Chia, or Salvia hispanica, is a plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family, the same as peppermint, native to central America. Already known and cultivated by the Aztecs, nowadays its seeds are well appreciated and used all over the world for their healthy properties. But from chia seeds another interesting product is obtained, the cold pressed chia seed oil. This oil is a source of omega 3 fatty acids, powerful substances able to counteract the inflammations in the body, arthritis but also cancers. About this last statement we can mention the study published in 2007 on the journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids and performed by a team of Argentinian scientists that investigated the effect of chia seed oil on a type of breast cancer on animals and discovered that it is effective in inducing the apoptosis, namely the death, of the cancer cells and also in inhibiting the formation of metastasis. However other studies are required in order to test this action also on humans but this is, of course, a first very promising result. Another important effect, demonstrated also by scientific studies, is the beneficial action of chia seed oil for external use in case of itching that can be caused by problems of kidneys, diabetes or simply dry skin. The study, published in 2010 on the journal Annals of Dermatology, has demonstrated that, after 8 weeks of topic application of chia seed oil improvement in symptoms and skin hydration have been registered. These are the main characteristics of chia seed oil that, however, in respect of the whole seeds, has less properties. It hasn’t indeed fibers and just a small quantity of mineral salts and antioxidants. Then, according to a study published in 2007 on the journal Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism by a team of the University of Arizona, Tucson, USA, the best results for what concerns the role of omega 3 in the reduction of triglycerides and in the increase of the good HDL cholesterol have been obtained with whole chia seed while the oil induces just minor improvements. For this reason, chia seeds and chia oil have important properties but for a healthy lifestyle a good choice should be that to consider both products and insert both in your own diet. Chia seed oil should be used raw to season vegetables or salads, since it is a high calorie food it is better don’t exceed 20 g per day.
Chia seed oil
Omega 3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties, useful in case of arthritis, anticancer action demonstrated by scientific studies, for external use beneficial action in case of itching caused by eczema, dry skin but also by problems of kidneys or diabetes.