benefits of chia seeds
BY RASHANTI DE JAGER
QUESTION: What are the Ayurvedic benefits of
ANSWER: Tiny but potent, chia seeds are brimming
with benefits that can promote and sustain optimal
health. Two notable properties of chia seeds are that
they support deep hydration and are an excellent source
of high quality fiber. These qualities allow chia seeds to
improve and maintain our ojas (inner strength and vitality). Eating chia seeds regularly can also help quell inflammation, which is becoming increasingly understood
as a causative factor in many degenerative diseases.
Chia Supports Deep Hydration
Both the adequate intake of appropriate raw materials
and the cultivation of proper internal intelligence are
necessary for hydration. Our bodies need deep hydra-
tion at the level of our organs and nervous system; the
following raw materials are necessary:
Water at the correct temperature with the proper
pH (slightly alkaline is superior) and derived from
the right source. From an Ayurvedic perspective,
drinking water that falls somewhere between room
temperature to hot is much better for the body and
for optimum health. Spring water is the preferred
water source from an Ayurvedic perspective; dif-
ferent types of water have different medicinal uses
Essential fatty acids (particularly Omega-3s) from
foods such as hemp, borage, high lignan flax, evening primrose, and of course ch-ch-ch-chia.
In addition to these raw materials, cultivating proper
intelligence of the body allows us to experience appro-
priate hydration. This is accomplished through some of
Maintaining kidney health is important for overall
hydration. Helpful herbs for strengthening the kid-
neys include tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), punarnava
(Boerhaavia diffusa), and bhumyamalaki (Phyllan-
Hyaluronic acid has such a great impact on deep
hydration that I often refer to it as the “face cream”
of the nervous system. As a component of "Connec-tive tissues and neural tissues, hyaluronic acid functions as a lubricating agent in the body. It is found
in areas such as synovial fluid, cartilage, and skin.
There are a number of often mucilaginous plant
sources that possess the innate intelligence of hydration. These include shatavari (Asparagus rac-emosus), aloe, organic psyllium, chia seeds, licorice
root, cinnamon, slippery elm bark, or other demulcent, or soothing, herbs.
Cultivating a grounded lifestyle, diet, and mind.
Chia is an excellent food that helps to improve hydration at all tissue levels. From an Ayurvedic perspective,
chia attenuates, or reduces, vata (the air and space element), optimizes pitta (the fire element) and nourishes
kapha (the water and earth elements). Chia seeds are
also sattvic, or pure, in nature.
According to Ayurveda, sattvic foods are ones that cultivate and promote clarity and equanimity of the mind,
while also benefiting the body. Cultivating deep hydration using sattvic foods and herbs also helps to encourage the building of ojas, which is your core vitality,
endurance, sustainability, and the foundation of your
immunity. Therefore, you can use chia seeds, or other
Omega- 3 sources like far northern organic biodynamic
hemp or flax, as sattvic dietary sources to cultivate ojas.
Chia Is An Excellent Source Of Fiber
For optimum digestion and overall health of the digestive system, our dietary choices must support short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) production, mainly acetate,
propionate, and butyrate, which are produced in the
colon by anaerobic bacterial fermentation of undigested dietary carbohydrates and fiber polysaccharides. Butyrate, of which organic ghee is by far the best dietary
source, is considered the major fuel source for colon
epithelial tissue. SCFAs clearly play a key role in the
maintenance of colonic homeostasis.
Increasing colonic SCFA production by the addition of
the appropriate dietary fibers is both a great idea and a
primary treatment for many digestive issues. Hence using proper soluble fiber that can be fermented by intestinal flora to generate SCFAs is very important, and in my
opinion, top sources of this particular soluble fiber are
organic psyllium seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds. Note
that non-organic psyllium is one of the more toxic dysfunctional items you can put into your body, so make
sure you only use organic psyllium.