Chia seeds, Calories, benefits and harms, Benefits

Chia (Spanish sage) is an annual herb, native to
from southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. And chia seeds are small
Oval-shaped “grains” of black, gray or white colors, length
2 mm, width from 1 to 1,5 mm and thickness less than 1 mm, about which more
few years ago in our country very few people heard. But it is precisely
these small seeds are today increasingly called hardly a panacea
from obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
With such a reputation for medicinal and nutritional properties, the seeds
chia has become one of the most studied foods in the world.

Health benefits of chia seeds

Composition and calorie content

Chia seeds contain (in 100 g): .

Calories 486 Kcal

B3 8,83 Phosphorus,
P 860 Vitamin C 1,6 Calcium, Ca 631 Vitamin
B1 0,62 Potassium, K 407 Vitamin E 0,5 Magnesium, Mg 335 Vitamin
B2 0,17 Sodium,
On 16

Full composition

The chemical composition of chia seeds has been analyzed by many researchers,
therefore, depending on the source of information, the values ​​may
vary slightly. Indeed, the chemical composition and nutritional
value can be influenced by climatic conditions, geographic location,
year of cultivation and other factors.

For example, the composition of fatty acids can vary depending on
changes in climate and plant height – the higher the plant is located
the region and the colder it is, the higher the omega-3 content
unsaturated fatty acids in the product. But in April-May due to
temperature rise, the amount of polyunsaturated
fatty acids are reduced.

CHIA lettering from chia seeds

But even with these variations, we can say that chia seeds contain
a large amount of fat (30-33%), carbohydrates (26-41%), food
fibers (18-30%), proteins (15-25%), vitamins (A, B, K, E, D),
minerals, 32-33% fiber,
have pronounced antioxidant properties.

  • Omega-3 and Omega-6. The name “chia” comes from
    from the Spanish word that means “oily”. The main
    the components of such an oil are called polyunsaturated fatty
    acids: α-linolenic omega-3 / ω-3 class and linoleic class
    omega-6 / ω-6 .… Seeds
    chia contains 39% oil (by weight of dry seeds), in which
    up to 68% ω-3 and up to 19% ω-6 fatty acids ..
    The ratio of ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids is 0,3: 0,35 ..
    100 g of polyunsaturated fatty acids product contains about
    390-395% of the daily value.
  • Proteins. The protein content of chia seeds is
    about 18%, which exceeds the protein content of all other cereals
    (for example, in corn
    protein content is 9,4%, in rice – 6,5%, and in wheat
    – 12,6%). Such amino acids are found in seed proteins
    such as arginine, leucine, phenylalanine, valine and leasing glutamine
    and aspartic acid, alanine, serine, and glycine. Lack of
    protein gluten makes chia seeds a valuable product for patients,
    suffering from celiac disease.
  • Minerals. Chia seeds contain minerals
    like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium. Calcium content here
    more than rice,
    barley, corn and oats and twice as much as milk.
    But the amount of magnesium, potassium and phosphorus in chia seeds is also
    exceeds the amount of these minerals in other cereals.
  • Vitamins. There are relatively many vitamins in seeds
    A, K, E, D, vitamins
    group B – mainly B1, B2, niacin (B3 / PP). So, at 100
    g of the product contains more than 41% of the daily value of thiamine (B1),
    almost 45% of the norm of vitamin PP. In addition, 100 grams of seeds provide
    120% of the daily need for vitamin K and about 55% of the need
    vitamin C.
  • Phenolic compounds. Dry chia seeds contain
    8,8-9% phenolic compounds. Also reported to be high
    caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, qurentin, rosemary,
    gallic, cinnamic, myricetic, kaempferolic acids. it
    important, since some of them exhibit anticarcinogenic, antihypertensive
    and neuroprotective effects.

When we speak of chia seeds here, we mean black seeds. AND
although, in addition to black, there are also white, their phytochemical
profiles are practically the same and most researchers
describe black and white “kernels” as analogues. Not a big difference
found only in morphology: white seeds are larger, thicker
and wider than black.

Chia seeds close up

Medicinal properties

Given this chemical composition, the use of chia seeds
as a dietary supplement has the potential to provide support
work of the digestive system, improve the condition of the skin, strengthen
bones and muscles, reduce the risk of heart disease and

Chia seeds and their oil are high in natural antioxidants,
such as tocopherols, phytosterols, carotenoids and polyphenols

Polyphenolic compounds are the most important complexes
which contribute to the antioxidant activity of chia seeds. It is known
that they have the ability to scavenge free radicals, chelate
ions and give off hydrogens..

Antioxidant compounds reduce the risk of developing cancer and
cardiac pathologies, provide protection against such diseases,
like diabetes, disease
Alzheimer’s disease
Parkinson.… Omega-3
fatty acids have the ability to block calcium dysfunctions
and sodium channels, which can cause hypertension, and
improve heart rate variability and protect against ventricular

A high amount of fiber reduces the risk of ischemic
heart disease, risk of type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer,
a large amount of dietary fiber in the daily meal
reduces the feeling of hunger.

After the experiments “in test tubes”, some researchers
suggest that the occurrence of celiac disease and constipation,
and the risk of kidney disease can be reduced by additional
consuming whole and ground chia along with seed oil.

If we structure the therapeutic manifestations identified in
chia seeds in various clinical studies, it is possible
highlight two key areas of their potential use
in the restoration or maintenance of human health.

Sprouted chia seeds

  • Blood pressure and cardioprotective effect.
    The effect of chia seed powder on the reduction of arterial hypertension in hypertensive patients
    pressure and associated cardiometabolic factors were
    demonstrated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled
    Research .… Use
    chia did not cause any gastrointestinal, hepatic, or renal
    disorders. At the same time, the use of the ground product is consistently
    reduced blood pressure even in people with hypertension, previously
    taking medication. Moreover, this decrease was expressed in that
    the same degree as in patients with previous drugs for hypertension
    did not accept.
    In addition, the use of chia seeds (within a month, 50 g
    per day) led to a decrease in the content of omega-6 in the blood plasma,
    which, in turn, reduced the ratio ω-6: ω-3, thus creating
    way, cardioprotective effect.
  • Type 2 diabetes. Inclusion in the diet of food
    fiber and α-linolenic fatty acids of chia seeds improves health
    patients with major and mediated risk factors arising
    with type 2 diabetes. Seeds dramatically reduce postprandial
    glycemia when added to food only 37 grams of product per day
    and prolong the feeling of fullness. Comparison of the action of flax seeds
    and chia seeds on postprandial glycemia and satiety indicators
    showed that, despite the similarity in the composition of nutrients,
    chia appears to have the ability to convert glucose
    into a slow-release carbohydrate and affect the feeling of satiety
    to a greater extent than flax, (possibly due to the higher viscosity

Also seeds were seen as a promising product for inclusion
in the composition of laxatives, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory,
pain relievers. A number of scientists are studying its antidepressant
and sedative properties. Several studies have demonstrated
potential ability of bioactive peptides of chia seeds to restore
damaged tissue.

Chia seeds

In medicine

Despite numerous promising studies, the official
medicine chia seeds are not considered a medicine yet. But in pharmaceuticals
this product is considered as part of a delivery system
ω-3 fatty acids.

In stores selling dietary supplements today
you can freely buy prepackaged chia seeds. Manufacturers
recommend them as a means to reduce blood pressure and the level of “bad
cholesterol “, as well as a dietary supplement to restore energy
and strength.

In folk medicine

In traditional folk medicine of the inhabitants of Central America (on
the homeland of chia) with the help of plant seeds they treated colds,
digestive disorders. Seeds eliminated unpleasant odor
body, and the powder was sprinkled on the wounds for quick healing. Besides
Moreover, it was believed that it was chia seeds that gave the warriors of the Aztec army
endurance and strength.

However, the details of the medical use of pre-Columbian chia seeds
civilizations practically did not survive, and those that remained,
rely on an anonymous document from the middle of the 16th century (Code of Mendoza),
“Florentine Code” of the Spanish monk Bernardino de Saaguna
of the same time and scattered Jesuit chronicles.

In particular, Bernardino de Sahagun in his work on history
the Aztecs writes that from chia seeds mixed with white willow root,
preparing a healing drink (porridge) atole, useful for hemoptysis
and coughing. With such a drink, you can cure a multi-day and deep
chronic cough, as well as purulent diarrhea, if you drink the remedy
2-3 times a day. Squeezed from the semen will also help to cleanse the breast.
juice if consumed on an empty stomach.

Chia Fruit & Chia Smoothie

Not a lot of information about traditional methods
the use of seeds in the therapeutic practices of the Indians in part
due to the unhappy fate of the plant. It is believed that European
conquerors, conquering new territories, in every possible way eradicated such
important chia plantations for the indigenous people, thus leading to
the decline of the tradition of using seeds in medicine. For centuries about
practically nobody heard anything about this culture. And only in
In the second half of the 20th century, interest in chia began to revive again.

Therefore, modern traditional healers in their recommendations rely on,
mainly, not on ancient practices, but on the opinion popular today
about chia seeds, as a product that can have a beneficial effect on
health status of patients:

  • with type 2 diabetes,
  • with high blood pressure and cardiovascular pathologies,
  • with anemia,
  • with gastrointestinal disorders,
  • with disorders of the nervous system.

In addition, recently, in folk therapy, have become popular
recommendations for pregnant women to take chia seeds. It is claimed
that such an additive can improve the condition of the future and the mother,
and the baby, as well as ensure a sufficient amount of breastfeeding
milk after childbirth. But such recommendations are often met with objections.
even among a number of representatives of traditional medicine, as not quite

Due to its supposed regenerative properties, chia seeds
loved by athletes, bodybuilders, fitness lovers. It is assumed
that seed-based drinks quickly relieve fatigue and pain in
muscles, increase endurance and strength.

For therapeutic use, chia seeds are usually either ground
into powder, or poured with hot water (milk), so that through
add a quarter of an hour in a swollen form to the main dish, or
just eat separately.

Blooming salvia spanish

In scientific research

Recently, many new discoveries have been made concerning
nutritional properties, phytochemicals and extraction methods
chia seeds. But clinical trials are of particular interest.
involving people. The results of such work give more reliable
understanding of the therapeutic potential of the product. That’s why we
detailed them in the description of the medicinal properties of chia seeds.

However, it must be admitted that not all of the proposed therapeutic
the effects find experimental confirmation. For example,
Scientists Studying the Effect of Chia Seed Supplementation on Disease Risk Factors
in overweight postmenopausal women were not found to be significant
differences in indicators among women from the group who took seeds, by
compared with the indicators of the representatives of the control group..

Part of 62 overweight women aged 49-75 years received
within 10 weeks 25 g of crushed seeds per day. Scientists measured
body weight, blood pressure, serum lipid profile,
markers of inflammation from fasting blood samples, plasma fatty acids
and metabolic profile. According to the results of the experiment,
only an increase in eicosapentaenoic and α-linolenic acid in plasma
by 39% and 58%, respectively.

Other scientists have investigated the effects of chia seed oil
for performance, as a result of which it was also not found
any benefit from supplements..

The experiment involved runners, divided into two groups,
one of whom received 0,5 L of flavored water (placebo),
and the other is 0,5 liters of water with 7 kcal / kg of chia seed oil. Fence
blood tests were carried out before and after training “until exhaustion.”

The results showed that, despite the increase in alpha-linolenic
plasma acids in the chia seed oil group (337% vs.
with the “water” group 35%) there were no significant differences
neither in the duration of the run until exhaustion, nor in the tests for
respiratory exchange coefficient, oxygen consumption, ventilation
lungs, assessment of perceived load, as well as glucose levels
in plasma. The seed oil did not interfere with the increase in cortisol levels and an increase in
indicators of the inflammatory process. As a result, scientists stated
no positive effect of taking chia seed oil on treadmills
human abilities.

Chia seeds with kefir

For losing weight

The results of the work of scientists studying
weight loss and obesity reduction with chia seeds.

For example, the fact that chia seeds do not help reduce
weight and do not alter the risk factors for disease in adults with overweight
weight, said a group of scientists after an experiment involving 90
healthy men and women with overweight and obesity at the age
from 20 to 70 years.… Subjects took 50 g of chia seeds in
day for 12 weeks, and indicators were taken as accounting
body weight and composition, markers of inflammation from fasting blood samples,
markers of oxidative stress, lipid profile indicators.

Another group of scientists in their study of 77 patients with diabetes
2nd type., on the contrary, came to the conclusion that the transition during
6 months on a chia seed diet suppressed appetite and resulted in
in the group of subjects to a decrease in body weight, a decrease in circumference
waist, visceral and general obesity (compared with the control

Thus, there is no unambiguous data on the effectiveness of the application.
chia seeds in the fight against extra pounds. But despite this,
based on their own ideas about efficiency, people are pretty
Chia seeds are widely used for weight loss. Calculation, in this case,
often done on the absorbent capacity of seeds. It is known
that plant seeds are capable of absorbing water 12 times higher than
their own weight, while increasing in size and filling
stomach. The opinion about seeds is partially connected with the same phenomenon.
as a product that can quickly and permanently create a feeling of satiety.

In general, chia seeds are high in calories and contain
in 100 grams 480-490 kcal. In the nutritional guidelines published
in the US in 2000, it was even indicated that chia seeds could be used
as a staple food, but in limited quantities
with a recommended daily intake of seeds of no more than 48 grams.

Muesli with fruit and chia seeds

In cooking

In the food industry, chia seeds with a slightly nutty flavor are
can be used in different forms: whole, ground, in the form
flour (up to 5% of the total mass), oil and gel. They can be mixed
with cookies, pasta, cereals, snacks, yoghurts and cakes.
They are in perfect harmony with oatmeal
porridge. Sprouted seeds are placed in salads.

In Colombia, chia seeds are eaten instead of an energy drink or, previously
after frying, they prepare hearty jelly-like drinks from them. But since
not everyone likes a jelly-like drink made from swollen seeds, no less
popular is the smoothie in which the seeds are mixed with
berries, juice or milk. Such drinks are refreshing, and “sliminess”
it is almost not felt in them.

Let’s take the Chia fresco recipe as an example of a refreshing drink.
To prepare it, you need to dissolve in 300 ml of boiled water
3 tbsp. l. lemon juice
2,5 tsp sugar and 1 tsp. chia seeds. Next, you need to wait
10 minutes and, after the formation of a characteristic gel around the seeds,
mix everything well. In this form “Chia fresco” is ready to use.

Due to its hydrophilic properties, chia seeds are sometimes used
as a substitute for eggs and fat. Chia gel can also be used as
alternatives to butter or eggs in baked goods. It has been shown that oil
chia can replace about 25% of eggs
in cakes..

The nutritional value of butter can be increased by mixing
it with chia oil in a proportion of 6,5% to 25%, when the concentration
ω-3 fatty acid in chia-fortified oil increases from 4,17%
up to 16,74% Bonus terms and conditions apply..

Chia seed oil

In cosmetology

Despite the fact that chia seeds have recently become available
to the general consumer, they are already considered an integral part of phytocosmetology
and, together with oil, are widely used in home cosmetology

  • moisturizing and softening the skin,
  • elimination of edema,
    redness, burning and itching,
  • activation of hair growth,
  • massage procedures.

Below are examples of recipes for face and hair masks:

  • Mask for the face. Chia seeds (2 tablespoons)
    pour 70-80 ml with hot water and leave to cool. Drunk
    water “gel” seeds are ground in a blender with the addition of
    honey and olive
    oils (2 tsp. of each ingredient). For sustainable
    moisturizing and softening effect, the resulting mixture needs
    apply to the skin for 15-20 minutes, twice a week for
  • Hair Mask. To add shine to hair
    you will need 4 tbsp. l. ground chia seeds and half a liter of warm water.
    The seed powder must be mixed in water and then again after
    swelling, after 10-15 minutes. You can add to the chilled gruel
    lemon juice 50 ml. This mask is applied to the hair for a quarter
    hours, and then washed off with cool water.

Dangerous properties of chia seeds and contraindications

Chia seeds have quite a few contraindications. From their use
people with low blood pressure should refrain (because
chia can aggravate the condition of patients), as well as people who
take aspirin, which is explained by anticoagulant properties
seeds – it is believed that here, too, you can get uncontrolled
enhancing the effect of the drug that reduces
blood clotting. Due to the increased risk of bleeding
pregnant women are advised to include chia seeds in their diet only
doctor’s permission.

In addition, chia seeds can cause excess gas formation.
in the digestive tract, although if you limit yourself to the recommended 50 g per day,
then such a “side” effect is observed only in the case of an individual
intolerance to the product.

We have collected the most important points about the benefits and possible dangers of chia seeds.
in this illustration and we will be very grateful if you share
a picture on social networks, with a link to our page:

Health benefits of chia seeds

Selection and storage

Chia seeds come to our country already packaged in airtight
packages, so the main task when buying becomes the choice
a reliable manufacturer and country of origin. Today the seeds
chia have learned to grow even in the cold UK, however
they are produced on an industrial scale, mainly in Mexico,
Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Guatemala, Australia and
USA. All plants from South and Central America, thanks to the favorable
climate, they manage to give mature seeds with a maximum set of useful

Trusted brands are considered Navitas Organics, Earth Circle
Organics, California Gold Nutrition, Mamma Chia,
who supply
organic products. But the market is quite widely represented
and domestic companies with quality products. Product Compliance
standards are confirmed by quality certificates from the country of origin,
as well as national protocols. Therefore, when choosing the best seeds
chia should pay attention to the availability of these documents.

Chia seeds in pack

Seeds of rich black or white flowers are considered to be of high quality.
with a smooth shiny surface. White seeds may have serpentine
a pattern that does not affect the characteristics of the product. Worse if caught
seeds of a reddish or brownish hue. It can speak
about unfavorable weather conditions during cultivation, about immaturity
seeds or violations of storage rules. These seeds have a bitter
taste and it is better to refrain from buying them. But the principal
qualitative differences between white and black seeds are almost
not. It is believed that the former may contain slightly more protein,
and in the composition of the latter – antioxidants. But this difference is very insignificant.

Another factor to consider when choosing chia seeds is purity.
package contents. The inclusion of third-party elements (stems, pebbles,
grains or other seeds) indicates insufficient production control.
However, it is quite difficult to achieve .% purity of the collection, and insignificant
accidental inclusion of a “blade of grass” or “leaf” is generally allowed.

If before buying there is an opportunity to study chia seeds more carefully
and compare several options, then to determine the quality you can
conduct a simple experiment – mix the “grains” with liquid. Everything
chia seeds, upon contact with water, become covered with a jelly-like mass,
but the more it is, the better the product is.

Finally, good, ripe, properly stored seeds should have
neutral smell. An unpleasant odor may also appear due to
expiration date, and in connection with violation of transportation rules
and storage.

Store chia seeds at home in an airtight glass
dishes without access to light. If the original packaging includes
zip fastener, then the seeds can not be poured. In the fridge them too
you can not bet. It is sufficient to provide a storage temperature within the range
from +10 to + 25 ° С and adhere to the shelf life indicated on the package.
It is important to avoid high humidity in this case – uncovered seeds
easily damp and moldy.

Black and white chia seeds

Interesting Facts

Salvia hispanica L., also known as chia, is an annual herbaceous
a plant native to southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. Chia belongs to
to order Lamiales, mint family Labiate, subfamily Nepetoideae
and the genus Salvia. The genus Salvia has about 900 species that were
widespread for thousands of years in several regions
the world, including South Africa, Central America, North and South
America and Southeast Asia. However, today chia is not grown
only in Mexico and Guatemala, but also in Australia, Bolivia, Colombia,
Peru, Argentina, USA and Europe. However, it is Mexico so far
retained the title of the largest producer of chia in the world.

Historical records indicate that Salvia hispanica L. was used
along with corn, beans
and amaranth
ancient Mesoamerican cultures – Aztecs and Mayans – when cooking
folk remedies and food. In pre-Columbian societies, this was the second
main crop after beans. The plant was worshiped, and its seeds
used as a means of calculating and paying tribute.

Aztec warriors took plant seeds on campaigns not only to
to restore strength with their help. It was believed that such a food
the supplement could simply rejuvenate any organism and heal wounds. IN
In the Aztec communities, chia was used for food, cosmetics and religious

Legends of the Chumash (a people historically living in the coastal
areas of California) tell of a plant called ‘ilepesh
/ “Illepesh” (pronounced ghelaypaysh), which was used,
to “wake up the dead or nearly dead.” Researchers suggest
that ilepesh is chia. It is not known exactly how this plant was “awakened
dead. ” It may have been a root that was used to treat people,
suffering from strokes or heart attacks, which made them seem
“Almost dead”..

Chia seed

But on the other hand, it is known for certain that the Chumash messengers who ran
about 30 km or more per day, delivering messages between villages,
readily supplemented with chia seeds to maintain energy during
running time. However, as we saw earlier, modern research
super-potency of chia seeds as a stimulant of physical performance
do not confirm..

Some of the properties attributed to chia seeds today (that
is, to the seeds of Spanish sage), generally associated with this product
by mistake. For example, in the same California, it is ubiquitous
also pigeon sage, also traditionally consumed by indigenous
population for food. In the mountains of Central America, the “sage of the diviners” grows,
possessing narcotic properties. From its leaves, the aborigines traditionally
mined the hallucinogen salvinorin A. Probably this particular plant
the Aztecs called “pipiltzintzintli” in their myths, defining it as
sacred. Unlike Spanish sage (Salvia hispanica) sage
narcotic (Salvia divinorum) since 2009 included in the list of controlled
substances in many countries of the world.

Spanish sage (chia) should not be confused with another sage –
lavender (Salvia avandulifolia), which in nature, unlike
from a relative, just found in Spain and in the southern regions
France. But this sage and its seeds are not eaten. Only fragrant leaves
herbs that smell like rosemary are sometimes used in perfumery.

Considering that data on the therapeutic efficacy of seeds
chia are still ambiguous, apparently, it is too early yet unambiguously
call this product a super healthy food. This requires additional
research. But the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids in the composition,
as well as the abundance of proteins, microelements and phenolic compounds in seeds
make them one of the most promising candidates for study in
this direction.

See also properties of other products:

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Anna Evans

Author ✓ Farmer

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