Chia seeds are tiny, yet they're filled with vitamins and minerals. For millennia, these seeds have been hailed for their health benefits, and they were a staple in the ancient Aztec and Maya cuisines.
Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, minerals, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which may benefit heart health, bone strength, and blood sugar control.
Chia seeds are also versatile and can be used in a variety of cuisines. By combining chia seeds with liquid to make chia pudding, appreciate the gel-like consistency of the seeds.
Health benefits of chia seeds
- It's a good source of nutrition
Chia seeds are little black or white seeds that come from the plant Salvia hispanica L. They are considered to have originated in Central America.
The Aztec and Mayan civilizations used the seeds in their meals, as well as for medicinal purposes, religious rites, and cosmetics. Chia seeds are being eaten by people all over the world.
Chia seeds were regarded to be particularly nutritious by ancient societies, and contemporary science backs this up. In reality, 1 ounce of chia seeds (28 grammes or 2 tablespoons) contains the following nutrients:
- calorie count 138
- Protein content: 4.7 g
- Fat content: 8.7 g
- 5 g of ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
- 11.9 g carbohydrates
- Fibre content: 9.8 grammes
- 14 percent of the daily calcium requirement (DV)
- 12 percent of the daily value in iron
- Magnesium accounts for 23% of the daily value.
- 20% of the daily amount of phosphorus
- 12 percent of the daily value in zinc
- 15 percent of the daily intake of vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- 16 percent of the daily dose of niacin (vitamin B3)
It's impressive that this nutritional profile is for only a single serving of roughly two teaspoons.
- Antioxidants are abundant
Chia seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants help people stay healthy by neutralising reactive molecules called free radicals, which can damage cell compounds if they accumulate in the body. They also prevent chia seeds' delicate lipids from becoming rancid. Free radical damage, for example, has a role in the ageing process as well as diseases like cancer.
Antioxidants present in chia seeds include chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol. All of these substances may have heart and liver-protective properties, as well as anti-cancer properties.
For example, chlorogenic acid may help lower blood pressure, while caffeic acid has anti-inflammatory qualities.
- It may assist you in losing weight
Chia seeds are high in fibre and protein, so they may benefit people who are trying to lose weight. It is known to be a popular weight loss food
Chia seeds offer roughly 10 g of dietary fibre per ounce (28 grammes).
The above translates to a remarkable 35% fibre content in comparison.
The majority of the fibre in chia seeds is soluble fibre. It absorbs water, transforms into a gel, and expands in your stomach to aid digestion and make you feel fuller.
As a result, it's been proposed that soluble fibre can aid in weight loss and hunger control. Despite the fact that the research is mixed on this topic, some studies suggest that dietary fibre may aid in the prevention of overweight and obesity.
Furthermore, the protein found in chia seeds may help to reduce appetite and food intake. Consuming 0.33 ounces (7 grams) or 0.5 ounces (14 grams) of chia seeds coupled with yoghurt for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and reduced food intake in the short term when compared to eating chia-free yoghurt. Despite this, research on the weight-loss benefits of chia seeds has produced mixed results.
In a study, 90 overweight people were given 50 grams of chia seed supplements per day for 12 weeks and had no effect on their body weight or health markers like blood pressure and inflammation markers.
In a 6-month study of 77 overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes on a low-calorie diet, those who took chia seeds daily lost significantly more weight than those who took a placebo.
Though chia seeds by themselves are unlikely to help you lose weight, they can be a good addition to a well-balanced, healthy diet if you're trying to lose weight.
- It has the ability to lower your heart disease risk
Chia seeds, which are high in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Soluble fibre, like the kind found in chia seeds, can help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. As a result, your chances of developing heart disease may be lower.
Chia seeds contain the omega-3 fatty acid ALA, which has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Despite this, research into the relationship between chia seeds and heart health has shown mixed results.
In rat testing, chia seeds were shown to lower key heart disease risk factors like high triglyceride levels and oxidative stress.
Chia seed supplements were found to significantly lower blood pressure in those with hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is a key risk factor for heart disease, in a small number of human studies. Chia seeds may benefit overall heart health, but further research is required.
Chia seeds are high in nutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fibre, as well as being easy to prepare.
They have a number of health benefits, according to research, including weight loss and a lower risk of heart disease. Before any firm conclusions can be drawn, more human research is required. If you want to reap the benefits of chia seeds, include them in your diet. Smoothies, oats, yoghurt, baked goods, and other foods go well with them.