Chia seeds have also become firmly established in the diet. There are many arguments in favor of consuming the Mexican pseudo-grain, which is said to be healthy, provide valuable ingredients and help you lose weight – but there are also some arguments against it.
Mixed into muesli, cooked into pudding or as a pastry – chia seeds have enjoyed growing popularity since they conquered the market. They are considered particularly healthy.
What Are Chia Seeds?
The chia seeds, which are considered so healthy, are small grains from the genus of sage plants. Still a relatively newfangled trend food for us, Native Americans ate it 5000 years ago. Similar to quinoa, Mexican chia is also a type of pseudo cereal. Therefore, it is not one of the classic types of grain such as wheat or rye and differs in terms of nutritional composition, but can be used similarly. The chia plant grows best in the tropics or subtropics. In addition to Mexico, it is now also cultivated in various South American regions, in Australia and Southeast Asia.
How Is Chia Prepared?
It can be processed into baked goods similar to grains. You can also add them to different dishes. They are most popular as groats or puddings because of their ability to turn into a dense mass in contact with liquids. But there are also chia muesli bars – there are hardly any limits to your imagination. Their consistency is a little reminiscent of linseed. And also in several other food properties.
Are Chia Seeds Really That Healthy?
Chia seeds are considered particularly healthy, and the seeds contain “interesting ingredients”, as nutrition expert Prof. Worm confirms. The three essential ones are protein, fiber and triple unsaturated alpha-linolenic acid. The latter is an omega-3 fatty acid, which the body can only convert to a minimal extent into the long-chain, highly unsaturated omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for life, as they are found primarily in sea fish.
It makes much more sense for vegans to stock up on algae oils from special cultivations to ensure a sufficient supply of these valuable omega-3 fatty acids.
Do Chia Seeds Help You Lose Weight?
Like linseed or psyllium, they swell up in the stomach and are therefore lastingly filling. Figure-conscious eaters mix them into their breakfast or drink them in shake form because of the filling effect. But be careful: Chia seeds contain a lot of fat – albeit of the valuable variety – and a high nutritional value. With almost 500 calories per 100 grams, you can gain weight if you ignore your diet otherwise.
Can Chia Seeds Be Harmful?
One reason to be careful with chia seeds: is possible pesticide residues. Öko-Test examined supposed organic products in 2016. Pesticide residues found in them so blatantly exceeded the legal maximum that the manufacturers had to take them off the market. The consumer advice center also writes: “Recently, chia seeds contaminated with carcinogenic mold toxins (aflatoxin) were reported several times.
Chia seeds also contain oxalic acid and phytic acid. Both are said to have an unfavorable effect when consuming large amounts, as they inhibit the absorption of minerals and trace elements in the body.
Conclusion: Should You Eat Chia Seeds Regularly?
“You can do it, but you don’t have to,”. After all, they have positive qualities. A similarly favorable fat composition can also be found in foods traditionally used, such as flaxseed, nuts and the like. Although they are not so “sexy and hyped”, they do not have to be imported at high CO2 expense.
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