Chia seeds have received recognition in recent years for their numerous health benefits. Largely recognized today as a type of superfood, chia seeds can be consumed on their own or can be used in a variety of different recipes, being Chia Fruit Spreads one of them..
The Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seeds
What chia seeds lack in size, they more than make up for in nutritional benefits.
Today, we know that chia seeds are capable of producing an important amount of extractable oil, up to 30%. 60% of the oil produced by chia seeds is an Omega 3 fatty acid of the ALA (Alpha Linoleic Acid) type. As we now know, such fatty acids are quite good for optimal cardiovascular health, together with the other two main types of Omega 3, which are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Chia seeds actually contain one of the highest percentage of Omega 3 ALA in the world, together with Flax Seeds. While that alone is certainly a great health benefit, chia seeds also have another important advantage over flax seeds. Since chia seeds do not deteriorate, they are able to be stored safely for long periods of time without the possibility of becoming rancid. Rancid oils not only disturb your digestion, but may also result intoxicating. Also, unlike flax seeds, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order for the body to absorb their nutritional benefits.
It is also very important, to mention that many people use fish oil as a source of Omega 3 DHA and EPA, consuming it as supplements in capsules. However, it has been recently documented by Consumer Labs (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/fish_oil_supplements_review/omega3/), that the ingestion of Omega 3 in supplement form, is not near as effective as the consumption by eating fish or algae and that it may not be as beneficial as people think. Chia seeds provide a natural, not processed, direct and vegan option to consume Omega 3 ALA. However, it is recommendable that people consume also either fish or algae in natural form in order to obtain the other two Omega 3 (EPA and DHA) fatty acids, which are important for the body function.
Second to Omega 3, chia seeds contain a wealth of dietary fiber. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain approximately 7 grams of fiber, much more than is contained in bran flakes. The combination of a high fiber content and the high mucilage content of chia, make this seed a great aid to your digestion and contribute importantly to the good function of your intestine.
While most people commonly associated meat with being a source of protein, in reality it is not the only source, chia seeds boast approximately 20% protein. Therefore, chia seeds are an excellent plant based source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
Along with being a source of healthy fats, chia seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that chia seeds contain more antioxidants than fresh blueberries. Antioxidants are important, as they are known for their ability to scavenge free radicals and help to prevent heart disease, cancer, infection, and a number of other illnesses.
Chia seeds are also an important source of calcium. According to some experts, chia seeds may actually contain more calcium than 2% milk. An excellent option to obtain calcium for vegans and vegetarians or in general for people intolerant to lactose unable to consume milk.
Along with helping to improve your nutritional health, chia seeds may also be able to make a difference in your mood. This is due to the energy that these seeds provide.
Gluten Free and Low Sodium
Individuals who are allergic to gluten or who need to watch their sodium intake will be delighted to learn that chia seeds is a gluten free seed, no gluten and only very small levels of sodium.
As if all of these nutritional benefits were not enough, chia seeds also contain in lower quantities a wide assortment of minerals, such as magnesium, copper, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.
Given all of the nutritional advantages offered by chia seeds, it is little wonder that they have become known as one of the main the superfoods of our times.