Chia seeds are the edible seeds obtained from a flowering plant of mint family (Lamiaceae) Salvia hispanica, this is native to central and Southern Mexico. In 16th Century during Pre-Columbian times Chia was as important as maize crop. Mainly in Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Mexico and Paraguay chia seeds are used for nutritious drinks and food. There are two types of chia seeds black coloured and white coloured seeds. They are tiny plants and yield tiny seeds which more nutritional values in it which are beneficial to heart and keeps body healthy. In current situation with increase in the health awareness throughout the world, demand for healthy foods is also increasing and by using chia seeds in our daily diet, it may prevent many diseases like diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular. In India by growing this crop it also provides farmer an additional benefit and can increase his standard of living.
Chia seeds are tiny oval and grey coloured with having black or white spots, it’s having a diameter around 2 millimeters. The seeds are hygroscopic in nature which can absorbs up to 12 times their weight of water when kept in liquid and soaked. It develops a mucilaginous coating that gives unique gel texture when they are used in any foods or beverages. They can be soaked in water and consumed directly or mixed with any kind of milk or juice.
Nutritive value of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds contains 42% carbohydrates, 30% fat, 34% dietary fibre and 16% protein 16%. They are also rich source of vitamins B, thiamin and niacin. Moderate source of riboflavin and folate. They also provide essential minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. Fatty acids obtained from chia seeds oil are majorly unsaturated in nature which contains polyunsaturated fatty acids 17–26% of linoleic acid and 50–57% linolenic acid. Fatty acids like linolenic acid are not synthesised naturally in body so they are required to take it additional and this fatty acids can be provided by chia seeds. Oil derived from chia seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids which can improve heart rate variability and protect heart diseases.
Omega-3 fatty acids also helps in rising High-density lipoprotein cholesterol which are the “good” cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke. 5 grams of fibre is contained in full table spoon of chia seeds, this fibre helps in weight loss and helps reduce weight in humans. It has ability to convert glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate which could have a positive effect on people with having type 2 diabetes.
Consuming this seeds in a diet which is having good amount fibre prevents constipation and promotes for a healthy digestive tract. It is also beneficial in removing harmful toxins from body and it contains good amount of calcium and magnesium compared to milk. In a recent study it revealed that chia seeds have an ability to stabilize blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, prevent strokes by inhibiting platelet aggregation and reduce high blood pressure.
By adding 1.5 table spoon of chia seeds in Oat meal or any drink it provides 12–15 grams of fibre. As a recommendation we should consume 19–40 grams of fibre per day. Chia seeds contains better amount of calcium which are important in improving bone health and density when the diet was supplemented with chia seeds.
Antioxidants plays vital role which helps in cancer-fighting, they fight with free radicals which cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA. As chia seeds are rich in antioxidants they provide good amount of antioxidants to body.
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