Breakfast is an important meal of the day. Eating the right foods helps you stay high on energy and also keeps you focused. Chia seeds, also called Salba chia or Mexican chia, are tiny, dark, oval-shaped edible seeds that belong to Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant from the mint family. These make for great breakfast additions that fulfil many of your nutritional needs. Speaking with the OnlyMyHealth team, Anupama Menon, Certified Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach, Bengaluru and Mumbai, shares benefits of the superfood and lists healthy recipes you can try.
Benefits Of Chia Seeds
“Packed with omega-3s, fibre, and vital nutrients, these tiny powerhouses are perfect for vegetarians,” says Menon, adding, “They contain a multitude of health benefits and have surged to the forefront of nutritional conversations, particularly for vegetarians and health-conscious individuals.”
According to the nutritionist, one of the standout advantages of chia seeds is their rich omega-3 fatty acid content, primarily in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). “This essential nutrient, known for its heart-healthy properties, not only contributes to reducing inflammation but also supports cognitive function and overall well-being.
As per a study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology concluded, consuming chia seed decreased the visceral adiposity, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels, all of which are beneficial for heart health.
The researchers analysed the effect of feeding chia seed (50 g/day) to 12 healthy individuals for 30 days. It found that the diastolic blood pressure decreased from 66.1-61.5 mmHg with significant decline in serum triglycerides, with no report of side effects.
In addition, chia seeds are also a potent source of dietary fibre, boasting of impressive quantities even in small servings.
“This fibre content not only aids in digestion but also plays a pivotal role in regulating blood sugar levels and imparting a lasting feeling of satiety, thus proving invaluable in weight management and appetite control,” says Menon.
Moreover, chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, including quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid, which safeguard cells against oxidative stress, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and bolster the body's immune defences, the nutritionist adds.
Healthy Chia Seeds Recipes
Nutritionist Anupama Menon shares three intriguing chia seed recipes for you to try:
Chia Seed & Blueberry Smoothie
Combine chia’s prowess with blueberries’ antioxidants for a mood-boosting treat. Blend blueberries, banana, Greek yoghurt, pitted dates, and soaked chia seeds in a food processor with ice cubes.
Chia Seed & Banana Milkshake
Boost a classic milkshake by infusing it with chia goodness. Blend milk, frozen banana, chia seeds, and pitted dates for a nutritious delight.
Chia Seed Mojito
Enhance your mojito with hydrated chia seeds for a refreshing twist. The seeds provide texture, satiety, and hydration. Crush mint leaves, lemon juice, sugar, and pink salt in a glass. Add soaked chia seeds, top with water, and serve chilled.
You Can Also Try Chia Seed Pudding
Mix chia seeds with milk and sweeten it with a spoonful of honey or maple syrup. You can also add some vanilla extract for extra flavour. Allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator overnight. The seeds will swell and create a wholesome pudding-like consistency. Top with fresh berries, nuts, and fruits and enjoy a healthy breakfast.
Daily Recommended Intake
While there isn't an exact daily recommendation for chia seeds. You can have 20 grams or about 1.5-2 tablespoons twice per day. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated to prevent any digestive issues. These small seeds are heavy in terms of fibre and must not be consumed in excess.