Chia seeds are small, but they’re packed with nutrients. These seeds, which were a staple in the ancient Aztec and Maya diets, have been touted for centuries for their health benefits.
Chia seeds’ antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids may promote heart health, support strong bones, and improve blood sugar management.
Furthermore, chia seeds are adaptable and can be used in a variety of recipes. Personally, I enjoy their gel-like consistency by combining them with liquid and making chia pudding.
Here are seven scientifically supported health benefits of chia seeds.
- Very nutritive
Chia seeds are tiny black or white seeds derived from the plant Salvia hispanica L. They are thought to be indigenous to Central America.
Historically, the Aztec and Mayan civilizations used the seeds in their diets, as well as for medicinal purposes, religious rituals, and cosmetics. Chia seeds are now enjoyed by people all over the world.
Chia seeds were thought to be highly nutritious by ancient civilizations, and this belief is supported by modern science. In fact, 1 ounce (28 grams or 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds contains. This nutritional profile is especially impressive considering it is for a single serving of about two tablespoons.
Chia seeds are also high in antioxidants.
Antioxidants not only keep the sensitive fats in chia seeds from going rancid, but they also benefit human health by neutralizing reactive molecules known as free radicals, which can damage cell compounds if they accumulate in your body.
For example, free radical damage contributes to aging and diseases such as cancer.
Chia seeds contain antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol. These may all have heart and liver protective properties, as well as anticancer properties.
For example, chlorogenic acid may help lower blood pressure, whereas caffeic acid has anti-inflammatory properties.
- May help with weight loss
Chia seeds’ fiber and protein content may be beneficial to those attempting to lose weight.
One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains nearly 10 grams of dietary fiber. That means they’re 35% fiber by weight.
Although research on this topic is mixed, some studies suggest that eating fiber may help prevent overweight and obesity.
Furthermore, the protein in chia seeds may help reduce appetite and food intake.
One study with 24 participants discovered that eating 0.33 ounces (7 grams) or 0.5 ounces (14 grams) of chia seeds mixed with yogurt for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and reduced food intake in the short term compared to eating chia-free yogurt.
Nonetheless, studies on the effectiveness of chia seeds for weight loss have yielded mixed results.
- May reduce your risk of heart disease
Because chia seeds are high in fiber and omega-3s, eating them may lower your risk of heart disease.
Soluble fiber, which is primarily found in chia seeds, can help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in the blood. As a result, you may be less likely to develop heart disease.
Consumption of ALA, the omega-3 fatty acid found in chia seeds, has also been linked to a lower risk of heart disease.
Nonetheless, studies specifically examining the relationship between chia seeds and heart health have yielded inconclusive results.
Some rat studies have shown that chia seeds can reduce certain heart disease risk factors, such as high triglyceride and oxidative stress levels.
- Contains a lot of important bone nutrients
Chia seeds are high in several nutrients that are beneficial to bone health, including:
calcium \sphosphorus \smagnesium
Many observational studies suggest that getting enough of these nutrients is important for maintaining good bone mineral density, which is an indicator of bone strength.
Furthermore, the ALA found in chia seeds may help with bone health. Consuming this nutrient has also been linked to increased bone mineral density in observational studies.
As a result, it’s possible that eating chia seeds on a regular basis can help keep your bones strong.
- May lower blood sugar levels
Consuming chia seeds may help with blood sugar regulation, possibly due to their fiber content and other beneficial compounds.
Diabetes patients may experience high blood sugar levels. Consistently high fasting blood sugar levels are linked to an increased risk of several complications, including heart disease.
Animal studies indicate that chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity. This may help to stabilize blood sugar levels after meals.
Human research is limited, but some older studies have shown promising results.
- Simple to incorporate into your diet
Chia seeds are extremely simple to incorporate into your diet. They have a mild flavor and can be mixed into almost anything.
They don’t need to be ground, cooked, or otherwise prepared, making them a convenient addition to recipes.
They can be eaten raw, soaked in juice, or added to oatmeal, pudding, smoothies, and baked goods. You can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables, or rice dishes. Furthermore, they work well as a binding agent in homemade fritters.
Because of their ability to absorb water and fat, they can be used to thicken sauces and as an egg substitute. They can also be combined with water to form a gel.
The seeds appear to be well tolerated. If you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber, you may experience digestive side effects like bloating or diarrhea if you eat too many seeds in one sitting.
The bottom line
Chia seeds are not only high in minerals, omega-3 fats, antioxidants, and fiber, but they are also simple to prepare.
According to research, they have a variety of health benefits, ranging from weight loss to a lower risk of heart disease. However, more human-centered research is required before any firm conclusions can be drawn.
Consider incorporating chia seeds into your diet to reap the potential benefits. They’re delicious in smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, and other dishes.