Chef Shedric Wallace shares valuable insight on healthy eating and cooking and using Chia Seeds to fight inflammation, detox, and improve overall wellness.
Easy to prepare and easy to digest chia seeds are highly versatile ingredients that can be added to a variety of recipes.
In the quest to discover the ultimate nutritional boost, health enthusiasts all over the world have embraced unusual drinks and food. One of the most popular finds is the chia seed. While they have been around for centuries, they have recently become highly popular among vegans, vegetarians, as well as, with Paleo in the health-conscious communities.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are gathered from a distinct flowering plant that is native to Guatemala and Mexico. They were cultivated by the Aztecs, Toltecs, and Mayans for religious and food purposes. The seeds were believed to provide warriors strength and endurance during battle.
In fact, the word “chia” comes from the Mayan “chia bran,” meaning strengthening.
Chia seeds are a nutrient-dense food that contains healthy fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of ALA, protein, antioxidants, carbohydrates, and calcium.
Here is a quick sneak peek into what makes chia seeds power foods:
- An ounce of chia seeds contains 177 mg of calcium. Taking three tablespoons daily provides more calcium than a glass of cow’s milk.
- It is rare to find a plant-based source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish such as Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are all excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps prevent heart disease and is also a good source of vitamin D. Chia seed is one of those rare plant-based sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Chia seeds are a rich source of fiber, protein, and an array of micronutrients. Chia seed is 37% fiber naturally, which is helpful in encouraging healthy digestion and preventing the occurrence of colon cancer. Its fiber is mostly insoluble fiber which has been associated with reduced risk of diabetes.
- Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in the tiny chia seeds are great for skin regeneration. That means they are great for your skin, hair, and
- Chia seeds contain 19 percent protein. The quality of its protein is high, containing nearly all amino acids. It is great to use when making a high protein shake as it can increase satiety and reduce hunger.
- Chia seeds are very rich in many minerals. Minerals abundant in Chia seeds include phosphorus, manganese, copper, magnesium, selenium, iron, and calcium.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Reduces cholesterol: Chia seeds are a rich source of Omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce blood pressure, protect the heart, decrease lipid and triglyceride levels, and removes excess bad cholesterol that increases the risk of heart-related diseases.
Aids digestion. With an ample quantity of dietary fibers, chia seeds can help in proper bowel movement. The dietary fiber present in Chia seeds helps remove toxins and waste, hence preventing intestinal disorder.
Aids in weight loss: Chia seeds’ extreme water-absorbing capacity can keep the digestive tract hydrated and gives a feeling of fullness to reduce food intake and cravings. Regular intake of Chia can result in a reduction in weight and waist circumference
Reduce inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids in Chia seeds are responsible for reducing inflammation. It can help relieve joint pain and arthritis.
How to Use These Seeds?
It is easy to use chia seeds in food. It is a healthier alternative to processed grains such as white flour.
You can easily find ways to consume Chia seeds. One common traditional preparation to use Chia seeds is to ground them and turn into flour. It can be used when making tamales, tortillas or beverages.
Today, there are many foods to incorporate chia seeds:
- Chia pudding
- Homemade energy bars
- Fruit or vegetable smoothies
- Different baked goods
Chia seeds absorb 15 times the weight of the seed in water, so it is best to add them to a moist food or beverage. If you eat them dry they can absorb water inside your body and cause constipation or dryness. Once moistened, they offer incredible lubrication. They are an ideal food for athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone who wants to lose weight because they can make you feel full with a small amount.
With all these benefits, chia seeds are truly a power food. They are a versatile seed that can be used in a variety of dishes and beverages. Typical serving size of Chia seeds is 2 tablespoons or 1 ounce – which is enough to add textural crunch to most foods.
 Adda Bjarnadottir. (May 2015). Chia Seeds 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/chia-seeds#section1
 Heather McClees. (May 2017). Forget Cow’s Milk! Here’s Why Seeds Are The Most Overlooked Sources of Calcium. Retrieved from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/why-seeds-are-the-most-overlooked-sources-of-calcium/
 de Munter JS, et.al. (August 2007). Whole grain, bran, and germ intake and risk of type 2 diabetes: a prospective cohort study and systematic review. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17760498
 Goh YK, et.al. (January 1997). Effect of omega 3 fatty acid on plasma lipids, cholesterol and lipoprotein fatty acid content in NIDDM patients. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9028717
 Tavares Toscano L, et.al. (December 2014). Chia induces clinically discrete weight loss and improves lipid profile only in altered previous values. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25726210
 Ariza-Ariza R, et.al. (June 1998). Omega-3 fatty acids in rheumatoid arthritis: an overview. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9662755