Chia seeds: The Mayan secret to better health

If you're looking for a new way to get a boost of nutrients into your daily diet, you might want to take your inspiration from the eating habits of the ancient Aztecs and Mayans. Today, all that remains of these historic civilisations are the ruins of majestic temples and artefacts uncovered from archaeological digs, but one of their best-kept nutritional secrets is slowly making its way to the mainstream.

Depending on how  much you keep up with the ‘super food’ trends today, you may or may not have already heard about the many benefits of chia seeds. Originating from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, chia seeds are grown commercially in countries such as Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina.

Just what are these seeds and why are they being touted as the next big thing in health and nutrition? The secret lies in the various beneficial nutrients that can be found within these seeds, such as fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers are still conducting further studies into the scientific benefits of these nutrients, but there’s no denying they contain a range of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the human body.

All about chia seeds

Chia seeds are small and typically appear black or white in colour. They are a part of the whole grain family and can be eaten cooked or raw in their original seed form, which makes them highly versatile.

The ancient Aztecs and Mayans ate chia seeds as a staple part of their diets, and it’s starting to be more common in today’s modern foods and beverages as well. The word chia itself means strength, and that’s a pretty apt term considering the range of nutrients you can enjoy from a single serving of these tasty seeds. It’s even rumoured that Aztec and Mayan messengers would eat the seeds to boost their energy over long distances.

It’s thought that chia seeds could have the potential to aid in weight loss and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases – one of the leading causes of death around the world. Studies looking into these effects have produced mixed results, but one found that rats fed with chia seed supplementation did exhibit a higher omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in several tissues.

Chia seeds contain several vital nutrients, with one of the most important being fibre. Fibre is important for the healthy regulation of the body’s bowel movements as it prevents and relieves constipation, and it can also slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream to improve blood sugar levels.

Another healthy substance found in chia seeds are omega-3 fatty acids, which help to protect against cardiovascular disease and support the body’s normal functions. In fact, these super seeds contain more omega-3 and dietary fibre than any other plant-based food source.

Chia seeds also have varying amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and niacin – part of the B complex of vitamins that help the body convert food into energy.

How can I get chia seeds into my diet?

With a mild and pleasantly nutty flavour, chia seeds are easy to add into a range of dishes, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can sprinkle a hefty dose onto your cereal or add into your yoghurt for a crunchy kick to your normal breakfast staples.

When you’re on the go, add some of the seeds into your salads and smoothies for an easy lunchtime meal. You can also mix them with cornmeal to provide a crunchy coating for fish, or combine with your favourite muffin recipe for a healthy snack.

Chia seeds are also delicious in desserts, whether you freeze them in homemade ice blocks or add coconut milk, honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon to create a sweet pudding. There is no end to the ways you can add this super food into your diet, so don’t be afraid to start experimenting with your own batch of homemade recipes.

 

BioBalance Organic Chia Seeds are one of the richest plant based sources of Omega 3, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants. Nature’s complete superfood, Chia seed is also high in vitamins and minerals including Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium. Buy them now from our secure online shop.

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Sources

http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia

http://nutrition.about.com/od/grainsandcereals/a/Chia-Seeds.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/omega-3-fatty-acids-fact-sheet

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b3-niacin

http://noshon.it/blog/2013/08/10-must-make-recipes-using-chia-seeds/

http://www.rachaelray.com/blogs/index.php/2013/10/01/coconut-chia-pudding/

http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Chia-seeds-may-offer-omega-3-heart-and-liver-benefits-Study