Friday, November 21, 2014

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds-Chia Seeds Nutritional Benefits and Side Effects

Today I am going to introduce Chia seeds. Many of you might be knowing about it as it is found in many health stores now a days. Chia seeds are small flavorless edible black seeds. They do not have a taste of their own but adds a nice texture to salads, smoothies and soups. Chia seeds are very absorbent and develop a gelatinous texture when soaked in water. They absorb nine times their weight in water. According to doctoroz.com chia seeds were a staple food, like corn and beans, in the diets of the Aztecs and Mayans. Chia actually got its name from the Mayan word for “strength.” Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds regularly. Chia seeds were considered to be almost magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy over long periods of time. Today we will see some of the health benefits of chia seeds.

Chia Seeds-Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids - Chia seeds contain a large amount of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber. According to research studies omega-3 fatty acids and fiber help reduce risk factors for heart disease. Chia seeds may lower blood pressure and reduce an individual's risk of heart problems. It is also one of the highest vegetable source of omega-3 fatty acids.

High in protein - The seeds are packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, essential fats, various vitamins like B vitamins and minerals like calcium, copper, zinc, etc. Chia seeds is a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.

Good source of calcium - Chia seeds are a good source of calcium which helps maintain bone strength and mass.

Excellent source of fiber - Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber. The fiber in chia seeds helps to lower cholesterol, reduces inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar and regulates bowel function.

Strengthens Immune system - They are high in antioxidants which strengthens the immune system and keeps you healthy.

Low in calories - The great thing about chia seeds is that you get maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories.

Anti-inflammatory - The anti-inflammatory properties of chia seeds are beneficial for arthritic patients. It has been found to be effective in reducing the pain and inflammation associated with the condition.

Increases stamina - Chia seeds are known to increase the energy production in the body. The energy produced by these seeds lasts longer allowing one to perform day-to-day tasks without getting tired and stressed.

Rich in Antioxidants - The antioxidants along with minerals and vitamins keeps you youthful and improves the condition of your hair and skin making you look younger.

Easy to add to your diet - You can add chia seeds to fruit juice, smoothies, yogurt, milkshakes, buttermilk, cereals, salads etc. They can be added to muffins or bread dough to increase the fiber and nutritive value.

Drawbacks/Side Effects 

Though chia seeds have many health benefits, they do have few potential health hazards.

Chia contains a lot of alpha-linolenic acid. Some research suggests that large amounts of alpha-linolenic acid in the diet might increase the chance of getting prostate cancer. If you have prostate cancer or have a high risk of getting it, avoid eating large amounts of chia.

Pregnant women should avoid eating chia seeds.

Do not take chia seeds, if you are allergic to it.

If you are taking medications such as blood thinners and aspirin, you might have an adverse reaction because of the relatively high content of Omega 3 in chia seeds. Omega 3 has been associated with potentially blood-thinning effects, which is why you should steer clear of chia seeds if you have been on aspirin or on blood thinners. Refer more side effects here.

References 
http://www.seedguides.info/chia-seeds/
http://superfoods.wikia.com/wiki/Chai_Seeds
webmd.com