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Reduces pressure and clears arteries: Nutritionist hails super useful product

Reduces pressure and clears arteries: Nutritionist hails super useful product What are the benefits of chia seeds (photo: Freepik)

Some foods are packed with so many beneficial minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that they are deemed superfoods. Chia seeds fall into this category, according to nutritionist Anastasia Holoborodko.

What to know about chia seeds

"Chia seeds are the seeds of a plant from the sage family, originally from Latin America. It grows at elevations of 1800-2600 meters above sea level. The small oval seeds, gray-black in color and 1mm in size, are among the most popular superfoods today," says the expert.

Superfoods encompass roots, seeds, flowers, algae, berries, leaves, and stems of plants that have a high concentration of beneficial substances unique in their properties.

"There has never been a 100% guaranteed proof that superfoods will make you stronger and healthier. Waiting for results while continuing to consume fast food is not advisable. All powders, juices, gels, capsules, and extracts are beneficial additions to the diet but are not a substitute or a panacea for health," says Holoborodko.

She notes, based on historical evidence, that chia seeds were arguably a staple, alongside amaranth, corn, and beans, in the diets of the Mayans and Aztecs, and a fundamental part of the ration for warriors.

"It was believed that 1 tablespoon of seeds per day could maintain excellent physical shape for 24 hours. Traditional healers treated joint ailments and skin problems with the seeds," says the nutritionist.

Does science confirm the benefits of chia seeds?

Science shows that chia seeds contain approximately 20% high-quality plant proteins, 34% beneficial fats – particularly valued for their high content of linolenic acid, omega-3, and other unsaturated fatty acids – 25% gut-friendly fiber, and a significant amount of antioxidants, as well as plant-based calcium, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

"Chia actively reduces cholesterol levels in the body, leads to a decrease in atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessels, normalizes blood pressure, reduces the risk of stroke and cardiovascular diseases, and efficiently removes excess water from the body," says Holoborodko.

She explains that when chia seeds are soaked in water, a gel-like layer forms around each seed after a few minutes. When this gel with beneficial chia seeds enters the stomach, it creates a barrier between digestive enzymes and incoming food.

"This contributes to the slow conversion of carbohydrates into sugars, allowing for a prolonged maintenance of low blood sugar levels," notes the expert.

She emphasizes that there are no downsides to chia.

"Other superfoods include cocoa beans, spirulina, goji berries, acai berries, flaxseeds, gotu kola, camu-camu, carob, various sprouts, guarana, quinoa, and other whole grains, maca root, hemp seeds, and vanilla," adds Holoborodko.