Chia is the richest plant source of Omega 3 essential fatty acid. Fats make up to 60% of our brains and insulate nerve cells to provide communication between the cells. Omega-3 oils reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and cells of our brain, helping to promote good blood flow and increase positive mood. Omega 3 also helps improve hormonal imbalances, so be sure to eat fresh fish at least twice a week and plant sources of Omega 3, like Chia, every day.
Chia is beneficial in the area of digestion because of the rich fiber content. Chia has 37% fiber – 20% is soluble and 80% insoluble and both are extremely important in maintaining regular gut function and good gut health. Many people compare Chia and Flax and are happy to learn that Chia has twice the fiber of flaxseeds.
Chia holds 16 times its weight in water and swells to form a thick gel when mixed with liquids. The rich fiber content in chia slows the conversion of carbohydrate to sugar and provides a slow release of energy, stabilizing your blood sugars, reducing cravings and helping to keep you full.
Chia is the only gluten free wholegrain that can be eaten raw, directly from the packet, without grinding or cooking. Chia is predominantly known as an oil seed, but it is also a wholegrain food. People managing gluten free diets often struggle to find sources of wholegrain nutrition and Chia is an excellent source.
Chia is rich in vegan protein (20%) and with all 8 amino acids chia is a complete protein. Our body uses protein to build and repair tissue, synthesize and regulate hormones and is the building block of bones, cartilage, muscles, skin and blood. Protein is required to function every cell in our body and because it is not stored in the body we need to eat it every day. Chia is a fabulous source of vegan protein and is easy to include in the daily diet.
The low-fat food trend has been around for the past four decades, leading to an increase in highly processed foods, stripped of fat, but filled with sugar and other unnatural fillers. Despite the reduction in fat consumption, obesity has risen in the western world by 30% in this time. This suggests the low-fat food push seems to have negatively impacted diet-related disease rates and that highly processed low-fat foods may actually be the cause of this epidemic. Governments, educators, some health professionals and food companies have lead the western world to become scared of fat unnecessarily and caused us to lose sight of the fact that fat plays an important role in our body.
Fat is an essential part of our diet. It provides energy, absorbs nutrients, maintains body temperature and is required to function our brains’ neurotransmitters and the molecules of the immune system. The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat and we’ve learned in recent years that fatty acids are among the most crucial molecules that determine your brain’s integrity and ability to perform.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs), like the Omega 3 oil found in Chia Seeds, are required for maintenance of optimal health but they cannot be synthesized by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. Plant-based foods that are naturally high in EFA’s include avocado, coconuts, nuts and seeds. Wild caught oily fish is also a great source.
As well as the importance of EFA’s for healthy brain function, the Omega 3 ALA found in chia seed is especially important for a healthy heart and research has shown Omega 3 ALA can be beneficial for lowering cholesterol, maintaining artery function and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The heart foundation recommends an intake of Omega 3 ALA (plant source) daily and an intake of Omega 3 DHA from eating oily fish two to three times per week.