Increasingly trendy, chia seeds have real health benefits. We would even classify them in the superfood category! But what are the benefits of chia seeds?
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are small seeds from Mexico that strangely resemble poppy seeds, with the difference that they are blacker and colors may vary (black to white). They have been cultivated for millennia, in particular by the Aztecs for whom they formed one of the bases of their diet. Chia is said to allow them to be “more enduring” and “intellectually superior” to enemies.
Very fashionable in recent years, chia seeds are considered a superfood thanks to their nutritional richness and their many benefits. Another peculiarity of these small seeds: they have the ability to absorb liquids and swell.
Where do chia seeds come from?
You should know that the chia seeds production requires special climatic conditions. Since chia is very sensitive to frost, this explains why chia production takes place mainly in tropical or subtropical regions. Chia seeds often come from far away, which does not make it a very ecological food …
Why are chia seeds a superfood?
# 1 Incredible richness in fibers
The main advantage of chia lies in its high fiber count. Count between 30 to 40 g of fiber in 100 grams of chia seeds! Imagine that 25 grams of chia (2 tablespoons) would be enough to cover all of our daily fiber intake!
This richness in fibers, mainly soluble, explains the particularity of chia to swell in contact with liquids. It is for this reason that chia seeds are recommended to regulate intestinal transit, especially in case of diarrhea. They would, in fact, absorb excess water from the intestines – responsible for accelerating transit.
# 2 An interesting source of whole vegetable proteins
The second advantage of chia seeds is their high protein content. Chia seeds provide on average 23% protein, which is twice as much as other seeds. Adding a spoon of chia thus enriches your meal with protein.
Note that the proteins in the chia seed are 100% complete. They, therefore, represent an alternative to interesting animal proteins.
# 3 A majority of omega 3
Chia contains around 30% lipids (in other words “fats”), which explains their high caloric intake (60 calories / 100 grams). However, it should be noted that the lipids present in chia seeds are interesting from a nutritional point of view because they are mainly made up of “good fats”. Thus, chia seeds would contain:
- Omega 3 primarily: (15 to 17 g / 100 g seed) we tend to lack in our diets, and are essential for the prevention of cardiovascular disease;
- and also very popular omega 6: (5-8 g / 100 g) which would have a beneficial effect on bad cholesterol.
The Omega 3/Omega 6 ratio is interesting: 3-4.
# 4 An interesting source of nutrients
Chia seeds contain an interesting source of vitamins and minerals. They play a significant role in covering our intake of calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, and, even B vitamins (B3, B1 in particular).
# 5 does not contain gluten
Finally, the last advantage: chia is gluten-free , ideal for people who are intolerant.
The different varieties of chia
Did you know that there are two varieties of chia seeds? Indeed, a distinction is made between white chia and black chia .
White chia seeds do not show much nutritional difference from black chia. Their composition is very close , except that white chia is less rich in antioxidants but richer in proteins.
In terms of taste, however, we find that white chia has a sweeter and less pungent flavor than black chia .
Chia seeds are particularly high in fiber, which explains why they could cause intestinal gas or bloating, especially in people whose fiber intake is usually low. If this is your case, be sure to gradually introduce chia seeds into your diet. One to two tablespoon (s) of chia seeds per day is enough to enjoy the benefits of chia.
Also note: chia seeds can cause allergies. Be careful when you consume it for the first time.
Chia seeds are an excellent food to incorporate into your diet. They are rich in protein (17%, twice as high as other seeds), fiber, or even “good” fats.
There are dozens of delicious ways to consume them and unlike all other small seeds (sesame, poppy, flax seeds, etc.), they do not need to be ground. You can thus consume them as they are!