Health benefits of Chia seeds
Everyone’s talking about the health benefits of Chia seeds! These wholegrain seeds (from the South American plant- Salvia Hispanica L, a member of the mint family) are increasingly popping up in cook books and recipes! Native to central and south America, they have been a traditional food since ancient times, boasting medicinal properties. Let’s look a little deeper into the nutrition surrounding these tiny seeds and why they’re making their way into kitchen cupboards across the world!
Health benefits of Chia seeds – Omega 3 fatty acids
Chia seeds, are a great vegetarian source of the Omega 3 essential fatty acid, Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). It is ‘essential’ that we get ALA from our diet, as our bodies can’t make it. These essential fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, offering health benefits to a number of chronic diseases such as Heart disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Diabetes and Arthritis.
Health benefits of Chia seeds – Fibre
Chia seeds are a great source of gluten/wheat free fibre. They promote bowel movement by increasing the water content and bulk volume of our stools (number 2’s!), keeping us nice and regular. Fibre is important in the prevention of bowel cancer, constipation and slowing the absorption of sugar into our blood stream.
Health benefit of Chia seeds – Minerals
Chia seeds are a source of the minerals Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium – all essential for optimal growth and repair of our bodies. As part of a varied, balanced diet, Chia seeds can make a significant contribution to meeting the recommended daily amounts of these minerals.
The health benefits of Chia seeds- Research!
Sadly like many areas of nutrition the available research is limited and doesn’t back the huge nutritional hype surrounding these tiny seeds. But, with such a great nutritional CV behind them – I’ll be eagerly awaiting new research & more material to write a blog update!
The health benefits of Chia seeds – Egg free baking
Use Chia seeds as a replacement for eggs in your baking recipes. Ideal, when you’re catering for vegans or those with an egg allergy. Also, a great trick to know for when you’ve simply run out of eggs!
Mix 1 tablespoon of Chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water (per egg in recipe). Leave the mixture for 15 minutes before adding to your mixture. See the You Tube clip below for more information.
That same ability to form a gel with water also makes Chia seeds great in jam making!
The health benefits of Chia seeds – Try some today?!
The health benefits of Chia seeds are best achieved in complement with a varied, healthy diet. A word of warning though – discuss their use with your GP if you’re taking blood thinning medication or medications for blood glucose and blood pressure control. Chia seeds may increase the lowering effect of these mediations.