Ever Heard Of Chia Seeds? Here’s Why You Should Add Them To Your Diet

Chia Seeds (Salvia hispanica) have recently been branded a 'superfood'
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They’re something I’ve been using for a while now, but have only recently been getting any ‘press’ as a ‘super-food’

Not really sure I like the term ‘super-food’ but the media seem too!

Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family whose origin is believed to be in Central America where the seed was a staple in the ancient Aztec diet (1).

The great news is, they have a ton of health benefits associated with them so I thought I’s share 3 of the biggest health benefits with you and show you just why I think you should add them to your diet.

  • They are a great source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids (2), you’ve no doubt heard me bang on about how good omega 3 fatty acids are and how they can effectively ‘turn off the fat storage switch’
  • They’ve been shown to help reduce cholesterol (3) – a pretty impressive claim don’t you think? And with the growing rise in cases of ‘high cholesterol’ I can’t think of a better excuse to add them to your diet!
  • They can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and also help to make significant improvements for type 2 diabetics (4)

There’s some other great uses too, my favourite is to thicken sauces, now when you’re eating clean it can be a challenge to thicken sauces, but these bad boys are your saviour! Just add a couple of tablespoons to a runny liquid and you get a great sauce from it!

How to eat them

Simple really, add them to sauces like chilli and bolognaise to thicken them,sprinkle them onto yoghurt and berries for breakfast – this makes an awesome breakfast! Or just add them into your cooking where you can.

Just a word of caution – don’t eat them straight from the packet, because they can absorb a huge quantity of liquid for their size, they can absorb the water in your mouth and throat and make them difficult to swallow – stay safe and always add them to a meal.

Enjoy!

Martin

 

 

 

References:

  1. Health Benefits of Chia Seeds from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics [Internet]. [cited 2014 Oct 28].
  2. Mohd Ali N, et al. The promising future of chia, Salvia hispanica L. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012 Jan [cited 2014 Sep 4];2012:171956.
  3. Ayerza R, Coates W. Effect of dietary alpha-linolenic fatty acid derived from chia when fed as ground seed, whole seed and oil on lipid content and fatty acid composition of rat plasma. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007 Jan [cited 2014 Oct 15];51(1):27–34.
  4. Vuksan V, et al. Supplementation of conventional therapy with the novel grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) improves major and emerging cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes: results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2007 Dec 1 [cited 2014 Oct 31];30(11):2804–10.

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Marti Whitaker, EzineArticles Basic Author