Shakeology Ingredients – Chia Seed
Chia seed is one of the most beneficial Shakeology ingredients, and it’s also one that many people are not familiar with.
What is Chia Seed?
Salvia hispanica, commonly known as Chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family Lamiaceae that is native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. It was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times, and was so valued that it was given as an annual tribute by the people to the rulers.
Chia is best known to Americans as the seed used for the novelty of the Chia Pet: clay heads, animals, and cartoon characters which sprouted Chia seeds and could be grown and sculpted into outrageous shapes.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds, however have an enormous amount of health benefits and are much more than a household novelty. The word chia is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily, which is fitting, given that the Chia seed is best known as an incredible source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, primarily alinolenic acid (ALA).
If you mix a spoonful of Chia into a glass of water and leaving it sit for approximately 30 minutes, when you return the glass will appear to contain not seeds nor water, but an almost solid gelatin. This gel-forming reaction is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia.
Researchers believe this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when food containing these gummy fibers, known as mucilages, are eaten. The gel that is formed in the stomach creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
This is incredibly useful for diabetics, in order to slow the digestion of food and prevent heavy blood sugar spikes (something which can create insulin production problems). Additionally, this digestion ‘buffer’ adds endurance for healthy individuals, allowing the food we ingest to fuel us for longer.
Chia seeds are also incredibly hydrophilic and can absorb nearly 12 times their weight in water. This allows your body to regulate hydration and maintain an electrolyte balance much more easily, especially during periods of heavy physical exertion. Additionally, Chia has been shown to reduce blood pressure similar to flax seed, but is easier to digest and more versatile for preparing and cooking.
Chia seeds provide ample calcium and protein to your tissues, while filling you up quickly. Due to this fact, it is ideal for someone trying to manage their weight. The seeds are also rich in boron, which helps the body assimilate and use calcium. The nutrients present in Chia also support proper brain functioning.
- Chia Seed in Shakeology – Each Shakeology serving contains 500 mg of Chia seed.
If you would like to continue learning about other Shakeology ingredients, be sure to read our article on flax seed.