Chia, scientifically known as Salvia hispanica is a flowering plant native to Central and South America. Evidence of its first use as a cultivated plant dates back to the times of the Aztecs, who used the seeds as a powerful source of energy and protein. Chia is an excellent source of plant based omega 3 fatty acid, fibers, mineral like calcium, magnesium, manganese and copper. But above all it works as an amazing weight loss food that helps in reducing belly fat and developing toned, flat abs. Legend says that Mayan and Aztec warriors used chia as a source of stamina and power.
The health benefits of chia are innumerable but it has been ignored till now and only recently, with the present trend of natural weight loss foods is it coming back to the lime light. It helps in preventing age related and chronic diseases and heath conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and osteoporosis. It also helps in preventing cancer and boosting the functioning of the immune system.
Chia seeds are seen as a potential natural remedy for Type 2 Diabetes. It helps in regulating the insulin level in the body by decreasing insulin resistance. The high fiber content of chia seeds slows down the body’s natural mechanism of breaking down carbohydrates and converting them into sugar-thus preventing blood sugar from shooting up after a meal. It also slows down and prevents the inflammation caused by Type 2 Diabetes.
Being a rich source of several minerals such as iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and especially calcium with 18% of recommended daily allowance in one ounce it helps in improving bone and oral health in both children and adults and helps in preventing the risk of osteoporosis in older people. Calcium also helps in blood clotting and proper functioning of muscles and nerves.
The high level of fibers in chia absorbs considerable amount of water and expands in the stomach taking up a gel like texture and keeps us fuller for longer and reduces intake of calories. The proteins present in chia seeds also helps in reducing craving and food intake making it a perfect addition to any weight loss diet. Therefore add chia seeds to your daily diet if you are trying to lose weight.
Chia seeds have been shown to help reduce triglycerides and bad cholesterol LDL and increase the level of HDL or the good cholesterol. It also keeps blood pressure under control, reduces insulin resistance, inflammation of arteries and cuts down belly fat that works positively towards maintaining a healthy heart and preventing strokes and heart attack.
The high levels of polyunsaturated fats, especially omega 3 fatty acids present in chia helps in protecting the overall cardio-vascular health by lowering triglyceride levels, reducing plaque formation and controlling high blood pressure. The combination of fibers, proteins and omega 3 fatty acids helps in protecting the immune system, nervous system and improve metabolic health.
Chia seeds are one of the richest source of plant based omega 3 fatty acids, mainly ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic Acid) ideal for vegans. It has numerous health benefiting aspects like improving brain functioning and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, reducing inflammation and cholesterol, relieving joint pains, stiffness and arthritis. In addition, it also acts as an effective anti-depressant and helps in lowering depression and risks of bipolar disorder.
The high level of antioxidants in chia seeds helps in protecting the healthy fats present in the seeds and helps in recovering the cell damage caused by harmful free radicals. It stimulates the functioning of the immune system and protects the body against cancer, chronic diseases, and premature aging.
Chia seed is one of the best sources of fiber in the world and about 40% of its weight is from fiber that makes it one of the healthiest foods for those trying to lose weight. It is extremely low in carbohydrates and the fibers absorb a lot of water in the stomach forming a gel like substance that takes time to digest thus keeping us satiated for longer. The fibers also help in keeping the digestive system healthy by promoting proper bowel movement and supporting the friendly bacteria that helps in digestion.
Chia is not only a great source of calcium that helps in strengthening bones but packed with other minerals like manganese, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium and copper. While manganese helps in improving bone health and stimulates regeneration of red blood cells, phosphorus is required by the body for forming DNA and storing energy. Selenium prevents skin infections and acts as a natural cure for dandruff, magnesium and copper are required for proper nerve functioning.
Research shows that chia helps in increasing the performance and stamina for a more strenuous session of work out and in most cases it works more effectively than conventional health drinks and health supplements. Therefore, chia is a power food that can be consumed before an intense workout session.
Chia is an extremely diverse food grain that can be consumed in various forms-they can be eaten raw, mixed with porridge or puddings, as smoothie, or mixed with rice, vegetables and yogurt. Here are a few easy to make and healthy recipes using chia that can be included in the diet form effective weight loss.
This is a delicious and extremely healthy breakfast food with all the goodness of fruits, nuts and chia seeds that will be loved by the entire family and can be prepared in a jiffy.
Direction: Mix chia seeds, milk, honey and vanilla essence in a bowl and keep in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Bring out and pour in 2 medium sized glass bowls topped with the fruits and nuts, serve cold.
Chia is a great source of omega 3 for vegans and for those who are not much into fish, and coupling it with vegetables makes it a power packed side dish that is a perfect addition to any healthy diet.
Boil all the vegetables in a pot with a little bit of salt. Heat oil in a pan and add the dry chilies, let it splutter, now add the boiled vegetables and sauté for 4 minutes, sprinkle the chia seeds from top and sauté for another 5 minutes, sprinkle salt, black pepper and coriander, mix well and serve hot.
This is an amazingly tasty and healthy finger food that your family and friends would love to munch on. What’s even better is that it can be prepared with simple and easily available ingredients and takes so less time.
Direction: Mix ginger garlic paste, onion paste, ground pepper, turmeric powder and salt with the egg whites and keep aside. Cut the chicken breasts in to thin slices. Heat oil in a pan, dip each slice in the spice mixture and roll it over on the chia seeds and fry till the flesh is cooked. Serve with a dash of lemons.
This is a yummy and healthy chia recipe that can be enjoyed with breads, sandwiches, tortillas and burgers.
Direction: Pour all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until processed into a smooth spread. Enjoy it as a spread on tortillas and crackers, with vegetables sandwiches or as a dip with chips.
This is a mouthwatering and quick fix snack that not only tastes great but is loaded with health benefiting nutrients and proteins.
Direction: Add all the ingredients in to a blender and blend till it turns smooth. Pour in two smoothie glasses and top off with slices of strawberries.
Enjoy these easy to make and healthy Chia recipes and stay fit and healthy from within. Don’t forget to share your special chia recipes with us.
Deblina Biswas has an M.Sc degree in Nutrition from the University of Osmania and has tons of experience in Fitness and Nutrition. She loves everything about food and fitness and the fact that she has been able to follow her heart when it comes to her profession. When she is not working, she likes to rustle up delectable concoctions in the kitchen, of course keeping the health quotient intact. She says, everyone just loves her healthy biryani she makes for special occasions. She believes that most ailments can be cured with the right amalgamation of nutrition and fitness.
Weight Loss | Diabetes | Thyroid | PCOS