As the highest combined plant source of omega-3, fibre and protein, alongside a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, chia offers essential wholefood nutrition that is often lacking in the modern diet.
The health and wellness benefits are far reaching, from increased energy levels and improved digestive health, to helping promote healthy skin, hair and nails. The hydrophilic quality of chia seeds means they absorb up to 16 times their weight in liquid, which can lead to increased satiety and also helps your body regulate hydration and electrolytes.
The protein in chia contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a ‘complete’ protein. This is incredibly rare for a plant based source of protein. Amino acids are the building blocks of our bodies, and are essential for healthy muscles, hair, skin and nails.
Chia seeds are extremely absorbent, swelling up when soaked in water and forming a gel-like substance. This gel-forming action means that chia slows the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, keeping your body fuelled for longer periods of time. This slow carbohydrate conversion also stabilizes blood sugars.
Many athletes eat chia to improve their endurance, aid mobility and help with muscle repair. The absorbent quality of chia seeds also results in better regulation of body fluid levels and electrolyte retention.
With 36% fibre content and a perfect balance of 80% insoluble versus 20% soluble, chia helps lower cholesterol, improves intestinal health and regularity and can reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water, swelling to form a gel-like substance. This form of fibre has many benefits, including moderating blood glucose levels and lowering cholesterol. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and actually remains close to its original form throughout its path through the digestive system, providing roughage to keep you regular and lowering the risk of colon cancer.
Chia seeds swell in liquid, forming a gel-like substance. This gel-action thickens and bulks-up food, helping you to feel fuller for longer. Many people find adding chia to their meals can help them to avoid overeating, and regulate daily calorie consumption.
By slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, chia provides a slow and steady release of energy - perfect for a pre-workout snack or post-excercise re-fuel.
Studies have shown that adding chia to your diet can help control type II diabetes by helping reduce body fat, lowering blood sugar and reducing insulin resistance
Our own renowned dietician, Emma Morris of Stay Tuned Sports Medicine, recently conducted a study of her own which showed that including just one tablespoon of chia per day helped type II diabetics reduce their morning blood glucose levels as well as glucose levels two hours after dinner.
Just one tablespoon of chia will provide you with 100% of your daily requirement for omega-3 ALA.
Research shows that plant-based omega-3 is essential for a healthy heart by helping to lower cholesterol while maintaining proper artery function. Both omega-3 ALA and DHA (found in oily fish) are vital in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, however The Heart Foundation recommends a daily consumption of omega-3 ALA as opposed to only once or twice per week for omega-3 DHA.
Chia offers a rich nutrient profile which can play an important role in keeping hair shiny, nails strong and skin glowing.
The rich fiber in chia acts as a natural detox for your skin by removing toxins from the body and aiding the absorption of antioxidants and vitamins. Omega-3 can help your skin retain moisture, while antioxidants protect the skin cells from oxidization and aging.
Chia has a remarkable absorption quality and offers a natural anti-inﬂammatory action for the skin. The protein in chia is essential for cell regeneration, while vitamin B promotes general skin health. Copper and iron can help prevent hair loss, while calcium and magnesium encourage healthy hair growth.
We have our own registered and accredited dietitian, Emma Morris, on stand-by to answer any health or nutrition questions you might have about chia.
Emma works in a private practice for the renowned Stay Tuned Sports Medicine, where she consults with clients one-on-one and conducts group programs to help people live healthier and more nutritious lives. Stay Tuned Sports Medicine is a complete wellness center based in Melbourne, Australia, and is dedicated to helping people of all ages and backgrounds achieve their best life possible. Emma regularly hosts workshops at major corporations and also helps elite athletes use diet to gain a competitive advantage.