Chia seeds are a superfood, and though widely known, its energy boosting effects is just one reason why. It is high on fiber, making it ideal for treating digestive issues and controlling weight.It is a rich source of multiple nutrients such as proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, making it the ideal addition toyour daily diet. Its properties make it ideal for controlling and treating diabetes, controlling hypertension, preventing heart disease, preventing arthritis, combatting certain types of cancer, boosting dental hygiene, and preventing fatigue. Additionally, it is extremely healthy for expectant mothers.
Extracted from the Chia plant, Chia seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala.The tropical climate of these countries is highly conducive for Chia production. They have high medicinal as well as nutritional value, and are one of the most popular superfoods today. Although the consumption of Chia was widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries, it saw a massive dip in the 20th century. However, it has seen a resurgence in popularity in the last 10 years. In the Mayan language, chia means strength, and undoubtedly, that is the source of its popularity. It is widely known that Chia seeds pack a great punch and can pump a lot of energy into the body. Research indicates that Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin.
The value of adding Chia seeds to one’s diet can be seen in the fact that it has great short-term benefits, such as giving energy to the body for every day work, as well as long-term benefits that include keeping the body healthy and young. 100 gms of Chia seeds contain 486 kcal of energy, 42 gms of carbohydrates, 34 gms of fiber, 30 gms of fat, and 16 gms of protein. It is also a rich source of minerals with 860 mg of phosphorus, 630 mg of calcium, 407 mg of potassium, and 335 mg of magnesium. Chia seeds do not contain any cholesterol and are instead a great source of antioxidants such as flavonol glycosides, quercetin, myricetin,caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, and linolenic acid, which help in curbing the levels of free radicals in the body. Chia seeds are known to have high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids which benefits the body in terms of healthy aging.
Apart from certain varieties of fish, Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. This component is essential to the body as it enables many bodily functions. Studies also show that the consumption of Chia seeds enhances workout performance. Therefore, it is a great substitute for energy drinks. It culls out an excess of sugar in the diet. It boosts the body’s metabolism, which produces more energy in the body and consequently reduces and prevents fatigue.
There are many ways in which Chia seeds can benefit your digestive health. Its high fiber content regulates bowel movement and its ability to absorb high amounts of water makes you feel full for a longer period of time, thus minimizing the risk of overeating.
The high amount of dietary fiber along with its carbohydrate andfat content, and lack of cholesterol, all combine to make Chia seeds a great food product that effectively reduces and controls weight. It is also one of the best plant-based sources of protein. Studies show that adding a serving of Chia seeds in your diet can help burn belly fat. It does so by reducing the visceral adipose tissue, a belly fat tissue that lowers the metabolism of the body. One of the reasons why Chia seeds are known as a superfood is because they can absorb water up to 10 times their own weight. This characteristic improves the nutrient absorption of electrolytes, and keeps the body hydrated for a longer period of time. Additionally, it slows digestion, thus keeping you full for a longer period of time.
One of the biggest issues in diabetes is the sudden spike in sugar levels after each meal. Chia seeds combat this problem quite effectively. The carbohydrates and starch present in them are released into the body slowly, in comparison to conventional meals. Slower release means optimum absorption by each cell of the body. This reduces the reliance on insulin to control the body’s sugar levels. Some studies also suggest that Chia seeds can reverse diabetes over time.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as Chia seeds, are heart-friendly. These are good fats that prevent the onset of heart disease by minimizing the levels of omega-6 fatty acids in the blood. This, therefore, minimizes the stress on the cardiovascular system.
Chia seeds are a rich source of an omega-3 acid known as alpha lipoic acid or ALA. Studies show that ALA minimizes the growth of cancer cells in cases of cervical and breast cancer. The benefits of ALA go so far as to the cell death of cancer cells, without any negative effect on healthy cells.
The most obvious reason why Chia seeds are great for your teeth is because it is rich in calcium. However, phosphorus and vitamin A, which are predominant in Chia seeds,also play a huge role in strengthening teeth. Together they keep the mouth healthy. Additionally, the Chia seed is also rich in zinc, which prevents plaque from accumulating around your teeth. This, in turn, prevents tartar and has an antibacterial effect which keeps bad breath and germs at bay.
Chia seeds have been known to control blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the biggest causes of hypertension. In fact, studies have found that including Chia seeds in your diet regularly has the same impact on your body as regular consumption of hypertension medication.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in abundance in Chia seeds, act as an anti-inflammatory agent. The specific element that contributes to this benefit is known as alpha lenolic acid, or ALA, which controls the inflammation of the arteries and joints. Studies estimate that as little as 4 gms of Chia seeds a day is enough to control and prevent arthritis.
Chia seeds, with all their goodness, are a great dietary additive for pregnant women. Pregnancy can cause many issues such as vitamin and mineral deficiency, fatigue, and high-blood sugar. As Chia seeds are high on many essential vitamins and minerals, a small serving each day can help prevent and combat deficiencies in calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, among others. It also provides a sustained boost of energy, as it slows down the process of converting carbohydrates and sugars. Moreover, consumption of Chia seeds creates a gelatin-like substance inside the stomach which slows down digestion. This ensures that blood-sugar levels are more stable, and do not fluctuate. If this wasn’t enough, Chia seeds, rich as they are in omega-3 fatty acids, enable cerebral growth in the fetus. While fish is also a great source of omega-3, the mercury content in fish could have a negative impact on the fetus, which is why Chia seeds are a great substitute.
Chia seeds are edible even when they are raw. They have a mildly nutty flavor, andcan be popped into the mouth in its natural form, with a simple wash to cleanse out the extraneous grit. However, it is best to soak them to extract maximum amount of nutrition from them. Soaking them overnight makes it easier for the stomach to digest them, and it gives you access to the denser nutrients inside the seeds. The ideal way to soak them is to maintain a 1:10 ratio of Chia seeds to water. Chia seeds also make for a great garnish and can be incorporated into any recipe easily. They are easy to prepare, as they can also be ground instead of soaked. Grinding is also a great way to extract nutrition from the seeds.
As with any superfood, the side effects of consuming Chia seeds are minimal. Studies record experiences of discomfort in the stomach, especially when the seeds were consumed in large amounts. This is due to the fact that Chia seeds have high fiber content. However, the risk of this discomfort can be minimized by consuming these seeds in moderate amounts, as is the case with all food, and drinking plenty of water.
A member of the mint family, Chia seeds are steeped in Mayan and Aztec cultures, who cultivated them for their supernatural powers. They are predominantly cultivated in Mexico, Guatemala, and certain countries in South America, and are therefore, an important part of their cuisine. For instance, the Chia seed is a vital ingredient in a Mexican and Central American favorite, the Chia fresca. It is a simple lemon juice concoction with added sweetener.
1] Chia seeds help in weight loss –
Chia seeds help in weight loss by increasing metabolism. Chia seeds when taken as a pre workout snack will help in increasing your stamina to burn out more calories and stretch your workout timings. Chia seeds are full of fiber and help by satisfying your hunger. Making you feel full. Chia seeds can be very helpful in ladies with pcod and pcos problem. Chia seeds help against bloating.
2] Chia seeds help in diabetes –
Chia seeds have a tendency to absorb a lot of water and swell up, this helps in slowing down the digestion process and hence slow release of sugar in the blood. This helps a type 2 diabetic person to manage his blood sugar levels well. This will help in keeping you full for longer and hence avoid overeating.
3] Chia seeds help in maintaining teeth and bone health –
Chia seeds are super sources of calcium and all the other minerals that are important for bone and teeth health. Chia seeds actually contain more calcium than dairy products. For people who do not consume dairies, chia seed comes as a blessing in disguise.
4] Chia seeds improve heart health –
Several studies are being conducted on effects of chia seeds on heart health. A study at cleveland suggested that chia seeds improve blood pressure levels in type ii diabetics. The study also suggested that chia seeds have a positive effect on other markers of heart health. It improves the hdl cholesterol (good cholesterol), and decreases the bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels in blood of a type ii diabetic.
There are certain studies that have not been very conclusive of benefits of chia seeds on heart health. Chia seeds are good source of fiber, omega 3 and protein and they definitely are the best choice of food for your heart’s health.
5] Chia seeds are good source of protein
We all know that proteins are the building blocks of our bodies and proteins have such important functions that are crucial for life processes. Chia seeds are protein by 14 % of their weight.
This helps chia seeds to be counted as a super food for weight loss. It not only reduces appetite and makes you feel fuller for longer, but it also suppresses hunger. Wow! these features are just what a weight watcher desires.
Chia seeds hence make a super snack especially in the evenings when one tends to feel hungry and over eat snacks.
6] Chia seeds are full of antioxidants –
The department of food and nutrition of purdue university in indiana conducted a study on chia seeds in 2008 and found than chia seeds contain a very good amount of antioxidants.
Chia seeds contain following antioxidants:-
Chia seeds are a good source of omega 3 –
Chia seeds are advertised as good source of omega 3 fatty acids, but it is important to know the underlying facts. It is true that chia seeds contain more omegas 3 than salmon fish. But amongst the different types of omega 3 fatty acids, chia seeds provide ala (alpha linolenic acid). Ala has to be converted to its active form to be of use to us. However humans are inefficient in converting these acids in to active form. And hence their consumption would hardly make any difference or benefit us. If you are looking to supplement omega 3 in your diet, you could rather choose flax seeds.
Your diet is missing in multiple nutrients hence not able to protect itself from dis-eases. Your body does not get enough supply of nutrients and due to pollution (environmental, water, food, air quality, soil, chemicals used outside and inside home etc.) the nutrients are exhausted faster and the requirement increases multifolds.
The remedy is to eat as many fruits and veg in a day - fresh, juiced (but un-strained) or as mixed fruit bowl, mixed salad etc. all uncooked. Remember the antioxidants (protective nutrients – protect our body from diseases, valuable for preventing sicknesses, beneficial for protecting the body from further damage, if taken in sufficiency even reverse certain symptoms) are mostly present in foods which are in the natural form. So consume the foods the way nature produces for us.
Vitamins A, C, E & Omega are major antioxidants and should be taken in dietary and supplemental form along with Echinacea (herb) to boost the immunity, making you strong enough to fight the infections and diseases.
Therefore consume foods:
1. Rich in omega3 to counteract the inflammatory allergic response such as wall nuts, pecan nuts, flex seeds, chia seeds, mildly roasted or lightly cooked soya beans, canola oil, etc.
2. Rich in antioxidants such as all kinds of all kinds of berries strawberries, black berries, blue berries, bilberries, gooseberries, cranberries, raspberries, mulberries, etc.
3. Rich in Vitamin C and other nutrients - fruits such as oranges, apples, quince, pears, custard apple, kiwi, pineapple, papaya, pomegranate, sweet lime, lemon, grapefruit, passion fruit, mango, banana, apricot, lychees, rambutan, toddy fruit, plums, peach, avocado, amla, olives, cherries, watermelons, muskmelon, fig, guava, grapes etc.
4. Good food sources of other protective nutrients in different color vegetables like baby corn, beetroot, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, bell peppers / capsicum, cucumber, cabbage, kale, parsley, cauliflower, spinach, green onion, lettuce tomatoes, onions, radish, and more - eaten as raw - as salads....
5. Herbs such as ginger, turmeric, mint, coriander, celery etc
6. Uncooked sprouts of all the lentils. Some nutrients missing in the lentils or legumes are synthesized during the process of germination and available best in uncooked form especially for 4 from Vitamin B group, Vitamin C and many others
7. Warm decoctions such as green tea, herbal tea, tulsi tea, jeera tea, ajwain tea, methi tea, etc.
However, when you already got the health concern, your body requires more antioxidants then it would require on a regular basis. If your lungs and liver are affected then you should undergo a nutritional therapy for a certain period of time to get your health back.
Throughout our life, almost all of us have had days when we would see a bigger bunch of our hair sitting on the drainage of the bathroom than in our ponytails. Or when it would be difficult to make out the color of the comb for it had more hair strands than on the scalp.
However, despite all this, what are the immediate rescue options that you turn to? of all, the most common have been found to be, waiting for it to settle as it was seasonal, experimenting with various products on your own or using natural remedies to fix the same. And I am sure, most of you resorted to these, instead of tracing the causes of your hair fall to the lack of nourishment and proper growth environment, and visiting the right doctor to seek advice on the same.
Do I need to see a specialist or can I do without it?
Sadly, surveys conducted in the past are vocal of the fact that most of us consider self-treatment for problems such as hair fall/ loss. Unless we are severely troubled by the problem, we do not see a specialist to treat the problem. What are the popular reasons behind not seeing a specialist? one, because we often self-examine the problem and devise ways to treat it. Two, we remain uninformed of which doctor to consult—a dermatologist, trichologist, a general physician, or any other specialist. Usually, it is advisable to visit a dermatologist or trichologist as he would be able to provide you with the best solutions for your hair fall.
Hair fall, just like any other problem, depends on the cause, and takes its own course of time to get treated. The reasons for a severe hair fall are not easy to decipher. You can begin by asking yourself the following questions.
Am I eating healthy?
As we have stated this in our series of articles, make sure you eat all the major food components (proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates and fats) in the adequate amount. Do not miss to add seeds and nuts such as walnuts, almonds, chia seeds, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients.
If you are a salad lover, make sure you pick the best greens and fruits. Fresh greens such as broccoli, peas, spinach, cabbage and fruits such as apples, bananas, kiwi and oranges serve as the best source of the vitamins and minerals needed by the body. A well hydrated body would support healthy hair and skin both. Therefore, make sure you drink at least 7-8 glasses of water throughout the day.
You may choose to design a diet for yourself that has the adequate amount of all the essential food components or you may choose to request your nutritionists to help you do so. However, in case due to certain dietary restrictions you are unable to channelize the right amount of nutrients to your body, do not restrict yourself from grabbing nutritional supplements for yourself. Some of the nutritional supplements serve as the perfect reservoir of amino acids (both essential as well as non-essential), vitamins and minerals that act as cofactors for hair growth.
Am I providing proper growth environment to my hair?
“I eat healthy, and still I lose hair everyday”. What do you do if you feel this? well, you can try a few adjuvant therapies such as topical supplements (hair serums/lotions) too. With several such products in the market, you may have the freedom to pick tailored products for your hair. Usually the hair growth serums increase the microcirculation, adds vitality and strengthens the hair strands.
And if I am still losing hair, which specialist can help me the best?
A healthy mane not only adds beauty to one self but also reflects a healthy body and lifestyle. To uproot the cause of hair fall, a thorough analysis (physical and in the laboratory) is a must, and for that one needs to visit a specialist.
If you were to recall the time when you last saw a dermatologist or trichologist for your hair problems, you probably wouldn’t be able to. It is not a good thing because you know what you are missing on but still put it on it.
Inflammation or soojan in the body can make it difficult for you to follow your daily routine. According to Ayurveda, this is caused by an imbalance of the pitta dosha. As the pitta dosha increases, the heat in the body also increases leading to inflammation and other issues. To reduce the pitta dosha, one must consume foods that are not hot or warm in nature and increase the consumption of foods that have a cooling effect.
7 amazing foods that can really help:
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
1. Ragi: Known as finger millet, this is a fiber-rich, gluten-free superfood that’s perfect for vegetarians. The generous amounts of protein and calcium with its abundance of other vitamins and minerals, this super cereal can also reduce your risk of stroke and regulate blood sugar levels, weight watchers and diabetics can truly enjoy this grain because of its low glycemic index.
2. Walnuts: These nuts don’t just add crunch and flavor to your meals. Walnuts also have a wide array of nutrients and polyunsaturated fats to offer you. From tryptophan to omega-3 fatty acids to antioxidants, a lot of benefits make it special.
3. Chia seeds: A classic superfood, even just a tablespoon of chia seeds is full of calcium, protein, and micronutrients. Your heart, joints, and digestive system will appreciate you for making chia seeds a part of your daily diet.
4. Ghee: Once considered a cause of obesity, clarified butter has made a comeback as a global superfood. Though dense with calories and saturated fats, ghee is also free of sugar, protein, and carbohydrates. A healthy drizzling of ghee over your meals will allow you to enjoy its many vitamins, including conjugated linoleic acid, an antioxidant containing anti-viral properties.
5. Figs: The high amounts of fiber in figs have made them a treatment for constipation and skin infections. Figs are also known to be more nutritious than raisins, dates, and even apples. The proteins, calcium, iron, and potassium in this super fruit make it a healthy addition to salads and desserts.
6. Apricots: A fruit that’s delicious and healthy both dried and fresh. The nutrient-dense apricot has been known to aid in digestive health and lift up energy levels. Whether you choose to have it fresh or dried, you can enjoy your apricot knowing it’s packed with good stuff like vitamin phosphorous, and fiber.
7. Black rice: A nutty and fragrant must-try for rice lovers. This grain is high in fiber, iron, thiamine, and antioxidants, especially anthocyanin, which reduces cholesterol and improve liver function. If you’ve grown tired of quinoa or brown rice, then consider giving black rice a try.
8. Alphonso mango: A cup of this seasonal fruit will give you 76 percent of your daily vitamin c requirement. The potassium and vitamin c in this tropical treat can also lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Eating this when you can will help you feel full longer while also boosting your digestive system’s ability to burn calories.