The 4 Biggest Nutritional Benefits Of Chia Seeds

Like kale, avocado and coconut oil, chia seeds have become a modern healthy eating staple. But, if exactly why they’re so great is as much of mystery to you, as the sudden return of bike shorts is to the entire world, allow us to break it down. Here, the top four reasons you should give […]

by | Oct 29, 2018

Like kale, avocado and coconut oil, chia seeds have become a modern healthy eating staple. But, if exactly why they’re so great is as much of mystery to you, as the sudden return of bike shorts is to the entire world, allow us to break it down. Here, the top four reasons you should give chia a chance…

Protein punch

These little seeds are a complete protein, which means they boast a full complement of essential amino acids. NBD, you say? Actually, that’s a huge deal, because it’s pretty rare for plant foods to contain all nine essential aminos. “These are amino acids that cannot be synthesised in our body and must be absorbed from our diet,” explains accredited practicing dietitian Emma Morris. “Our body uses protein to build and repair tissue and is the building blocks of bones, cartilage, muscles, skin and blood.” If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, chia seeds can help you up your protein intake. If not, they’re an excellent way to add more plant-based foods to your diet (and avoid steamed chicken fatigue). Stock your pantry with an Australian Grown option such as The Chia Co, so you know you’re getting sustainably grown, superior quality chia seeds, and you’re supporting Aussie farmers!

Fibre for the win 

Chia seeds score highly on another big-name nutrient: fibre. In fact, “Chia contains the perfect ratio of soluble and insoluble fibre, which is needed to keep our digestive system healthy,” says Morris. As well as keeping you regular, high-fibre diets are linked to lower rates of bowel cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Got a long run coming up or keen to dodge the 3pm slump? Chia’s mix of soluble and insoluble fibre can help as it ensures a stable release of energy. “It slows down our body’s process of breaking down carbohydrates to sugars, which results in more stable blood sugar levels and reduces the possibility of insulin surges, the hormone that stabilises blood glucose levels,” Morris explains. Sprinkle some seeds on your salad at lunch to keep energy dips at bay, or make your own natural energy gel for a training session: stir 1 tablespoon of chia seeds into 250ml water and allow it to sit for five minutes.

The good fat

Omega-3 fatty acid is one of those essential nutrients your body can’t make itself – you can only get it from food. It’s vital for keeping your heart healthy, and it’s also great for glowing skin, brain function and immunity. Oily fish is one of the best-known sources, but chia seeds provide an important plant-based type of omega-3 known as alpha-linoleic acid, or ALA, which research has found is especially beneficial for lowering cholesterol, maintaining artery function and reducing the risk of heart disease. So, it’s worth adding some chia to your grilled salmon. In fact, The Heart Foundation recommends eating two to three serves per week of oily fish and a daily serve of ALA. “Just 1 tablespoon of chia will provide you with your full RDI,” says Morris. Too easy.

Antioxidant power

This might just be what gives chia its ‘super’ status: the teeny seeds are teeming with antioxidants. In case you need a refresher, antioxidants are enzymes and nutrients that are really good at fighting free radicals – molecules that, in large numbers, can do damage to the human body (anything from speeding up the ageing process to causing a bunch of cancers). Chia seeds contain an abundance of powerful antioxidants including quercetin, kaempferol and chlorogenic acid, which studies suggest have anti-ageing and anti-carcinogenic characteristics.

So yeah, chia seeds really do deserve their place in your morning smoothie. Bike shorts though? The jury’s still out.

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Women Fleeing Domestic Violence Can Now Receive A One-Off Support Payment

It’s been labelled the shadow pandemic and the fact remains that for many women across Australia, domestic violence is a lived reality that doesn’t discriminate by age, occupation, or socio-economic status. Researchers have found that during Covid-19 lockdowns, there was a surge in family and domestic violence, with agencies experiencing a surge in demand as nearly half their clients reported an increase in controlling behaviours. 

As many who have lived through such turmoil and trauma can attest, the roadmap to fleeing such situations at home can be fraught with challenges and extremely difficult to navigate, particularly when such bureaucracy makes it even harder. Now, it’s been announced that women fleeing a violent relationship will be given a one-off $5,000 payment as part of a federal government trial scheme. 

Known as the “escaping violence payment scheme,” the government has set aside $144.5 million over the next two years to give women $1,500 cash, with the remainder to pay for goods and services, bond, school fees and other necessaries to establish a new safe home. UnitingCare Network will be tasked with delivering the payments while helping link women and their children with relevant community services. 

As the Daily Telegraph reports, “An analysis of domestic violence data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that while it is more common for women from poorer areas, women from high socio-economic areas are not immune from experiencing partner violence.”

As Women’s Safety Minister Anne Ruston explained, the trial has been introduced with the aim to help women overcome the financial barriers that might deter them from leaving a violent relationship. “We know that financial hardship as well as economic abuse - which may involve interfering with work or controlling or withholding money - reduces women’s ability to acquire and use money and makes it difficult to leave violent relationships,” she said. 

“The payments will assist people who need financial support to leave. We know the size of the house a woman is fleeing doesn’t matter. Often she bundles the kids into the car, maybe the dog too and they leave with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.”

To be eligible for a payment, women must be facing financial stress and have some evidence of domestic violence such as a referral from a family and domestic violence service provider with a risk assessment and safety plan, or an AVO, court order or police report. As UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little said, “We believe that all people, especially women and their children, have the right to live freely and without fear, and this payment is an important step forward to ending violence against women and children.”

If you require immediate assistance, please call 000.

If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800 

Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online. 

Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.