We all are in search of superfoods to incorporate into our diet, aren’t we? But, you don’t have to roam the wilderness to find the superfood. Yes! Chia seeds benefit the overall health of the body as they are rich in all the essential nutrients, calcium, antioxidants, protein, fibre, and the richness of omega-3 fatty acids.
Let us go through this article for the benefits of Chia seeds and how you can incorporate them into your diet. Then, read on to know more!
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are considered one of the few superfoods that should be included in our diets, scientifically called Salvia hispanica. The richness of Chia seeds comes from the omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, fibre, antioxidants, calcium and dates back to the Mayan and Aztec cultures, originating in Mexico.
Chia means strength in the Mayan language, and the body absorbs these as seeds because they are unprocessed and whole-grain foods. Thus, the benefits of Chia seeds are extended to humans, although initially, they were used as equine food.
Interesting Facts about Chia Seeds:
Here are some interesting facts you must know about Chia seeds other than all the health benefits associated with them.
- Chia plants can be grown without pesticides as they are members of the mint family, and usually, insects don’t like them.
- Aztecs have used Chia seeds as currency because of their excellent reputation.
- Chia seed plant has to be grown between 23 degrees north and 23 degrees south latitude as it needs a specific set of growing conditions and is temperamental.
- Dr Wayne Caotes led a project in search of cash crops in Argentina for the benefit of farmers in the 1990s and discovered chia.
- Chia seeds flowers are white and purple in colour.
Nutritional Value of Chia Seeds:
The body can absorb chia seeds as they are whole-grain and unprocessed. Here is the nutritional amount you can find in one ounce of chia seeds.
- 139 calories.
- 4 grams of protein.
- 9 grams of protein.
- 9 grams of fat.
- 12 grams of carbohydrates.
- 11 grams of fibre.
- Several vitamins and minerals.
Chia Seeds Benefits and Side Effects:
Chia seeds are considered one of the healthiest foods and can benefit your body and brain as they are loaded with ample nutrients. We present you with the 12 health benefits of consuming Chia seeds supported by science.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:
1. Chia Seeds Benefits for Weight Loss
Chia seeds are an exceptional addition to your diet if you are looking for weight loss. You can get the 39% of your recommended daily allowance of fibre from a one-ounce serving of Chia seeds.
Consumption of Chia seeds increases your feeling of fullness as the soluble fibre in these seeds absorbs water resulting in their expansion in your stomach. As a result, these Chia seeds help you maintain a healthy weight by keeping you fuller even when you eat less.
2. Chia Seeds Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Chia seeds might help in the prevention of diabetes as they help slow down digestion. It also helps prevents spikes in blood sugar levels because of the gelatinous coating. In addition, blood pressure levels are improved significantly in diabetic people when they consume Chia seeds (1).
The omega-3 fatty acids are nutritionally crucial for the treatment of diabetes, and Chia seeds have these fatty acids in abundance.
3. Chia Seeds Help Reduce High Blood Pressure
Chia seeds might help reduce the risk of developing several health conditions, including heart conditions because they have quercetin, an antioxidant. These seeds also can help lower high blood pressure as they have amounts of fibre (2).
4. Chia Seeds Lower Your Cholesterol
Moistened Chia seeds have a gluey texture that comes from the soluble fibre and mucilage present in them. These fibres slow down the digestive process, which promotes the feeling of fullness, prevents blood sugar spikes, and lowers LDL cholesterol. In addition, the omega-3s present in Chia seeds are beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels.
5. Decreases the Risk of Heart Disease
Chia seeds help reduce the risk of heart disease as they have high amounts of omega-3s, protein, and fibre. In addition, according to a few studies, Chia seeds lessen some of the substantial risk factors for heart disease, such as blood pressure in people with hypertension (3).
Chia seeds also help increase good HDL cholesterol and also help reduce certain risk factors like triglycerides, and inflammation that can lead to cardiac issues.
Although Chia seeds are beneficial for heart health, they probably won’t have a significant effect unless accompanied by other healthful lifestyle and dietary changes.
See Also: Surprising Benefits of Flaxseed
6. Helps Fight Cancer
Another significant health benefit of Chia seeds is that they might help fight cancer in your body when taken regularly, according to a report published by UCSF medical centre. In addition, they might help prevent breast cancer because Chia seeds are a good source of alpha-Linolenic acid and reasonable amounts of omega-3 fatty acids (4).
7. Chia Seeds Help Suppress Hunger
Chia seeds have high amounts of fibre and protein, which help suppress hunger by keeping you full for an extended period. When you feel full, there is no chance of you binge-eating unhealthy and high-calorie snacks.
So, if you are looking for a way to cut the unhealthy snacking habit out to a toss, try to include Chia seeds into your diet.
8. Excellent Source of Antioxidants
We all know the importance of antioxidants in our bodies, and you can find them in abundance in the Chia seeds. You can reduce the risk of cancer, and heart disease and slows down the signs of ageing with the help of antioxidants (5). In addition, when compared to other seeds, the antioxidant content makes the Chia seeds more shelf-stable.
9. Reduces Inflammation
When you are looking for foods that have anti-inflammatory properties, Chia seeds top the list as they contain protein, fibre, and omega-3s (6). Therefore, you can use Chia seeds as an aid in treating arthritis because of their anti-inflammatory properties.
The elastic nature found in cereal grains, especially wheat, comes from a protein called gluten. But people who are allergic to gluten are increasing dramatically, and therefore search for naturally gluten-free food has increased too. For example, Chia seeds are 100% gluten-free and are an excellent option for celiac disease.
Chia seeds are a rich source of calcium and fibres, which are the two nutrients, consumed less by people with celiac disease, and therefore these seeds bridge the gap beautifully (7).
11. Chia Seeds Have a Very High Fiber Content
Chia seeds can absorb 10 to 12 times their weight in water as all the fibre from these seeds comes from carbohydrates (8). So you can get 12 grams of carbs from one ounce of Chia seeds, out of which 11 grams is fibre.
Although fibre belongs to the carbohydrates family, it doesn’t need to be disposed of or cause any harmful effects, unlike sugar and starch, digestible carbs. For example, Chia seeds are considered low-carb friendly food as they contain a minimal amount of digestible carbs.
12. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are good for your health as they have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are heart-healthy. Omega-3 alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA) forms 75% of the fats and omega-6 fatty acids form the other 20% of the Chia seeds (9). So, if you are looking for a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids, Chia seeds are the perfect source (10).
See Also: Is It Safe to Eat Chia Seeds During Pregnancy?
Chia Seeds Benefits for Hair:
13. Strengthens Hair
Chia seeds help fortify and strengthen hair fibres as they contain compounds called protein (l-lysine) and phosphorous. These two elements, along with several vitamins and minerals present in Chia seeds, work well to prevent hair loss. Therefore, you can reduce the breakage and shed to a great extent with the consumption of Chia seeds.
14. Chia Seeds for Hair Growth
Chia seeds are pretty beneficial for your hair as they help boost the scalp’s health from the inside with high levels of essential amino acids. It also increases hair growth and inhibits hair fall efficiently.
Chia Seeds Benefits for Skin:
One of the prominent Chia seeds benefits for skin is that it protects your skin from the radical damage caused by UV exposure as it has high amounts of antioxidants.
The high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids strengthen the barrier on the skin, which protects your surface from external aggressors, thereby keeping at bay signs of ageing like wrinkles and fine lines.
16. Hydrates Skin
Chia seeds can hold half their weight of water which means adding them to your diet will keep you hydrated. This hydrating effect can be seen on the skin beautifully. Hydration plays a prominent role in maintaining your skin health, and Chia seeds are here to the rescue.
17. Add Glow To Your Skin
Chia seeds help boost the luminosity and elasticity of your skin because these seeds are a rich source of nutrients like vitamins A and C, potassium, and iron.
It also keeps the damage caused by UV rays to a minimum and protects your surface by forming a solid skin barrier with the help of omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia Seeds Side Effects:
Chia Seeds have several health benefits, but consuming them in large amounts might lead to some side effects. Let us go through some of the side effects:
- Consuming too many Chia Seeds might lead to potential digestive issues like gas, bloating, and diarrhoea because of their high fibre content.
- There is a chance of flare-ups in inflammatory bowel conditions like Crohn’s if you consume Chia Seeds in excess.
- Chia Seeds, when consumed dry, might pose a choking hazard. So, it is suggested to presoak your Chia Seeds in water until they turn gelatinous.
- Suppose you are taking medications for pre-existing conditions like hypertension or diabetes. In that case, it is better to consult a doctor before you add Chia Seeds to your diet to avoid any complications.
- Although Chia Seeds have several health benefits, make sure you are not allergic to these seeds to avoid any allergic reactions. Itching of the tongue or lips, vomiting, and diarrhoea are some of the symptoms you need to watch out for.
Easy Chia Seeds Recipes:
1. Chia Water
- ¼ cup of Chia seeds.
- Four cups of water.
- Two tbsp of lime or lemon juice.
- Soak the Chia seeds in the water for about 30 minutes.
- Add the freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice to the soaked Chia seeds and mix them thoroughly.
- Enjoy the drink.
2. Chia Pudding
- Two tbsp of Chia seeds.
- ½ cup of milk of your choice.
- One tbsp of honey.
- Sliced fruits of your choice for toppings.
- Take a jar and pour all the ingredients into it.
- Combine the contents thoroughly without any clumps.
- Refrigerate the mixture either for two hours or overnight.
- Top it with the slices of your favourite fruit and enjoy.
3. Chia Smoothie
- One tbsp of Chia seeds.
- One frozen banana.
- One handful of spinach.
- One cup of almond milk.
- Two tbsp of cacao powder.
- Place all the ingredients in a blender and add ice as per your preference for the texture.
- Blend the contents until you get what you want.
- Add milk if you feel it is necessary.
- Enjoy the fresh smoothie.
4. Chia Seeds Oatmeal
- ½ a cup of instant oatmeal.
- 1 tbsp of Chia seeds.
- 1 tbsp of finely ground flaxseeds.
- ¼ cup of raisins.
- ¼ cup of walnut pieces.
- 1 tbsp of honey.
- ¼ cup of milk.
- Combine the oatmeal in a cup of water and cook them on low flame.
- Once the oats are thoroughly cooked, add all the other ingredients except milk and combine them.
- Leave it for a few minutes.
- Now stir the mixture in the milk and combine the mixture thoroughly.
See Also: Super Benefits of Sesame Seeds
I hope we have convinced Chia Seeds to be a superfood with all the nutritional value. They are beneficial for you in multiple ways, and consumption is pretty easy too. So without further ado, think of your health and bring a pack of Chia Seeds in your kitchen stock. Don’t forget to let us know if you found the article on Chia Seeds’ benefits has been helpful.
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in this article are for informational purposes and not a replacement for professional medical advice. It is always safe to consult a doctor or dietician before trying out anything new.
1. When is the right to consume chia seeds?
Ans: There are no rules for consuming chia seeds as you can eat them throughout the day, whether with a full meal or chia water on an empty stomach. Unless you are allergic, you can consume chia seeds anytime.
2. Are chia seeds safe to consume?
Ans: Although chia seeds are usually safe, proper preparation is necessary to reduce the risk of choking. Make sure to submerge the chia seeds long enough to form a gel-like and soft form before consuming them.
3. How long should you soak chia seeds before consuming them?
Ans: Chia seeds need a minimum of 30 minutes to reach a chewy consistency irrespective of your preparation. Presoak chia seeds overnight if you are planning to drink chia water.