A superfood with a history
Chia is an edible seed that comes from Salvia hispanica, a plant in the mint family native to southern Mexico, which also extends its crops to many other parts of the world.
Chia seeds’ existence can be traced to 3,500 BC in Central America. Its name comes from the Mayan word “chía”, which means “strength”. It is believed that chia seeds were consumed by Mayan messengers, who took them in small bags in quantities sufficient to maintain their energy and resistance levels high during their long journeys.
Chia nutrition facts:
Chia seeds are considered to be superfoods due to their nutritional value. Typically, in 100g of chia there is:
- 20.7g of protein
- 32.8 g of oil, 64% of which are omega3 fatty acids
- 41.8g of carbon hydrate that unleash in 41.2g of fiber, 71.4mg of calcium, 16.4mg of iron, 613mg of niacin (B3), 0.18mg of thiamine (B1), 0.04mg of riboflavin (B2)
Benefits of Chia consumption:
Chia seeds are one of the most complete sources of protein from vegetal origin, and also one of the richest. Its combination of protein, vitamin and mineral content, as well as the resulting balance in the blood’s sugar level provides the body with an incomparable amount of energy, strength and resistance.
While regulating sugar levels in the blood, chia seeds also slow the process by which digestive enzymes decompose carbohydrates and turn them into sugar. After eating food high in starch or sweets, one can feel tired, lacking energy. When we balance sugar levels in the blood, we not only reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, but we also ensure maintaining a constant energy level during the day. When we add chia seeds to our food, we help avoid sugar level peaks in the blood, thus also regulating our insulin.
Chia seeds have also proven to help lose weight, given that the seeds and their unique jellifying action provide a sense of satiety for hours. Another positive effect is that its soluble fiber content favor intestinal regularity, literally sweeping through the intestinal tract, dissolving and eliminating waste accumulated in the intestines. This soluble fiber, as well as the seed’s jelly cover also helps maintain the colon’s level of hydration, ensuring a more regular digestion process.
Two other important benefits include: 1) chia seeds are gluten free, which renders them suitable for individuals who suffer from celiac disease; and 2) its oils, Omega3, magnesium and calcium can be utilized in anti-inflammatory treatments.