Chia is the edible seed of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family native to Central America, It is closely related to culinary sage.The word Chia is a Native American word meaning ‘oily’, and the seeds were an important crop that served as a staple food for the Aztec cultures which believed the seeds possessed supernatural powers and attributed much of their stamina to it.
The health benefits of chia is due to the fact it is a nutrient density food (“superfood”) with a high amount of minerals and vitamins like iron, potassium ,calcium ,magnesium ,B vitamins and also antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Here are few of their health benefits:
- They have a high soluble fiber content that aids in digestion by forming a gel that helps to bulk up stools and create a satisfying movement. This fiber also helps prevent dramatic increases in blood sugar levels, which then help insulin work better, promoting weight loss and low cholesterol.
- Chia seeds have the ability to strengthen bone health and preserve bone density while reducing the risk of serious conditions like osteoporosis. This is because chia seeds are loaded with calcium and manganese, two minerals that are incredibly important for maintaining bone health.
- Because they have a high amount of antioxidant (3 times more than Blueberries) they can support a healthy skin. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radical damage and prevent oxidative stress while also promoting tissue repair and protecting against skin damage.
- Another health benefits is their ability to reduce inflammation and decrease several risk factors of heart disease. Inflammation can put extra strain on blood vessels and is thought to contribute to heart disease along with a slew of other chronic conditions.
Chia seeds may be eaten raw by grinding them first and adding them to various dishes, or they can be soaked or cooked. They are hydrophilic, absorbing up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based creams and beverages a distinctive gel texture.
Always soak chia seeds in water otherwise they will absorb too much water from your digestive tract, causing constipation. Generally, soak overnight in water. To reduce soaking time, grind in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. Occasionally, some people may experience stomach discomfort when consuming chia seeds, especially in large amounts, due to the high fiber content. As with any food, eat in moderation and always drink plenty of water.
Taste: Sweet, Bitter
Natural Attributes: Oily, Mobile, Sticky
Dosha impact: Kapha +, Pitta 0, Vata –
Tissue impact (Vipak): Nourishing
Thermal impact (Virya): Warming
Digestive impact (Agni): Relatively hard to digest, unless grinded to powder or cooked
Moves energy: Downwards
Channels (Srotas): opens
Strength (Bala): Improves strength and immunity
Sturdiness (Ojas): +
Mind (Manas): Sattvic
Occasion: Autumn, Winter
Nutrient: Essential fatty acids, Antioxidants, Calcium, Magnesium
Chinese medicine syndromes: Kidney Yin and Yang Deficiency, Moisten Lung and Colon dryness.
- Nourishment (rasa): Nutritive
- Blood-circulation-liver: Cardiac tonic
- Vital essence and strength: Build stamina
- Respiratory system: Demulcent
- Digestive system: Carminative, Laxative, Demulcent