Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Article # 544. Health Benefits of CHIA SEEDS


Chia seeds are native to South America and have been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Today, they draw the interest of many people for their health benefits and uses in cooking. It turns out the South American staple is a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants.
Antioxidants
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds' lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids -- specifically, of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA. The omega-3s in chia seeds can help reduce inflammation, enhance cognitive performance and reduce high cholesterol.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Chia alleviates a multitude of factors that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention considers risk factors for heart disease. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes have been linked to cardiovascular issues. Chia's omega-3s, especially the alpha-linolenic acid, reduces plaque buildup associated with heart problems.

Nutrition

Along with essential fatty acids, chia contains minerals and vitamins that protect cells. There is as much calcium in 3 oz. of chia as there is in 2 cups of milk. Iron in 4 cups of spinach equals the same as 3 oz. of chia.

Can Be Digested Whole
Unlike flaxseeds, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to obtain their nutrient or egg- replacement benefits.

Sleep Aid


Chia seed contains tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sound sleep. The healing effects originate from serotonin, a neurotransmitter needed for tryptophan formation.

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