Chia seeds: more than just an omega-3 booster
Dhow X Soulsfood Nutrition
Thimpika Sachdej, a qualified & registered nutritionist, founded and currently runs Soulsfood Nutrition (@soulsfood_nutrition). A great solution for translating scientific evidence regarding health & nutrition into daily, achievable steps to practice at the comfort of your own home. Soulsfood mainly focuses on the benefits of whole foods and a plant based diet.
WHAT ARE CHIA SEEDS?
Chia seeds are the edible seeds of a flowering plant in the mint family native to central and southern Mexico called Salvia hispanica. They are unprocessed, whole grain seeds that are easily absorbed by the cells in our body. While chia seeds have gained massive popularity in recent years for their omega-3 fatty acids content, especially among those following a plant-based diet, they offer so much more. These tiny little seeds are packed with so many macronutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (beneficial plant compounds).
Here are some of the other amazing nutrients Dhow Chia Seeds offer:
Chia seeds contain about 30g of fibre per 100g, and most of this dietary fibre is in the insoluble form. However, just because it is insoluble in water doesn’t mean it doesn’t provide any health benefits. In fact, insoluble fibre is one of the key nutrients that your gut depends on! Insoluble fibre, as the name suggests, is not soluble in water and remains intact as it goes through the human digestive tract. As the fibre reaches your colon (or large intestine), it serves as food for the friendly gut microbes, allowing them to flourish and do their job.
The rest of this fibre is soluble, meaning it dissolves in water and helps to promote regular bowel movements. The soluble fibre works to slow your digestion and bulk up your stool, thereby helping you to stay fuller for longer and promoting healthy bowel motion.
This makes chia seeds one of the easiest and most convenient sources of your daily fibre! All you have to do is sprinkle a few teaspoons in your morning cereal, porridge, smoothies or on top of your toasts.
Chia seeds are also a good source of plant protein, which makes up about 20% of their dry mass. They supply all of the 10 essential amino acids - the building blocks of protein. These amino acids are called essential because they cannot be synthesised by the body and must be supplied with a daily diet. Their structural composition is too complex to be produced by the human body. Lucky for you, you can get all of these by simply adding chia seeds in your daily meals!
The presence of essential as well as non-essential (ones that your body can produce) makes chia seeds an excellent source of high-quality protein. The protein you get from them are complete, diverse and exactly what your body needs to function optimally.
Consuming chia seeds also provides you with many essential nutrients. Every 100g of chia seeds is packed with approximately 900mg phosphorus, 500mg calcium (half of your daily requirement), 550mg potassium and 400mg magnesium, among others. All of these minerals play different but important roles in the body from regulating blood pressure to promoting sound sleep.
In addition to fibre, protein and minerals, chia seeds are a good source of powerful plant compounds called antioxidants. In fact, the nutritional analysis shows that chia seeds exhibit higher antioxidant activity compared to blueberries and raspberries! Antioxidants are well known for their ability to reduce oxidative stress, which helps promote optimal heart health and longevity.
Perhaps the most fascinating benefit of antioxidants is their role in your gut health. Recent studies show that antioxidants help to protect the lining in your gut by reducing inflammation, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria as well as inhibiting the growth of harmful pathogens. Additionally, the antioxidants from chia seeds also help to support healthy metabolism and immunity.
When it comes to chia seeds, the evidence speaks for itself. They are packed with so many powerful nutrients, easy to consume and, most importantly, supplied to us by mother nature. If you haven’t already, give Dhow's Organic Chia Seeds a go - your body will thank you for it!
Dhow's organic superfoods range is 100% organic and has full traceability. Their organic farming practices are backed with a rainforest alliance certification. As well as sustainable farming, they strongly believe in social impact; for each pack of Dhow products purchased, they give back to the farming community that are very much neglected by consumers who purchased locally farmed products.
Read all about their other superfoods and benefits on their blog.