Superfoods in the Spotlight: Chia seeds

The second post in my new series of blog posts about Superfoods is all about chia seeds. Chia seeds are actually the first Superfood I started with because they have a neutral taste which makes them perfect for just any dish. I like to add them to smoothiessmoothie bowls and on top of pancakes, but you can also sprinkle them over your salad. Chia seeds absorb water till about 9 times their weight which is part of why they give you a full and satisfied feeling. And as a bonus they hydrate your body in this way! To enjoy all the benefits the best you can do is to let them sit in a little bit of water for a couple of minutes before you use them so they can soak up the water and can be processed by your intestines without difficulty.

Chia seeds originate from the Aztecs were they were one of the most important nutritional sources besides corn and beans.

They are called a superfood because they contain very high amount of nutritional values which can be categorized into five main categories:
  1. Essential fatty acids: Chia seeds contain up to 4 times the amount of fatty acids compared to other grains. Fatty acids are very important for our body as they play a big role in the function of our vital organs. They contain the highest percentage of omega-3 which is found in nature. This improves brain functioning, lowering cholesterol, increase your resistance and decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is very good, namely 3:2. 
  2. Plant based proteins: This aspect of chia seeds is the main reason I use them, especially after my workout in a smoothie, they contain high amounts of proteins! Actually 23% of chia seeds consists of proteins. People who are allergic to dairy products like cow milk or gluten could easily use chia seeds as an alternative. Additionally, they contain all essential amino acids, which are also very well balanced with the amount of proteins, making them a very complete nutritional source.
  3. Vitamins, minerals and trace elements: Chia seeds also contain a great variety of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Among others: vitamin B1 and B3, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. If you compare this with other products, chia seeds contain up to 6 times the amount of calcium compared to milk, 15 time more magnesium than broccoli, and 3 time more iron then spinach. 
  4. Antioxidants: Antioxidants make sure that your organs and tissues remain healthy as antioxidants disarm the free radicals in our body and also prevent them from developing. These free radicals are one of the reasons that your skin and body in general are aging and of course this is something we all want to avoid! Additionally, by doing this antioxidants protect us against cancer and cardiovascular diseases. 
  5. Dietary fibers: Dietary fibers are abundantly present in chia seeds making them easily digestible and promote a healthy food digestion and intake of nutrients. Additionally, these fibers make sure that carbs are slowly absorbed by your intestines, thereby preventing a rapid raise of your blood sugar levels. 

Store chia seeds in a dry and dark place and they will be preservable for years thanks to the antioxidants!

Don't forget to read the first post of this series about Bee Pollen!

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