“Think global, eat local” is a thought which is on most peoples minds when it comes to super foods and their health benefits. Today lets talk about chia seeds and their so-called “local” counterpart, sabja seeds.
Chia seeds are tiny, mottled grey, black and white seeds of the plant Salvia hispanica. These seeds were used by Aztec warriors and runners, allowing them to sustain themselves over an entire day just on 1 tablespoon of the seeds. These seeds are pesticide- free since insects do not attack the plant. They have heart healthy benefits and have more omega-3 fatty acids than flax seeds.They are also anti-inflammatory and keep the blood vessels well dilated, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.They are easy to digest and are gluten-free.Since chia seeds have a good protein and calcium content, they help to build endurance as well as muscles and tissues. Boron, a mineral needed for the absorption and assimilation of calcium is also present in chia seeds….thus those predisposed to osteoporosis benefit from chia. Chia gel forms a barrier between carbohydrates and enzymes, thus slowing down the conversion of carbs to sugar which obviously helps diabetic patients tremendously. By causing satiety, it helps control hunger and overeating…leading to weight loss. When chia seeds are consumed at bedtime, they release the amino acid tryptophan which converts into the ‘feel-good’ hormone serotonin, thus encouraging a good nights sleep.
Sabja seeds on the other hand are black seeds of the plant Ocimum basilicum. They are also called basil seeds or takhmaria or falooda seeds. They are anti-bacterial, anti- inflammatory and anti-oxidant in nature. They are rich in vitamins A,C and K and minerals like calcium, manganese, magnesium and iron.They provide relief from acidity, constipation, flatulence, colds etc. They help in controlling hunger because they absorb water and swell in the gut. They ‘cool’ the system and are often consumed in the hot summer months with rose syrup, cold milk etc.
When chia seeds and sabja seeds are soaked in water they both absorb water and swell. If you look closely at the picture you will be able to see the difference. Chia seeds increase in size, clump together and the water in which they are soaked converts into a thick viscous gel.Hence they can be incorporated into smoothies and are also used in bakery products as egg replacements. Sabja seeds will swell to a much greater extent but the viscosity of the water will not change. This is how you will be able to identify if your vendor has sold you chia seeds ( which are very expensive) or the cheaper sabja seeds ( calling it “Indian Chia”!!!)
Sabja seeds REDUCE ESTROGEN LEVELS and delay the menstrual cycle. So if you are looking to conceive or delay the onset of menopause or if you have PCOD then it is up to you to make an informed choice between sabja and chia!
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Stay blessed with good health …always!!!