Many manufacturers and health food advertisers have been crediting chia with a number of health benefits: aiding weight loss, lowering cholesterol, controlling sugar levels in diabetics and preventing heart attacks. But are these just tall claims? A nutritionist answers.
Nutritionally Chia seeds are rich in fats, particularly polyunsaturated [including omega-3 fats] and monounsaturated fats, protein, antioxidants and calcium. They also contain a good amount of iron and other minerals like potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.
Source of omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential acids which are necessary but cannot be made by the body and hence have to be obtained from foods. They have been known to reduce inflammation and blood triglycerides, thereby helping to prevent heart disease and stroke among others. Like all plant sources [flax seeds, walnuts, leafy vegetables], the omega-3 present in chia seeds is in the form of ALA [alpha linolenic acid].
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain about 4,500 mg of omega-3, which is a li le less than flax seeds, the other power house of omega-3.
Source of fibre
Fibre helps not only to relieve constipation but also in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Two tablespoons of chia has about 10g of fibre. It is regarded as a good source of fibre as adults need about 25 – 40g of fibre per day. As foods with fibre take longer to digest, chia seeds may help in keeping you feeling full longer, just like other high fibre foods.
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