Chia Seeds have recently become quite popular. You may find chia seeds all over, on the health websites, in healthy diets, dietician’s list of preferred foods, etc. The small seeds are a powerhouse of essential nutrients that boost your health. But are these truly helpful? This article has it all about Chia Seeds and the health benefits of Chia Seeds.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia Seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica found in Mexico. Studies reveal that these have been quite popularly used during the Mayan and Aztec Civilization for their numerous benefits. Both black chia seeds and white chia seeds were in use as an energy booster. Though their use decreased with time, now they are back again claiming their once occupied throne. Chia means strength; apt to their name Chia seeds work as super-food providing you energy and improved health owing to their rich nutrient content.
Chia seeds Nutrition Facts- Reason behind the Health benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are the members of the mint family. These have a high amount of essential nutrients that keep you in best of your health. These are rich in antioxidants and have a high content of minerals like Calcium, Potassium, and magnesium. Further, a high amount of Vitamins present in them boost your immune system. Chia Seeds are also a rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids, dietary fiber, and proteins that make them a super-food(1).
Around one ounce of Chia Seeds which can be taken in two tablespoons constituting 28 grams provides you-
- 11 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of protein
- 9 grams of fats of which 5 grams form omega-3 fatty acids
- 18 amino acids including all the nine essential ones for the body
- Calories in Chia Seeds: 137 calories
- 1 gram of digestible carbohydrates
Of the total calories, some get used as fiber hence chia seeds provide you comparatively low calories.
Health benefits of Chia Seeds
By now you would be convinced as to why Chia Seeds are so popular. Their small dosage can give you much more nutrition than most other foods. Their high nutritive value provides you with numerous benefits. Have a look at some of the fantastic health benefits of Chia seeds.
1. Chia seeds help in weight loss
Are you trying hard to see some deflection towards left in the needle of your weighing machine? But despite all the continuous efforts, there isn’t a slight difference in your weight? If yes, then try the fantastic Chia Seeds. These have become popular across the globe for their usefulness in weight loss(2).
Chia seeds are good for weight loss owing to their high fiber content. The high content of fiber along with protein keeps you fuller for long thus reducing your food cravings unhealthy snacking habits. Further, the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid also contributes to weight loss.
Recommended Read: Best Diet plans for Weight Loss
The chia seeds weight loss trick that you should follow
- Take a glass of water
- Add to it two tablespoons of raw chia seeds
- Stir the contents well
- Leave it for a few minutes. Do not leave them for long as the seeds will absorb water and swell
- Drink the mixture immediately.
The seeds when in stomach absorb water and expand thus filling you and suppressing the appetite.
2. Chia seeds regulate blood sugar level
Chia seeds are quite useful in maintaining blood sugar level and thus prevent diabetes. Presence of abundant amount of fiber and protein in chia seeds slows down digestion which prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar level. It improves the body metabolism and regulates the blood sugar(3).
People who have Diabetes will find chia seeds much useful as these prevent the instant spikes after meals. You can add it to high sugar foods to avoid the spikes.
Also Read: Essential Oils for Diabetes
3. Chia Seeds maintain heart health
As you know, chia seeds have loads of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and fiber which make them great for your heart. One of the primary health benefits of chia seeds is that it reduces inflammation that strains your blood vessels.
Excessive pressure on your blood vessels is responsible for chronic heart conditions. Chia seeds minimize swelling and keep your heart healthy. Further, these contain Omega 3 fatty acids that keep your cholesterol level under check and prevent blockage of arteries.
4. Benefits of Chia seeds an energy booster
Chia seeds are in use since ancient times for the high energy they provide. Athletes are extensively using these for raising power and improving their performance. The high amount of protein helps in building muscles. Consuming Chia seeds before work-outs increases the stamina Athletes also use chia seeds for carb loading, i.e., chia seeds help increase the storage of glycogen in muscles and liver that enhances the body endurance thus boosting performance.
5. Chia seeds promote Digestive health
The high fiber content in chia seeds certainly boosts digestive health. The fibers regulate the bowel movement and ensure regularity thus preventing constipation. It also acts as a pre-biotic adding the beneficial bacteria to your gut. The bacteria keep your gut healthy and healthy thus reducing the risk of several diseases. A healthy gut is essential for a healthy life. Chia seeds relieve you of all the digestive worries so that you can live your life with much more freedom.
Read More: Home remedies for Constipation
6. Chia seeds keep you young and active
Among the so many health benefits of chia seeds, one important one is that the super-food can keep you super active and young. How? Chia Seeds are rich in antioxidants that keep you hale and hearty in the long run. The antioxidants help your body get rid of the toxin and improves the body mechanism at the cell level which means the cells work at their optimum best keeping you healthy and much more active.
The antioxidants are much more potent. These also promote healthy skin(7) and reduce the signs of aging. For those, who believe age to be just a number, chia seeds are a great companion.
7. Chia seeds strengthen your bones
One ounce of Chia seeds provides around 18% of the recommended dietary intake which is much more than most of the dairy products. Thus consuming chia seeds is one of the best ways to meet the calcium requirement of your body. Calcium is an essential mineral found in bones; thus, helps strengthen them(4).
Further, chia seeds also contain manganese and phosphorous both of which play a crucial in enhancing bone health. Therefore, if you are not getting an adequate amount of calcium or suffer from poor bone health, then including chia seeds to your diet would be a great idea. Chia seeds are a useful ingredient for those who avoid dairy products or are allergic to them.
8. Chia Seeds fight Cancer Cells
Health benefits of Chia Seeds are many, but one significant advantage of the seeds is that consuming chia seeds can protect you from a fatal disease like Cancer. The presence of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid makes chia seeds quite effective against cancer. ALA is known to prevent cervical and breast cancer by killing the cancer cells without harming the healthy cells of the body. It also inhibits tumor growth(5).
9. Chia Seeds help treat Diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is a condition wherein tube-like structures appear in your intestine without causing any inflammation but affecting your digestion. The appearance of tube-like structure in the intestine may get attributed to the lack of fiber.
Chia seeds are plant proteins and contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids that prevent Diverticular disease(6). Further, the presence of fiber ensures proper bowel movement by absorbing the water present in the colon and clearing the passage. Thus, chia seeds help in treating the condition.
10. Chia Seeds have anti-inflammatory properties
Chia seeds are anti-inflammatory. While inflammation hints about your body’s defense against various disease-causing germs and helps in healing, chronic inflammation is not significant for the body. Such inflammation affects your blood vessels and puts your heart at risk. Chia seeds being anti-inflammatory prevent such condition and keep your heart healthy. Further, these also aid in treating conditions like arthritis.
Read More: Home Remedies for Arthritis
11. Chia Seeds improve your oral health
Chia seeds contain essential nutrients that promote good oral health. These are rich in calcium, phosphorous, zinc and Vitamin A that keep your smile beautiful and healthy. Calcium is an essential constituent of teeth and keeps them healthy.
Phosphorous and Vitamin are also known to play a vital role in strengthening your teeth. Besides them, Chia seeds also contain zinc that prevents the build-up of plaque. Further, its anti-microbial properties keep the germs that cause bad breath away.
How to use Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are not only getting people’s favorite for their health benefits but also for their easy usage. You need not do much to enjoy the health benefits of Chia Seeds. You can use these in numerous ways. Here is how you can incorporate chia seeds in your diet.
Chia Seeds in water
The easiest way to consume chia seeds is to add them to water. The simpler the trick, the more the benefit. Soak chia seeds in water. The seeds are hydrophilic which means that they have a strong affinity for water. They will absorb water and swell. You can soak them in water and after that chew them easily.Or mix them in a glass of water, stir and drink after a few minutes. Dry chia seeds are not easy to eat.
Further, you will have to drink a lot of water after consuming them. Hence it is better to ingest them with water.
Add whole Chia Seeds to foods and recipes
If you do not wish to consume chia seeds with water, then another delicious way is to add them to your meal. You may add them to soups, smoothies, salads and enjoy lip-smacking dishes. If you add them to dry dishes, then these will add a crunchy texture to the recipe. Even if you sprinkle uncooked chia seeds on top of wet food, they will not soak in the liquid to form a gel. It will happen only when you will mix them into the food.
Powder Chia Seeds
If you wish to change the texture of your dish and thicken it, then Chia seed powder is an excellent ingredient for it. Adding chia seeds will thicken the dishes. It is because of the hydrophilic nature of the seeds. Grind Chia Seeds into a fine powder and add them to your recipe. The chia seeds absorb the excess of liquid and provide a thick consistency to the dish.
Chia Seeds in tea
Besides using chia seeds in the food, you can also add them to your tea to get their numerous benefits. Add chia seeds to the tea while preparing it and let it rest for a minute or two till they get appropriately soaked in it.
Chia Seeds in Lemonade
Yes, chia seeds in lemonade is an exciting recipe. These add a unique texture to your drink and make it much more flavorsome and healthy. It is a great way to relish the health benefits of chia seeds.
Chia Seeds Recipes
Chia seeds can wonderfully enhance the taste of any regular dish. If you are fussy about food and do not wish to eat raw chia seeds, then try some great chia seeds recipes. The easy to prepare dishes gives you not only the health benefits of chia seeds but also great taste. So what are you waiting for? Go through them quickly and head to the kitchen for some fantastic dishes.
Cherry Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are extensively used in puddings and make a great dessert. Cherry Chia Seed Pudding is not only a delicious dish but is power-packed with nutrition. It combines the goodness of chia seeds with almond milk and cashew cream.
How to prepare?
- Take a blender
- Add to it, almond milk, cardamom, cherries, stevia, vanilla extract and blend to obtain a creamy mixture
- To the mixture add chia seeds and let them soak
- The mixture will thicken
- Pour the contents in a glass
- Top the pudding with cashew cream. You can easily prepare cashew cream at home by blending cashews, vanilla, cherries, and stevia
- Your delicious recipe is ready to be savored
Banana Chia Seed Cake
Banana chia seed cake is another healthy and delicious dish that you can savor without any worry. Though a cake, the recipe can be eaten in breakfast and a healthy snack whenever you wish to. It will keep you full and energized for longer. Most important it is gluten-free so that you can add it your menu without any worry.
How to prepare?
- Take a bowl and mix in it tapioca flour, almond flour, flaxseed meal, salt, baking soda, and chia seeds
- In another bowl mix honey and coconut oil
- To it slowly add eggs, mashed banana, coconut milk, and vanilla
- Mix well to obtain a smooth mixture
- Add the mixture to the flour mixture and blend to form a batter
- After that bake it to get you Banana chia seed cake
Read More: Flax Seeds Benefits
Chia Fresca Drink
Chia Fresca drink is a great option to replenish your lost energy after a strenuous workout session. Relish it and get an instant boost of energy.
How to prepare?
- To a blender add a cup of coconut water, one tablespoon of chia seeds and two tablespoons of pineapple juice
- Blend the ingredients and leave the mixture for around ten to fifteen minutes for chis seeds to soak in properly
- After that pour the contents and relish your power-packed drink
Chia Oat Pitaya Breakfast Bowl
Oat, Pitaya, and chia make for a super nutritious breakfast bowl. It is a great recipe to start your day.
How to prepare?
- Soak chia seeds and oats in water overnight
- After that blend them with banana, maca powder, psyllium husk, coconut water, spirulina, pitaya, frozen raspberries, blueberries, and a kiwi
- Take out the contents in a bowl and enjoy a flavorsome dish
Side-effects of Chia Seeds
While Chia seeds are undoubtedly good for your health, these also have some side-effects that you must not ignore. Hence, it is always advised to eat them in moderation to reap their benefits.
Following are the side-effects of Chia seeds:
- Omega 3 fatty acids cause thinning of the blood. If you have low blood pressure or are taking blood thinners then, it is better to consult the doctor before including chia seeds in your diet.
- Excess of chia seeds can increase the effect of drugs that control blood sugar. People who are suffering from diabetes and are taking medicines should consult your doctor before eating chia seeds.
- Chia seeds can also cause various gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea, bloating, constipation, hard stools if taken in excess.
- Chia seeds may also cause allergy.
Health benefits of Chia Seeds are many. Thus, these get referred to as super-food. Including them in your diet can be beneficial in the long run as their rich nutrient content balances the nutrients in your body. However, you must consume it in moderation as excess can be troublesome.
Besides including it in your diet, adopt healthy lifestyle changes to gain maximum benefits. A tip would be too not gulp them dry as these are hard to chew and may get stuck in your throat. Add them to your dishes and get set for a healthier and happier life.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you eat Chia seeds dry?
Chia seeds should not be eaten dry. These are hydrophilic and absorb water. At times them may expand and get stuck in the esophagus. Thus, it is better to have them soaked.
2. Do Chia Seeds help you poop?
Chia seeds have high fiber content along with healthy fats. These absorb water and can help you poop. You can take two to three tablespoons of chia seeds soaked in water every day to treat constipation.
3. Do Chia seeds need to be refrigerated?
Dry chia seeds can be kept in a plastic storage container. However, chia seed gel prepared by soaking chia seeds in water should be refrigerated to last long. The chilled gel can be used up to two weeks.