Chia Seeds & The Keto Diet: Nutritional Value, Benefits, & How To Consume
While the world is living in a lockdown state, many have started becoming more health-conscious. With gyms being closed and movement restrictions in place, physical exercise options are at a minimum. So, many are considering going the keto way.
What does a keto diet entail?
The ketogenic or keto diet focuses on choosing and eating foods that are mainly rich in fat and reducing the intake of carbohydrates. The concept started as a way to replace carbohydrates as the main source of energy for the body with fats. As per the diet’s guidelines, one should consume high fat (60 to 80 per cent of daily calories), moderate protein (15 to 35 per cent), and low carbohydrates (less than 5 per cent).
When this diet is followed consistently and done the right way, the body reaches a state of ketosis which is when the body completely switches its energy source and starts burning the previously existing fat stored in the body as well. This stage happens when you eat 50 grams or less of carbs per day.
While there are many foods, nuts and seeds that are a staple to the keto diet, one food that plays an important role is chia seed. Don’t measure them by their tiny size as these seeds are packed with huge goodness. Let’s get to know them better.
Chia seeds, the new superfood in town
Chia is the ancient Mayan word meaning strength. In accordance with the name, chia seeds are rich in nutrients and provide sustainable energy. Another trivia is that it was called the runner’s food in ancient times as warriors and runners used to eat them before going to battles or races to feel energised and sustain longer hours.
They are small-sized seeds that are black and give off a mild, nutty flavour. They are related to mint and come from the Salvia hispanica plant. They are native to Mexico and considered a desert plant. Chia seeds are a whole-grain food and generally grown organically. Additionally, chia seeds are naturally gluten-free.
It is usually recommended to take about 20 grams or 1.5 tablespoons of chia seeds, twice daily.
Chia seeds : Nutrition Facts
Chia seeds are considered to be an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, calcium, iron, antioxidants.
A 28 gram or two tablespoons (one ounce) serving of chia seeds contains:
When we consume one ounce of chia seeds daily, we get 18 per cent calcium, 27 per cent phosphorus, 30 per cent manganese and 30 per cent magnesium. Additionally, chia seeds also encompass smaller proportions of zinc, potassium, copper, vitamins A, E, D along with vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 and vitamin B3 (niacin).
Chia seeds are comparatively more nutritious than flax seeds.
The many benefits you can get from chia seeds
Being a plant-based food, chia seeds give many benefits to the body such as reducing heart conditions, obesity, diabetes, etc. The top ten health benefits are detailed below:
- Boosts the metabolism – Chia seeds are powerful plant-based proteins. This type of protein is very important for burning fat and building muscles. The protein in chia seeds helps reduce appetite, food cravings and keeps us energised in all the right ways.
- Helps in losing weight – Fibrous foods are usually recommended for people looking to lose weight as they are low in calories. They tend to fill up the stomach and give the feeling of fullness for a longer period. Chia seeds are rich in fibre and when mixed with water form a gel-like consistency which takes longer to digest thereby preventing hunger and aiding weight loss.
- Maintain good cholesterol levels – The omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds help in raising the good cholesterol in the body called HDL cholesterol. It lowers LDL and total cholesterol levels as well as triglyceride levels.
- Protects heart against cardiovascular ailments – Chia seeds have high fibre and omega 3 fatty acids that decrease the pressure on the body and keep it functioning smoothly. It lowers the risk of arrhythmias and thrombosis. This, in turn, protects the heart against heart attacks and strokes or even cardiac-related deaths. A study by The National Institute of Medicine states that a substantial decrease was seen in coronary heart diseases when a diet with 14 grams of fibre for every 1,000 calories was taken.
- Helps in treating diverticulitis – Chia seeds and fibre rich foods help in treating diverticulitis, a digestive condition that leads to pouches being formed in the colon that get infected and inflamed. The fibre in chia seeds helps reduce the inflammation in the colon.
- Regulates immune system and inflammation – Chia seeds have the ability to lower the risk of inflammation-related ailments such as cancer, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases.
- Fights cervical and breast cancer – Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) which is present in abundance in chia seeds limits the growth of cancer cells that develop in the breast and cervical area.
- Reduces the risk of diabetes – Fibre-rich diets are generally linked with reducing the risk of diabetes. It is also said to keep the blood sugar count stable. Research affirms that consumption of chia seeds could have a positive effect on people with type 2 diabetes since the seeds have the capability to change glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate.
- Improves bone health – Chia seeds have all the essential nutrients and a high percentage of calcium as well. All of this contributes to improving bone health in the human body.
- Fights ageing of the skin – The antioxidants in chia seeds help flush out all the toxins in the body. It also prevents the creation of radicals that damage cell molecules. Hence, it slows down the ageing of the skin and prevents premature ageing as well.
You have to buy and store them right
The antioxidants in chia seeds help protect it internally from getting spoilt. So, chia seeds can be stored in an airtight container and kept in a cool, dry place.
It is time to add them to your diet
Chia seeds are an easy choice that can be incorporated well in our diets. They can be added to many other foods in the whole form and don’t require being powdered. You can eat chia seeds in its raw form or after cooking it. They also make a good choice for a quick bite.
Below are some ideas on how to consume chia seeds on a daily basis:
- In the raw form, chia seeds are sprinkled on cereal, porridge, rice dishes, salads, soups, oatmeal, salads, pudding, yoghurt, smoothies and protein shakes.
- They can also be had with water after soaking it to form a gel-like consistency.
- Chia seeds can also be added to fresh juices to make it wholesome.
- They can be eaten cooked, by adding it to baked goods such as bread and muffins.
- Chia seeds act as a replacement to eggs in vegan dieting or cooking. You just have to mix them with water and let it rest for some time. This will give the same consistency that eggs give and can be used while baking.
- Chia seeds can also be soaked overnight, sprouted the following day and then consumed.
Chia seeds are a nutritious addition to your staple diet, even more, when following a keto diet. They shouldn’t be considered a quick fix and the only solution to reduce your waistline. It is a good supplement to the diet when you are planning to eat the right way.
So, go ahead and add them to your shopping carts and lay the path towards a healthier future.