This article is a compilation of information from several different sources and is intended for informational purposes only.
Read below for the basics on how to use Chia and see our compilation of Chia recipes.
Chia seeds are said to have:
- 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,
- 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones,
- 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,
- 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries
- 3 times more iron than spinach
- copious amounts of omega 3 and omega 6, which are essential fatty acids…They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fibre. Like flax, chia is highly ‘hydrophilic’ - the seeds absorb water and create a mucilaginous gel. They can hold 9-12 times their weight in water and they absorb it very rapidly – in under 10 minutes.
Vitamins: A, B1. B2, B3, B5, B6, B15, B17, C, D, E, K, choline, folic acid, inositol, PABA
Minerals: boron, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sodium, strontium, sulphur, zinc
Several USA universities have researched the endurance properties of chia and found that a tablespoon of seed could sustain a person for 24 hours, with hard labour.
Absorb and Retain Water - Due to the exceptional water-absorption quality of chia, it can help you prolong hydration and retain electrolytes, especially during exertion. One of the exceptional qualities of the Chia seed is its hydrophilic properties, having the ability to absorb more than 12 times its weight in water. Its ability to hold on to water offers the ability to prolong hydration. Fluids and electrolytes provide the environment that supports the life of all the body’s cells. Their concentration and composition are regulated to remain as constant as possible. With Chia seeds, you retain moisture, regulate, more efficiently, the bodies absorption of nutrients and body fluids. Because there is a greater efficiency in the utilization of body fluids, the electrolyte balance is maintained. Example: Fluid and electrolyte imbalances occur when large amounts of fluids are lost resulting from vomiting, diarrhea, high fever, or more commonly from sweating? The loss of extracellular fluid occurs in these conditions. Intercellular fluid then shifts out of cells to compensate, causing abnormal distribution of electrolytes across cell membranes resulting in cellular malfunction. So. Retaining and efficiently utilizing body fluids maintains the integrity of extracellular fluids, protecting intercellular fluid balance. The results of which ensure normal electrolyte dispersion across cell membranes (electrolyte balance), maintaining fluid balances, resulting in normal cellular function. (http://www.living-foods.com/
From http://www.chia4athletes.com/: Chia seeds have the unusual ability to become a gelatinous gel when mixed with water or a similar fluid. They do this by absorbing the water and the average Chia seed can hold around 10 times its own weight in water. When this happens in the human stomach the water-laden gel acts as a great reservoir for endurance athletes and as their training session or competitive race goes on, the gel is slowly absorbed from the stomach and the water is released into the body.
Acid Reflux: If you drink a third of a cup of chia gel as soon as acid reflux starts, it would take care of your problem. You may be able to stop it altogether if you drink chia gel thrice a day. There are some people who will outright swallow a spoonful of chia seeds whenever they have acid reflux problem. These seeds will soak in the acid the same way they do water. If you ever overdo this, that might cause the seeds to absorb all your stomach fluids. Be cautious by consuming smaller quantity and figure out what would be appropriate for you.
Antioxidants - One advantage of chia is that because it has such a high antioxidant content, the seeds stay stable for much longer, whereas flax, for example, may turn rancid. Chia seeds can easily be stored dry for 4-5 years without deterioration in flavour, odour or nutritional value. You can substitute chia in any recipe that calls for flax.
Sugar Absorption -Chia slows the impact of sugars on the system, if eaten together. Chia gel creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, which slows the conversion of carbs into sugar. That means the energy from the food is released steadily, resulting in more endurance. This is clearly of great benefit to diabetics in particular. It also means that I can combine chia with super-sweet tastes like apple juice and not get super-spiked
Easy to Digest- Whole, water-soaked chia seeds are easily digested and absorbed. Their tiny dinosaur-egg-like shells break down quickly. They feel light in the body, yet energising. Their nutrients can bequickly assimilated into the body.
Intestinal Broom - Chia seeds bulk up, then work like an incredible digestive broom, sweeping through your intestinal tract, helping to dislodge and eliminate old accumulated waste in the intestines. Many people find their stools also become more regular once they eat chia
Regeneration - Chia aids rapid development of tissue, due to its incredible nutrient profile and easy assimilation. It can be very beneficial for those healing from injuries, people like bodybuilders who are always re-forming tissues and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.