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In recent years, chia seeds have become very popular. It is a product with multiple benefits, very versatile, with many properties and easy to include in a balanced diet.
Why so successful? They have many benefits for the body and high protein levels. Chia is one of the great allies of those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
The chia plant —Spanish Sage— belongs to the mint family. Its origin is Mexican and Guatemalan. The Aztecs already used it because of its valuable benefits.
Chia seeds high nutrition values —high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and protein, calcium and iron, significant amounts of fiber and multiple vitamins— make it one of the richest foods.
They do not contain gluten. Therefore, this food is suitable for celiacs and people with intolerance.
Chia is a superfood: it helps to lose weight, controls appetite, helps to maintain strong bones and strengthens our immune system.
Chia seeds contain 34% oils, of which more than half are Omega-3 fatty acids. These are groups of polyunsaturated fatty acids that play an essential role in the normal functioning of the human body.
In addition to protecting against cardiovascular problems, Omega-3 fatty acids have some beneficial effects on the brain, central nervous system, and other body structures.
In the Mayan language, chia means strength. Eating it for breakfast will ensure a morning full of energy and vitality.
Chia seeds contain slow-release sugars and a lot of fiber, so they help not having that awful feeling of emptiness in the stomach.
Two tablespoons of seeds —28 grams— contain approximately 100 calories. Considering that they absorb between 10 and 12% of their weight in water, they are an ideal food for low-calorie diets.
Their low-calorie content and the many properties and benefits it provides make them one of the star foods for nutritionists, being present in many of the most popular diets.
Its high fiber content makes chia a perfect food for controlling snacking between meals. By absorbing large amounts of water, the seed expands. Therefore, the stomach feels full for more hours, increasing the feeling of satiety.
Given the recent boom in vegan and vegetarian diets, which need to supplement animal protein with higher quality protein, these seeds have become a perfect food in many ways.
They contain twice as much protein as other seeds. Specifically, 14% of their weight is made up of protein. Proteins are essential for the construction of our cells, to regenerate and repair tissues and to protect the body from possible diseases.
They thus become one of the most beneficial and widely used plant foods among people who opt for a diet with no animal-origin products.
Chia seeds contain a large number of antioxidants that protect them from external agents and prevent them from oxidizing and aging.
This property is extrapolated to the human organism: the consumption of antioxidants makes it more resistant and strong against the production of free radicals, which cause the aging of cells. Reducing them is key to prevent or protect us to some extent from diseases such as cancer.
Their high calcium content —600 mg per 100 grams— as well as magnesium and phosphorus, make chia seeds very beneficial for maintaining dense and strong bones, avoiding fractures and helping to improve the mobility of the elderly.
Two tablespoons of seeds already provide 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. This property makes chia one of the foods that provide the most calcium, considering that a glass of cow's milk contains approximately the same percentage.
Thus, they are also perfect for all those who cannot have dairy.
The immune system requires protein to be strong and active. Chia seeds contribute to the maintenance and protection of our barrier against disease.
Having a strong immune system is essential to avoid the colds and flu that come with the onset of the cold, so it is highly recommended adding chia to our diet.
Now that we know some of the benefits and properties of chia seeds, it is important to know how to use them. They are a very versatile food and easy to introduce into our diet and also easy to cook.
It's as simple as adding a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds to a cup of hot water, letting it stand for 10 to 15 minutes and you're done!
The result is a gel or jelly that can be added to salads, soups, sauces, salty and sweet foods, desserts, yogurt or mixed with fruit.