Chia seeds have become a part of the essential everyday diet. They have a mild, nutty flavour and can be an excellent addition to a balanced diet. Chia seeds have taken the health industry by storm, and the benefits of chia seeds for hair, skin, and heart health are well known amongst many nutrition enthusiasts. They are packed with many healthy nutrients, including iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
What are chia seeds?
Chia, also called salba chia or Mexican chia, is the common name of the desert plant salvia hispanica, and chia seeds are the edible seeds of this flowering plant from the mint family. Chia origin is believed to be in Central America – Mexico and Guatemala – where its seeds were a staple in the Aztec and Mesoamerican culture's diet. Much further north, golden chia seeds (salvia columbariae), a related plant, were used primarily by Native Americans in the southwestern United States.
Chia seeds benefits for skin
Chia seeds can be beneficial for maintaining skin health by keeping it hydrated. Adding chia seeds to your diet can provide a lot of hydration since they can hold a lot of water. Rich in nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and potassium, regular consumption of chia seeds can help boost skin elasticity.
Aside from preventing free radical damage caused by UV exposure, chia seeds contain antioxidants. Chia seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which strengthen the skin barrier, keep it safe from environmental harm, and help prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
Do chia seeds promote hair health?
Chia seeds are packed with essential amino acids and minerals such as copper, phosphorus and zinc. Copper provides pigmentation to hair – copper ions play a vital role in the production of melanin, the pigment that imparts colour to hair and skin. Zinc and copper boost hair growth and prevent thinning of hair. Copper and phosphorus make hair strands thick and strong. Copper promotes blood flow to the scalp and hair follicles to boost hair growth. Iron makes your hair strong and healthy. Zinc also improves immune response and fights against scalp infections. Chia seeds can help strengthen hair due to their high keratin content. Keratin is a protein that provides a shiny, protective covering to hair.
Chia seeds may support weight loss
Chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Proteins are vital for building muscle, balancing blood sugar, and burning fat. Proteins also help to feel fuller longer and reduce appetite, reducing calorie intake. Chia seeds have a lot of fibre, essential for body functioning and regulating fat. The chia seeds' fibre content helps regulate digestion, move toxins and extra fat away from the body, and help you feel fuller for longer.
Chia seeds may lower your risk of heart disease
Chia seeds are high in omega-3s, and consuming them may reduce the risk of heart disease. Chia seeds contain quercetin, an antioxidant. Quercetin can reduce the chance of developing heart disease. Chia seeds are also high in fibre, which can help to lower high blood pressure – a severe medical condition that dramatically increases the risks of heart disease.
Chia seeds nutritional facts
The nutritional profile of about two tablespoons of chia seeds:
protein: 4.7 grams
fat: 8.7 grams
alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): 5 grams
carbs: 11.9 grams
fibre: 9.8 grams
calcium: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
iron: 12% of the DV
magnesium: 23% of the DV
phosphorus: 20% of the DV
zinc: 12% of the DV
vitamin B1 (thiamine): 15% of the DV
vitamin B3 (niacin): 16% of the DV
How to eat chia seeds
Chia seeds are flavourless, making them easy to add to many foods and recipes.