Chia seeds are one of the increasingly fashionable products among the so-called superfoods, although they have been among us for several years now. It seems that now they are making a dent in our pantries and more and more gurus of the trends that surrender to them and their supposed multiple benefits. Do not go crazy because there is no miraculous food, but we do give you 11 reasons to add chia seeds to your diet in case you need reasons to encourage you to try them.
Its diffusion has followed a similar path to that of quinoa, with which it shares some characteristics. Chia is not a cereal, it is a seed native to regions of Mexico and Guatemala where we know it was cultivated by the Aztecs. After the colonization of America, it fell a little in oblivion but in recent years not only its production has been rediscovered, but also It has become the fashion ingredient among those who promote a healthier life, and it is especially consumed by vegetarians and vegans.
1. High concentration of nutrients
The main feature that makes Chia seeds deserve its status as superfood is the high concentration of nutrients that it presents in very little weight of product. They are very energetic, with almost 500 kcal per 100 g, but you have to contemplate them as other seeds or as nuts. For example, almonds or sesame are also very caloric and yet they are considered very healthy, yes, in small amounts.
The recommended ration of chia seed consumption is 1 ounce, about 28-30 g. In this case we are facing 137 kcal that also add a lot of nutrients, highlighting fiber, healthy fats and vegetable proteins. If you think chia seeds are too expensive or too caloric, think that you will actually consume small amounts each time. A package should spread and last a long time in the pantry.
2. They are very versatile in the kitchen
You don't know what uses you could give a seed like this? You just have to be something creative, really just just add them to whatever we can think of. The easiest way is to add them raw to soups, smoothies, purees, fruit salad, cereal hives, porridge, yogurt or salads.
They can also be used for enrich pastry doughs as cookies and biscuits, or for the mixture of seeds that we use in homemade bread. But in addition chia seeds allow to prepare particular recipes thanks to their culinary properties, since when they get wet they release mucilage and become a kind of jelly. There are many recipes to experiment with.
3. Provide healthy fats
That portion of chia seeds that we have mentioned contains about 9 g of fat, of which the vast majority are polyunsaturated fatty acids. Is about healthy fats, the so-called omega 3 and omega 6, essential for the organism and that we must ingest daily through food.
These fats are beneficial to protect the cardiovascular system, they help lower blood cholesterol and also blood pressure. Therefore, it is a fatty food but with positive effects, and we must never forget that fats are also an essential part of the daily diet, always in its proper measure.
4. It is a good source of fiber
One serving of chia adds 12 g of carbohydrates, of which 11 g correspond to dietary fiber. They are therefore a very rich fiber food, since with that portion we would almost reach half of the recommended daily fiber intake. It is a good extra contribution for those who find it difficult to reach the desirable amounts, although it should not replace fruits and vegetables.
By presenting such an amount of fiber in such a low weight, chia seeds They are very satiating, and if we let them hydrate in water, milk or juice, they multiply their volume. Fiber helps us to have a good gastrointestinal system, helps keep cholesterol low and can prevent some diseases such as certain types of cancer, in addition to helping to regulate blood sugar.
5. Ideal for breakfast
Precisely because it is so rich in fiber and its satiating power, it is a product especially recommended for breakfast. Early in the day is when the body usually receives better foods with high concentrations of fiber and will also make us satiated for longer. A breakfast with chia seeds can be the perfect complement for a particularly intense workday, or when we don't know if we are going to have a mid-morning break to recharge.
Another advantage is that it hardly takes time to prepare and can even be done to take away, so there are no excuses for not having breakfast. Simply mix one or two tablespoons of seeds with milk or a vegetable drink, add fruit and / or yogurt, and mix. If you prefer to save even more time in the morning, can be prepared the night before, thus also its gelling power will be released.
6. It is a powerful gelling agent
This power, as we have already said, responds to the substance called mucilage that Chia seeds release when hydrated in contact with any liquid. It produces a gelatinous viscous solution that causes them to increase in volume and change the texture of the recipe.
This property makes chia a very interesting ingredient to play in the kitchen, since allows to make creams, puddings, and thick shakes. In addition, different jams can be prepared and enriches doughs such as crêpes and pancakes.
7. Rich in minerals
Lately it seems that the fashionable mineral - if you can say something like that of an essential mineral - is magnesium, we find it supplemented in all kinds of foods, some absurd. But let's not forget that there are others basic minerals for the proper functioning of the organism, and chia seeds are a good source of some of them.
Yes, they also contain magnesium, but in addition provide calcium, manganese and phosphorus, in addition to somewhat smaller amounts of zinc and copper. A portion of chia seeds could provide us with up to 30% of the recommended daily amounts of manganese, 27% phosphorus and 18% of calcium. Therefore, added to a varied and balanced diet, they make it unlikely that we have any deficits.
8. Excellent for athletes
For all the properties mentioned, chia seeds are an ideal addition to the athlete's diet, which can also increase consumption rations as it has higher energy needs, especially on competition or training days. Some athletes add them to their isotonic or energy drinks to reduce the consumption of sugars and increase that of fatty acids, and can be taken both before and during and after exercise.
Chia helps both to load the body of nutrients and energy and to replenish it during physical activity and to recover once it is finished. In any case it is advisable not to take large amounts because they have a lot of fiber, and better gradually incorporate them to assimilate them well. They can also simply be added to food at any time of the day, they will also add benefits without being a training food as such.
9. Quality vegetable proteins
In relation to the sport of the previous point, there is another interesting quality of chia seeds, its high in vegetable proteins, which help to recover the muscles after physical exertion. That amount of protein makes them, however, much more attractive for vegetarians and vegans, and in general for anyone who regularly takes an excess of animal fats.
They are not complete proteins but of quality. One serving contains 4.4 g of protein, including essential ammonia acids. It therefore favors muscle growth and tissue regeneration, but without being a miraculous product for building muscle, as some want to believe. It should not be limited as the only source of protein in any diet, but they can be a good supplement.
10. You can substitute the egg in pastry recipes
Thanks to the gelling power that we have already mentioned, chia seeds have become the preferred egg substitute in pastry recipes by vegans or intolerant of the egg. He chia egg It works just like the equivalent of flax seeds, imitating the binding and thickener power of the egg, although they do not give good results as sparkling.
First you have to grind the seeds. It is enough to mix very good a tablespoon of 15 ml of ground chia seeds with three tablespoons of water. Let stand about 10 minutes until it thickens, and it can be added to the dough as if it were a beaten egg. It works with most recipes for biscuits, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and cakes, but they can't be beaten to get aerated Genoese style souffles.
11. Helps regulate appetite and improves good mood
Since they have a lot of fiber, protein and satiate, They are excellent for regulating appetite, avoid hunger attacks or sugar dips that lead us to storm the candy machine. This makes chia seeds a good ally to lose weight or maintain a certain diet, always in moderate portions. This way they can also help us increase good mood, improve our mood in general.
Both for its nutritional properties, with interesting health benefits, and for its gastronomic possibilities, chia seeds are a fashionable food that is worth incorporating into our diet. I insist that it is not a miraculous product and its consumption should be moderated within reason, but with these 11 reasons you already have more than enough reasons to encourage you to try chia seeds In your day to day.
Have you tried them yet? You can get inspired with these recipes:
Images | Pixabay, Jules, insatiablemunch, T. Tseng, Molly, Sean MacEntee, graibeard, Jo, ljguitar
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