Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet.
They are loaded with nutrients that can have significant benefits for your body and brain.
Here are 11 science-backed benefits of chia seeds :
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica , which is related to mint.
Chia seeds were a very important food for the Aztecs and Mayans at the time.
They appreciated them for their ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact, 'chia' is the ancient Mayan word for 'strength'.
Despite their ancient history as a food staple, chia seeds have only recently gained recognition as a modern superfood .
In recent years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health conscious people all over the world.
Don't be fooled by their size - these tiny seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch.
A 28 gram serving of chia seeds contains :
- Fiber: 11 grams.
- Proteins: 4 grams.
- Lipids: 9 grams (including 5 omega-3s).
- Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
- They also contain a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), and vitamin B2.
This is particularly impressive considering it's only 28 grams or about two tablespoons. This small amount only provides 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrates.
Interestingly, if you subtract the fiber — most of which doesn't convert into usable calories for your body — chia seeds contain just 101 calories per 28 grams.
This makes it one of the world's best sources of several important nutrients, calories for calories.
To top it off, chia seeds are a whole grain food, usually grown organically. Plus, they're GMO-free and naturally free of gluten .
Another area where chia seeds shine is their high antioxidant content .
These antioxidants protect the sensitive fats of the seeds against rancidity .
Although the benefits of antioxidant supplements are debated, researchers agree that obtaining antioxidants from food can have positive effects on health .
More importantly, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer .
28 grams of chia seeds contain 12 grams of carbohydrates. However, 11 of those grams are fibers that your body does not digest.
Fiber does not raise blood sugar and does not require the elimination of insulin. Although they belong to the family of carbohydrates, their health effects are radically different from those of digestible carbohydrates like starch and sugar.
The digestible carbohydrate content is only one gram per 28 grams, which is very low. That makes chia seeds a food to low carb .
Due to their high soluble fiber content, chia seeds can absorb up to 10 to 12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach .
Theoretically, this should increase satiety, slow your food absorption, and help you automatically eat fewer calories.
Fiber also feeds the good bacteria in your gut, which is important – maintaining a well-nourished gut flora is absolutely crucial for good health ).
Chia seeds contain 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
Chia seeds contain a decent amount of proteins .
By weight, they contain about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants.
They also have a good balance in essential amino acids , so your body should be able to utilize their protein content .
Protein has various health benefits and is by far the most weight loss friendly dietary nutrient.
A high protein intake reduces appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire to snack at night by 50% .
Chia seeds are truly an excellent source of protein – especially for people who eat little to no animal products.
Many health experts believe that chia seeds can help with weight loss .
Its soluble fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in your stomach, which should increase satiety and slow food absorption .
Several studies have examined the glucomannan to soluble fiber , which works in a similar way, showing that it can lead to weight loss .
Additionally, the protein in chia seeds may help reduce appetite and food intake.
In fact, one study found that eating chia seeds for breakfast increased satiety and reduced food intake in the short term .
However, studies examining the effectiveness of chia seeds for weight loss provided rather disappointing results.
In a study of 90 overweight people, 50 grams of chia seeds daily for 12 weeks had no effect on body weight or health markers .
In another 10-week study in 62 women, chia seeds had no effect on body weight but increased the amount of omega-3 fats in the blood .
In contrast, a 6-month study in obese people with type 2 diabetes following a calorie-restricted diet found that daily consumption of chia seeds caused significantly greater weight loss than a placebo .
Although adding chia seeds to your diet is unlikely to cause weight loss , many experts believe they may be a useful addition to a weight loss diet.
A weight loss diet is not limited to simple foods. Everything about diet matters, along with other lifestyle behaviors like sleep and exercise.
When combined with an actual diet and a healthy lifestyle , chia seeds can definitely help promote weight loss .
Like the flaxseeds , chia seeds are very rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
In fact, chia seeds contain more omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the omega-3s they contain are mainly from TO THE (alpha-linolenic acid), which is not as beneficial as you might think.
ALA must be converted into the active forms, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) before your body can use it.
Unfortunately, humans are inefficient at converting ALA into these active forms.
Therefore, plant omega-3s tend to be vastly inferior to animal sources like fish oil .
Studies have shown that chia seeds — especially if ground — can increase blood levels of ALA and EPA, but not DHA .
This can be a problem.
Because they don't provide DHA , which is the most important omega-3 fat, most experts consider chia seeds to be an inferior source of omega-3s.
To get the DHA your body and brain need, eat oily fish regularly or take fish oil or - if you're vegan or vegetarian - a plant -based DHA supplement .
Since chia seeds are high in fiber, protein, and omega-3s, they may lower your risk of heart disease.
Their benefits have been examined in several studies, but the results have been inconclusive.
Studies in rats have shown that chia seeds can reduce certain risk factors, including triglycerides , inflammation, insulin resistance and abdominal fat. They may also raise “good” HDL cholesterol .
However, a study in humans detected no improvement in risk factors .
A few studies show that chia seeds significantly reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension, which is a strong risk factor for heart disease .
Overall, chia seeds may benefit heart health, but they probably won't have a major effect unless accompanied by other beneficial lifestyle and diet changes.
Chia seeds are rich in several nutrients important for bone health.
This includes the calcium , phosphorus, magnesium and protein.
The calcium content is particularly impressive - 18% of the RDA for 28 grams.
Gram for gram is higher than most dairy products. Therefore, chia seeds can be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who do not eat chia seeds. dairy products .
However, chia seeds also contain phytic acid , which to some extent reduces calcium absorption.
High fasting blood sugar is a typical symptom of untreated type 2 diabetes.
Persistently high fasting blood sugar is associated with an increased risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease .
But peaks temporary Post-meal blood sugar levels can also have adverse health effects when excessively high on a regular basis .
Animal studies have shown that chia seeds can improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, stabilizing blood sugar levels after meals .
A few human studies support this by showing that eating bread that contains chia seeds reduces the post-meal rise in blood sugar compared to bread that does not contain chia .
Inflammation is your body's normal response to infection or injury. Red and swollen skin is a typical example.
Although inflammation helps your body heal and fight bacteria, viruses, and other infectious agents, it can sometimes be harmful.
This mainly applies to chronic inflammation, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation often has no visible signs, but can be assessed by measuring inflammatory markers in your blood.
Various unhealthy lifestyle habits increase your risk of chronic inflammation, including smoking, lack of exercise, or poor diet.
On another side, some healthy foods can reduce blood levels of inflammatory markers.
A 3-month study in 20 people with diabetes showed that consuming 37 grams of chia seeds daily reduced the inflammatory marker hs-CRP by 40%. In contrast, those who got wheat bran did not experience a significant benefit .
Other studies on chia seeds have not detected significant effects on inflammatory markers .
Chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet.
The seeds themselves taste rather bland, so you can add them to almost anything.
They also don't need to be ground like flax seeds, which makes them much easier to prepare.
They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, added to porridge , pudding, smoothies or added to pastries.
You can also sprinkle them on cereal, yogurt, vegetable or rice dishes.
Due to their ability to absorb both water and fat, they can be used to thicken sauces and as substitutes for eggs in recipes.
They can also be mixed with water and turned into a gel.
Adding chia seeds to recipes will dramatically increase their nutritional value.
They also seem to be well tolerated, but if you're not used to eating a lot of fibre, there's a risk of digestive side effects if you eat too much at once.
A common dosage recommendation is 20 grams (about 1.5 tablespoons) of chia seeds , twice a day.
Chia seeds are not only rich in nutrients, omega-3 fats, antioxidants and fiber, but also easy to prepare. People usually add them to their porridge or smoothies.
Studies suggest they have various health benefits, ranging from weight loss to reduced inflammation.
If you don't already eat chia seeds , you should definitely consider adding them to your diet. They are one of the few superfoods worthy of this title .