Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica), also called Salba chia or Mexican chia, are the edible seeds of a flowering plant from the mint family. Native to Mexico and Guatemala, the seeds have a long history. They were a vital crop in ancient Aztec and Mesoamerican cultures. The seeds had medicinal applications and made up an important part of the peoples’ diets.Today, chia grows commercially in many countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Australia, and the United States. The seeds are widely recognized as a nutrient-dense addition to healthy diets.
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Chia seeds are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants include:
- Caffeic acid
- Chlorogenic acid
These nutrients help provide many significant health benefits.
Reduced Free Radicals
Antioxidants found in chia seeds can help to fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals cause oxidative stress and cell damage. Eating foods rich in antioxidants may help to reduce your risk of developing many health issues associated with free radicals, including heart disease, cognitive decline, and certain types of cancer.
Better Heart HealthChia seeds contain quercetin, an antioxidant that can reduce your risk of developing several health conditions, including heart disease. The seeds also high in fiber, which can help to lower high blood pressure and, in turn, reduce your risk of developing heart disease.Improved Blood Sugar LevelsChia seeds are high in fiber. Studies show that fiber may help to reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar levels, reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Research has also found that bread containing chia seeds triggers a lower blood sugar response than traditional bread, which helps to prevent high blood sugar levels.
Chronic inflammation can lead to health conditions like heart disease and cancer. Caffeic acid, an antioxidant found in chia seeds, can help to fight inflammation in the body. Eating chia seeds regularly may also help to reduce inflammatory markers, which often indicate the presence of an inflammatory disease.
Healthier Weight ManagementA 1-ounce serving of chia seeds has 39% of your recommended daily allowance of fiber. The soluble fiber in the seeds absorbs water, causing them to expand in your stomach and increase your feeling of fullness when you eat them. By letting you feel fuller despite eating less, chia seeds can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Better Bone HealthChia seeds have several nutrients that are vital for bone health, including magnesium and phosphorus. A single ounce of the seeds also contains 18% of your recommended daily allowance of calcium, which is vital for healthy bone, muscle, and nerve functioning. When compared gram for gram, chia seeds have more calcium than dairy products.