What is chia seed?
Chia seed comes from the Chia plant (Salvia Hispanica); a Mexican relative of the mint plant. The flowers of this plant produce tiny seeds that look a bit like poppy seeds you may be familiar with. This plant was used for thousands of years by the Maya and Aztecs, among others, as food and medicine. The seeds were particularly known for providing an energy boost and increasing stamina : when the warriors of the Aztecs had to run long distances, they were given a handful of chia seeds.
What does chia seeds do?
Chia seeds can contribute to your health, because its various properties are particularly beneficial for women 40+.
To give you an impression, chia seeds contain magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, proteins, selenium, iron, potassium and plenty of fiber. Our intestines in particular need plenty of fiber to continue to do their job properly.
In my opinion, many women 40+ are malnourished in nutrients. Chia seeds are a great source to supplement several important nutrients. Recent research has shown that you first have to grind chia seeds fine in, for example, a coffee grinder; this releases the nutrients. Unground chia seeds provide the fiber your intestines need.
Chia seed helps to balance your blood level
If you soak chia seeds in water for ten minutes, the whole thing will become a bit jelly-like. If this jelly gets into your stomach, it ensures that the conversion of carbohydrates to sugars/glucose is slowed down. This helps to balance your blood sugar level , so that less insulin has to be produced.
A stable blood sugar level in turn keeps your hormones in better balance, which is very important for us women 40+.
Chia seed helps to build muscle
Chia seeds are rich in protein , which you need to build muscle and other tissue in your body. Ideal for the sporty woman who is working on converting fat to muscle through strength training. Muscle uses more calories at rest than fat, so more muscle is also very good for you if you want to reach your healthy weight.
Calcium absorption for your bones and heart
Chia seeds also contribute to a good absorption of calcium ; the most important building material for our bones, which we as women 40+ have to be careful with. This is in contrast to milk, which actually removes calcium from your bones. Good calcium absorption is also important for muscle contraction and relaxation. Remember that your heart is also a muscle. Very important for women 40+ because many more women die from cardiovascular diseases than from cancer, for example.
Important source of omega 3; the food for your brain
Finally, chia seeds contain a high content of omega 3 fatty acids; the healthy polyunsaturated fats we so need to keep our hormones in balance.
Omega 3 inhibits inflammation and can therefore lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Omega 3 is an important food for your brain. Do you feel like you have cotton wool in your head: soak a handful of chia seeds in a large glass of water and drink it. Drink a second glass because water itself is also very good for your brain!
Chia Seed Side Effects; pay attention!
Your body is the best counselor and is always right. Chia seeds are not suitable for everyone. It can cause bloating, flatulence, diarrhea and nausea. This is often caused by the high fiber content it contains. Then build it up slowly. If you suffer from constipation, these fibers are an advantage. But above all, drink plenty of water because otherwise the many fibers can lead to constipation. If you suffer from constipation, always eat plenty of vegetables, these are the best “pace makers” you can eat!
Sometimes it helps to soak the seeds for a while. Like unroasted nuts and seeds, chia seeds have an enzyme layer that is difficult for your intestines to digest. Some people experience the aforementioned intestinal complaints as a result. There are also people who get an allergic reaction to chia seeds. Again, your body is always right , reduce or stop chia seeds if you feel it isn’t good for you.
Also watch out for the blood thinning effect
Chia seed has a blood thinning and blood pressure lowering effect.
That is why there is a contraindication with blood thinners, blood pressure lowering drugs and diuretic drugs. This means that it is better not to use chia seeds when using these medicines. See if, in consultation with your doctor, you can reduce the blood pressure lowering drugs and increase the use of chia seeds. Chia seeds are more natural for your body than medicines .
So also be careful if you have low blood pressure; even then chia seeds are not suitable for you.
How do you use chia seeds?
Chia seeds are very easy to use in many ways. Make a gel by soaking it in water and use it as a base for your homemade muesli breakfast. You can also sprinkle it over a salad, over your rice cake with avocado spread, salmon or almond paste or use it in a smoothie. Mix it with your quinoa. As with everything else, eat it in moderation and alternate it with other superfoods.
Many health food stores and online stores now sell chia seeds. Pay close attention to its quality and preferably choose organic.