There are a dozen health benefits of chia seeds and you can take advantage of them easily.
Chia Seeds are tiny black seeds of a plant, Salvia Hispanica, commonly known as Chia Plant.
It is native to Mexico and Guatemala, and a staple food for Aztecs and Mayans.
In fact, ‘chai’ is an ancient Mayan word for ‘strength’.
Moreover, they improve digestive health, blood levels of heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids, and risk factors for heart diseases and diabetes.
Interestingly, Chia Pets are American-styled terracotta figurines used to sprout chia, where the chia sprouts grow within a couple of weeks to resemble the animal’s fur or hair.
These seeds are very versatile, small, flat, and ovular with a shiny and smooth texture.
You can use them in pudding, porridge, baked goods or simply sprinkle them on your salads or yogurt.
Moreover, they have the ability to absorb water and form a gel, they can be used to thicken sauces or as an egg replacement.
Chia seeds are one of the healthiest foods and the planet and have a number of benefits.
They are filled with nutrients that are beneficial for both, your body and brain.
Let us dig right into the 10 proven health benefits of Chai Seeds along with scientific evidence.
1# Filled with Nutrients
Chia seeds provide sustainable energy to your body and brain.
They were used not only by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, but today, they are very much popular.
Their size might be very small, but they hold a number of nutrients in them that are beneficial for you.
One ounce of Chia seed serving contains:
- Fiber; 11 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of them is omega 3 fatty acids)
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDI
- Manganese: 30% of the RDI
- Calcium: 18% of the RDI
You might find it interesting considering it is just one ounce that has so many potential health benefits.
Moreover, this amount provides 137 calories and 1 gram of digestible carbs.
More interesting, if you do not consider the fibers in them, then chia seeds contain only 101 calories per ounce.
This makes them one of the best sources of several important nutrients in the world’s food sources.
To top things off, Chia seeds are a whole-grain food that is organic, there are non-GMO and free from gluten.
2# Loaded with Antioxidants
Chia seeds are full of antioxidants and these antioxidants protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid.
These are one of the superfoods available that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants.
Although the benefits of antioxidants are still debatable, many researchers agree that getting them from foods can have positive effects on your health.
Moreover, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals which can damage cell molecules and contribute to the process of aging and diseases like cancer.
3#Chia Seeds Benefits: Full of Fiber
All carbs in Chia Seeds are fiber. You can consume them as chia seed pudding, in dried form as well.
1 ounce i.e. 28 grams of chia seeds contains 12 grams of carbs, however, 11 of those are the fiber that your body will not digest.
Fiber does not raise your blood sugar and insulin levels.
Although they belong to the family of carbs, their health effects are different from digestible carbs like starch and sugar.
Moreover, the digestible carb content is only 1 gram which is significantly low.
This makes Chia seeds low-carb friendly food.
As they are high in soluble fiber content, they can absorb up to 10 to 20 times their weight in water, and becomes a gel-like structure,
This when expands in your stomach increases your fullness, slow absorptions of your food and you eat lesser calories.
Fiber also feeds friendly bacteria to your intestines which helps to keep your gut flora well-fed and is very crucial for your health. Thus, they are good for your gut health.
Chia seeds contain 40% of fiber by weight, therefore, making them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
4# Quality Protein
Chia seeds contain protein in them and by weight, they have almost 14% of the protein in them.
Moreover, they have a good balance of essential amino acids, which enables your body to make use of their protein content.
Protein has a number of health benefits and is one of the weight loss-friendly dietary nutrients.
A protein intake that is high lowers your appetite and reduces obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for nighttime snacking by 50% according to studies.
5# Chai Seeds Benefits: Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Just like flaxseeds, chia seeds have a high content of omega 3 fatty acids.
In fact, it is more as compared to salmon.
However, it is important to keep in mind, that omega 3 fatty acids in them are Alpha-linolenic acid ALA, which is not as beneficial as you might think.
ALA has to be converted into active forms of eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA, and docosahexaenoic acid DHA before your body can use them.
But your body does not have the ability to convert ALA into these active forms.
Therefore, the omega 3 acids from plants are not as beneficial as from animal sources.
Moreover, studies show that chia seeds can increase blood levels of ALA and EPA but not DHA.
This can create a problem for you because they do not supply DHA which is an important fatty acid.
To get DHA, your body and brain require, you can either eat fatty fish regularly to take fish oil.
6# Risk of Heart Diseases
Chia seeds have high fiber content, proteins, and omega 3 acids and they help to reduce your risk of developing heart diseases.
Several studies show their benefits however, they are inconclusive.
According to rat studies, chia seeds can lower your risk factors including triglycerides, inflammation, insulin resistance as in type 1 diabetes, and belly fat.
Moreover, they also raise the amount of ‘good cholesterol in your blood.
Some studies also show that chia seeds can significantly reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension, which is one of the strong factors for heart diseases.
7# Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
If you do not get treatment for Type 2 Diabetes, then it results in high blood sugar levels.
Moreover, if you have consistently high fasting blood sugar levels, this will increase your chances of several chronic diseases including heart diseases.
However, temporary spikes in blood sugar levels after you take a meal may also have adverse health effects.
Animal studies suggest that chia seeds may help improve insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar levels.
Therefore, stabilizing blood sugar levels after a meal.
Some human studies also suggest that eating bread that contains chia seeds can help lower post-meal rise in blood sugar as compared to a bread that does not contain them.
8# Chai Seeds Benefits: Important Bone Nutrients
Chia seeds are high in different nutrients that are important for your bone health. These are phosphorus, calcium, protein, and magnesium.
The calcium content is 18% of the RDI in a single ounce, which is particularly impressive.
Moreover, this is higher than other dairy products, from gram to gram.
As a result, chia seeds are an excellent source of calcium for people who do not intake or eat dairy.
However, they contain phytic acid, which reduces calcium absorption to some extent.
9# Helps to Lose Weight
Different nutritionists and health experts believe that chia seeds can help in weight loss.
The soluble fiber in them absorbs water and expands in your stomach that increases fullness and slows the absorption of food in your body.
Several other studies show that soluble fiber glucomannan which works in the same way can lead to weight loss.
The protein in chia seeds also helps to reduce appetite and food intake.
In fact, a study found that eating chia seeds for breakfast increases satiety and reduces food intake in the short term.
According to another study, when obese people had an intake of chia seeds along with a calorie-deficit diet, it caused greater weight loss than a placebo.
However, they alone cannot help reduce weight, for that you will have to have a healthy lifestyle along with additional benefits of Chia Seeds.
10#Chia Seeds Benefits: Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is your body is a response to infection or injury.
A typical example is red and swollen skin.
Although inflammations help to heal and fight off bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, however, it can be harmful in some cases.
This applies to chronic inflammation which is associated with increasing your chances of heart diseases and cancer.
Moreover, chronic inflammations do not have any visible signs and therefore you cannot assess them by measuring inflammatory markers in your bloodstream.
Different unhealthy lifestyle habits can increase your chances of chronic inflammations that include smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet.
On the other hand, certain healthy foods can however reduce the blood levels of inflammatory markers.
One study found, that people who eat 37 grams of chia seeds daily reduce inflammatory markers hs-CRP by 40%.
Side Effects and Potential Risks
There are no potential side effects from consuming chia seeds.
However, in order to avoid possible risks, drinking plenty of water while eating them can help.
Moreover, they contain phytic acid which binds minerals like iron and zinc and inhabits their uptake from foods.
A large amount of omega 3 fatty acid has blood-thinning effects on your body.
In case you are already taking blood thinners, it is important that you consult with your doctor before taking these seeds.
Omega 3 acids can affect the activity of the medication you are already taking.
Thus, seek medical advice and consider the grams of protein and grams of fiber.
Chia seeds are not only a source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber but also easy to incorporate and intake.
You can have dried chia seeds, with their nutritional benefits to reduce high blood pressure, reduce insulin levels, etc.
You can commonly add them to porridge or smoothies or as per your liking. It has a number of health benefits, ranging from weight loss to reducing inflammation according to studies.
In case, you do not have them in your dietary routine, you should consider adding them to your diet as they are among few superfoods worth their title.