Chia for Heart Health

By: Lara Shapiro

Through all the diets that come and go over the years – if they last even that long – it’s easy to be a skeptic. New products and diets that friends or acquaintances follow always claim to be the latest and greatest, but these people are often easily convinced to hop on a bandwagon without much scientific evidence! Some are even found to be somewhat harmful to us after the rumors spread like wildfire and many have dived in. However, one of the supplements that became a craze not long ago appears to be backed by science: chia seeds.

What Chia Seeds Are + What They Do:

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the plant Salvia hispanica, and is a great source of protein, fiber, minerals and fatty acids.

In a review of multiple scientific studies and journals, Ullah et al. lists the components and benefits of chia. It contains the following:

  • Chlorogenic acid
  • Caffeic acid
  • Myricetin
  • Quercetin
  • Kaempferol

These are believed to have cardiac and hepatic protective effects as well as anti-aging and anti-carcinogenic characteristics. Scientifically proven are effects such as:

  • Diabetes Control
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Hypertension
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-blood clotting
  • Antidepressant
  • Antianxiety
  • Analgesic
  • Improving vision
  • Immune system support

A surprising side note is that the biological value of chia has a higher content of magnesium, and calcium than milk! It is also declared by the European Parliament as a functional food, and considered a safe food with no potentially harmful effects.

 

How to Add It In:

Because they have a neutral taste, chia seeds are very easily incorporated into one’s diet. Add a raw scoop to your smoothie, yogurt, oatmeal, cereal or salads, or even add them to baked goods. Because chia seeds are very absorbent, they take on a very soft texture after adding them to a liquid. When soaked in water (9:1 ratio), chia seeds form a gel that can be flavored and enjoyed as a snack. Using only the seeds and unsweetened milk (almond, soy, or rice), one can easily make a chia pudding, which can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Add different ingredients to spruce it up. Try it with bananas, peanut butter, honey, berries, and more!

 

 

Resources:

Ullah, R., et al. “Nutritional and Therapeutic Perspectives of Chia (Salvia Hispanica L.): A Review.” Journal of Food Science and Technology, vol. 53, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1750-1758, SCOPUSwww.scopus.com, doi:10.1007/s13197-015-1967-0.