As we age, our body undergoes all kinds of metabolic and physiological changes. For example, the digestive system slows down, and it loses its efficiency to absorb vitamins and nutrients. As a result, we lose lean body mass and bone density, slowly affecting our quality of life.
Keeping these changes in mind, addressing the nutritional needs that crop up with age is crucial. A low-calorie, nutrient-dense diet with appropriate supplements is what one really needs.
Often referred to as a superfood, Chia seeds have grown in popularity in recent years and are a great addition to your everyday diet. Harvested from a flowering plant in the mint family known as Salvia hispanica, the word ‘chia’ signifies strength.
Don’t go by their size. About two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 138 calories, 10 grams of fibre, 9 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein. It also takes care of 17 per cent of your body’s daily calcium needs, 12 per cent of the iron and 23 per cent of your magnesium.
These super seeds are tasteless but nutrient-dense and can be added to almost anything – from cereal to salads and bread. When added to water, chia seeds can expand up to 10 times into gel-like globules. And if you think that chia seeds are just a new fad. Well, believe it or not, they were a staple of Mayan and Aztec warriors’ diets.
Still not convinced? Here are seven reasons why you absolutely must include chia seeds in your everyday diet.
Great for bone health: Packed with vitamins and minerals, chia seeds can make up to 20% per cent of your daily calcium requirements. Now, as we know, with age, our bones tend to turn brittle, making us prone to falls and accidents. Besides Calcium, chia seeds also contain Phosphorus and Magnesium, which aid overall health. Top your smoothies and salads with some roasted chia seeds to boost energy.
Rich in antioxidants: Packed with antioxidants, chia seeds help the body defend itself from cell damage and oxidative stress. With the help of antioxidants, the body can fight the cell-damaging free radicals that contribute to ageing and diseases such as cancer. Sprinkle some chia seeds on your yoghurt or oatmeal for a nutritious breakfast.
Loaded with nutrients & minerals: A combination of Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and Manganese makes chia seeds an extremely healthy addition to your daily diet.
While Manganese plays a crucial role in collagen production, Calcium is excellent for bone health. On the other hand, magnesium is known to improve mood and the quality of sleep, whereas phosphorus helps form cell structures.
High in fibre: One of the best sources of fibre, 40 per cent of chia seed’s weight is made up of roughage. Owing to its high soluble fibre content, these edible seeds contribute to a feeling of fullness, which helps keep a check on mindless snacking. This is why chia seeds are so popular with people trying to lose weight.
Fiber also promotes gut health and prevents constipation. It aids in slower absorption of the food, which helps keep blood-sugar levels stable. Add chia seeds to your smoothies or stir fry them with vegetables for a healthy and nutritious meal.
Promotes heart health: According to studies, chia seeds are known to increase the “good” cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. In addition, chia seeds also contain antioxidants caffeic acid and quercetin, which help fight inflammation and can reduce your risk of developing heart conditions.
Rich In Protein: For vegans and vegetarians, chia seeds make for an excellent source of protein and amino acids. As per studies, about 14 per cent of chia seed’s weight is protein, which is quite high compared to other plants and vegetables.
Crucial for our overall health, protein promotes healthy muscle growth and hormone balance, amongst other things. Protein also keeps you feeling fuller for longer, helping in weight loss. So whip up a creamy and healthy chia pudding to satiate your sugar cravings.
Packed with Omega-3 fatty acids: Chia seeds are the richest plant source of Omega-3, which is known to help keep the heart and brain healthy. Studies suggest that omega-3 can also help protect the body against inflammatory diseases like Arthritis.
If you’re into vegan baking, you can replace the eggs with the gel from soaked chia seeds. You can also sprinkle some toasted chia seeds on your baked goods for a healthy crunch.