, and helps lower the LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol. While no single food can cure a disease, the consumption of chia seeds can promote good heart health.

Loaded with antioxidants

The use of chia seed to prevent cell damage might be a lesser-known fact, but it works wonders. Chia seeds are abundant in antioxidants that help fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Chia seeds are also excellent for preventive care of certain types of cancer and cognitive decline.

Quercetin, an antioxidant, is also a great advantage of chia seeds, as it helps reduce the risk of several chronic health conditions like heart disease.

Reduced inflammation

High inflammation causes numerous diseases in the human body. Chronic inflammation, if left untreated, can lead to heart disease and increase the risk of cancer.

Advantages of chia seeds when consumed regularly are a decrease in inflammatory markers, which indicate the presence of an inflammatory disease. Caffeic acid, an antioxidant found in chia seeds, also helps keep the inflammation in check.

Nutrition high

Chia seeds are micro-factories of nutrition. Naturally gluten free, they have 6% of their weight in water.

The nutrition in 100 gms of chia seeds is:
  • Calories: 486
  • Water: 6%
  • Protein: 16.5 grams
  • Carbs: 42.1 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Fibre: 34.4 grams
  • Fat: 30.7 grams
  • Saturated: 3.33 grams
  • Monounsaturated: 2.31 grams
  • Polyunsaturated: 23.67 grams
  • Omega-3: 17.83 grams
  • Omega-6: 5.84 grams
  • Trans: 0.14 grams
(source- https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chia-seeds#nutrition)

Chia seeds provide a complete dose of minerals but are now a great source of vitamins. The 14% protein content is one of the many chia seeds benefits, amongst others like their impressive amino acid profile. Proteins are important for both weight loss and the build-up of muscles.

Support weight loss

While the use of chia seeds alone in your diet cannot cause weight loss, it is a useful support to a balanced, nutritious diet if you are trying to shed some kilos.

Chia seeds are a great source of fibre. Consuming chia seeds with water in the morning helps in giving your digestive system a boost and improves bowel movement. Healthy digestion is a prerequisite to weight loss. The best time to eat chia seeds is when you wake up.

Consumption of chia seeds aids in a feeling of fullness and thus a reduced calorie intake.

The high protein content assists in muscle growth to support weight loss. According to Ayurveda, this is because of its ‘guru’ nature.

Bone health boost

Chia seeds contain vital nutrients for great bone health, including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Optimal intake of these nutrients helps maintain good bone mineral density, which increases bone strength.

Chia seeds are believed to contain 18% of the daily intake of calcium. So for people who find it difficult to consume protein, chia seeds are great for building bone health.

Control Blood sugar

Healthy blood sugar levels are important for overall good health. Chia seeds are known to control blood glucose and improve insulin sensitivity. The use of chia seeds in a regular diet can reduce insulin resistance and risk factors that cause metabolic syndromes and type 2 diabetes.

They help in stabilising post-meal blood sugar levels, helping diabetics to a great length.

Breads made with chia seeds have a considerably low response to blood sugar in comparison to traditional breads. So if you are wondering how to eat chia seeds- your daily bread is a sure answer.

Fibre rich

Chia seeds can absorb up to 11 times their weight in water owing to their high soluble fibre content. The fibre aids better digestion and thus a general feeling of well-being.
The fibre in chia seeds benefits in lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease.

Drinking chia seeds with water in the morning promotes a fuller feeling in the stomach, leading to lesser calorie intake and aiding weight loss.

Chia seeds Benefits- AYURVEDA

According to ancient Indian medicine, chia seeds help in maintaining a lot of ‘doshas’. Because of its ‘guru’ nature, chia seeds offer a feeling of satiety and assist in weight management.
Being rich in antioxidants, they protect skin cells against damage. Ayurveda says that chia oil can keep skin hydrated and prevent water loss. The advantages of Chia seeds oil increase when mixed with coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and honey. Use this on the hair and scalp to control hair fall. This is attributed to the Snigdha (oily) and Ropan (healing) benefits of chia seeds.

Another use of chia seeds is to reduce itchiness. Dryness and itching caused by the ‘vata’ dosha imbalance can be cured by the ‘snigdha’ property of chia seeds. The cooling properties can be harnessed by mixing ½ tsp of chia seed oil with little coconut oil and applying it to the affected area. Leaving this on all day will provide maximum chia seeds benefits and control itching.

How to consume Chia seeds

The simplest way that most of us already know is to have soaked chia seeds with water in the morning. Well, that's just to get started!

The best time to eat chia seeds is all day, and they can be easily added to various recipes to increase their nutritional value.

Chia seeds can be eaten raw or added to puddings, breakfast smoothies, juices and more. Naturally gluten free, chia seeds can be used in egg free and gluten-free baking too. Chia seeds absorb a great amount of water and can form a gel which is a great egg substitute in baking. Just mix 2 tsp of ground chia seeds with 3 tsp water. Let it sit for a few minutes, and this gel is good to replace one whole egg in baking.

This is also great for people with egg allergies or those following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
  • This gel is great to thicken desserts, and make healthy desserts like chia seed pudding.

  • Chia seeds are great to sprinkle on salads for an added crunch, or can be added to crackers or granola to add the nutritional benefits and a great mouthfeel at the same time.

  • Adding them to fritters can help bind them better and a sprinkle on rice or vegetables elevates the presentation as well as crunch of the dish.
To make the most talked about chia water - just soak a spoonful of seeds in a full glass of water overnight. Next morning add it to 2-3 bottles of water in equal amounts. Add a squeeze of lime or some mint leaves and sip on this water all day.

Chia fresco is a popular Mexican drink, made by soaking chia seeds in fruit juice and enjoyed chilled.

Besides the seeds, the sprouts are also edible and can be added to sandwich fillings or salads amongst others.

Word of caution on the use of Chia seeds

Chia seeds are usually well tolerated by most people. The only thing that needs to be watched is the water intake and how to consume chia seeds. Since they soak up a lot of water, a spoonful of chia seeds can take up almost 70-100 ml of water. So if you are consuming the raw seeds, make sure you have enough water throughout the day to avoid throat gagging or bloating.

Owing to their high fibre content, too much use of chia seeds can lead to diarrhoea and upset bowel movements.

So just watching the quantity can help you reap all the benefits of Chia seeds!

Are they worth the hype?

Worth their weight in gold, these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutrition punch. The ease of how you can eat chia seeds, without any real preparation- no cooking, grinding etc- also makes them handy and sassier.

Load up on the fibre, omega-3, antioxidants and other nutrients with just a spoonful of this wonderfood.

A spoonful of chia seeds a day, keeps you out of harm’s way!

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