One of nature’s healthiest offerings to us humans, Chia seeds is a powerhouse of all things good for our body, hair, and skin. You may refer to Chia seeds as a nutrient dense super food which can overall give the best to our bodies.
To understand the health benefits of Chia seeds better, let’s take a look at where it comes from, and also learn about the nutritional value of the seeds too. Shall we?
Where does the chia seed come from?
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds that have originally come from the SALVIA HISPANICA- a desert plant which is a member of the famous mint family.
Chia seeds are a nutrient dense source- it has dietary fibre good for the stomach and protein good for the hair, skin and the body at large, along with minerals for overall well-being too. This is why, Chia seeds are known to be the healthiest of many wholesome foods.
With that being said, we now would look into the nutritional value of Chia seeds.
Chia seeds nutrition value
Chia seeds are highly beneficial for the body, because it is rich in omega 3 fats, vitamins, minerals and protein, along with immense dietary fibre in it. Let’s break down the nutritional value for you on Chia seeds.
A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:
|Chia Seeds Nutrition Values|
|Fat||9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s)|
|Calcium||18% of the RDA|
|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 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
In addition to the aforementioned nutritional value, let’s also understand that Chia seeds have the following.
- Essential fatty acids
- Alpha-linolenic acid
- Linoleic acid
- Vitamins A, B, E, and D
- Thiamine, and
- Anti-oxidants, as well.
Now that you have a better idea on the origin and the nutritional value of Chia seeds, we would want to speak of the proven health benefits of chia seeds too; check them out.
Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
1. Chia seeds for Weight Loss
Chia seeds are tiny for sure, but did you know that they are powerful enough to ensure that weight loss is achieved.
Thanks to the soluble fibre content in the seeds, your stomach is filled up sooner and this prevents you from feeling hungry too.
The seeds are powerful enough to deal with LDL, which is bad cholesterol.
- Chia seeds Recipe for weight loss
You can make a super energy drink for yourself which will help you with weight loss and belly fat trimming too.
- Add two tablespoons of dry chia seeds into a glass of water and a tablespoon of honey.
- Mix well and let the seeds swell up to a gel like consistency.
- Garnish with a mint leaf and consume chilled.
Have this drink once a day and watch the first week very carefully; noticeable differences shall be seen.
2. Chia Seeds Fiber Content
When we take a look at the fibrous nutritional value of chia seeds, we see that the seeds have twelve grams of carbs are present in an ounce of chia seeds. But wait, from those twelve grams, eleven grams are solely fiber, which is very important for the digestive system of our bodies.
- With fibre keeps the blood sugar levels of the body balanced, which means you are safe from.
- Thanks to the presence of fibre in chia seeds, food is absorbed into the body slower and thus you end up having fewer calories.
- Fiber in chia seeds helps nourish the bacteria found in the body’s intestine tract too, keeping the gut bugs away for good.
By weight, chia seeds are forty percent fiber and hence makes these seeds the best source of fiber your body needs.
3. Chia seeds for Diabetes
The dark and very small nutty flavoured chia seeds are very high in amounts of nutrients; healthy fats, antioxidants, and fiber especially say medical science experts. And since the quantities of all the essential nutrients are high in them, they are good for people suffering from diabetes.
- Studies published in the famous Harvard Health Publications state that the seeds can control the levels of blood sugar in the body, and this is because of the minerals and fiber in it.
- According to the well-known National Institute of Medicine, experts say for every fourteen grams of fiber found in chia seeds, a thousand calories were linked to it, which brought down the risks of diabetes in patients.
4. Chia Seeds Contain Omega-3
- According to studies, the omega 3s found in the seeds can bring down the occurrence of health issues such as thrombosis and arrhythmias, heart attacks and strokes and cardiac issues too.
- With the presence of omega 3s in the seeds, the levels of LDL too are brought down to a large extent in the body.
- Triglyceride levels along with total cholesterol in the body are reduced. This helps curb endothelial functions, atherosclerotic plaques and controls high blood pressure too.
5. Chia Seeds for Healthy Teeth
For healthier oral and gum health, one need to incorporate the consumption of chia seeds in their daily meals, say medical experts.
- A favorite superfood amongst dentists to recommend, chia seeds are a very rich source of minerals such as calcium, which support strong teeth and bones.
- A tablespoon of chia seeds has around ten percent of the total calcium intake you would need.
6. Chia seeds for Bones
In the human body, calcium is the most found mineral or most abundant mineral, which is important to have if we need to have very strong bones.
[Also Read: Raisins for Bone Health ]
- It helps with muscle contraction regulation and blood clotting too.
- Moreover, the lack of calcium at any given point of time would lead to the formation or occurrence of rickets and osteoporosis in the body- a bone disease that is quite progressive.
- Vegan followers need chia seeds the most since they need some form of calcium entering their bodies, and to keep their bones strong.
- Around 700 milligrams of chia seeds per day should be consumed by chia seeds.
7. Chia seeds are rich source of Protein
Pre and post workouts, we tend to get hungry. And this is where chia seeds come into play, to help us.
- The seeds are rich and high in protein, and a serving of these seeds would have just 137 calories with around high protein of four and a half grams in it.
- For each ounce of chia seeds, you would have fourteen percent of protein coming into the body.
- Chia seeds have enough amounts of amino acids in them which makes the body capable of absorbing every bit of the protein we intake.
- When the protein intake is high, the appetite is reduced and the attention is drawn away from food cravings, say medical experts.
- Even late night food craving pangs are reduced to a large extent.
- Chia seeds are perfect for vegetarians and vegans to have since they need some form of protein intake too.
8. Chia seeds are Rich in Antioxidants
The amount of antioxidants in chia seeds are very high, and they can have the abilities to not allow the sensitive seeds fats from going rancid in our bodies.
- One doesn’t need to take antioxidant supplements anymore; not when whole foods such as chia seeds can do the magic.
- The natural by-product of the body- free radicals too can be kept in check with chia seeds consumption.
- The antioxidants in chia seeds defeat the free radicals and hence cells in the body are protected and signs of aging along with diseases such as cancer are avoided.
Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
- A study conducted by researchers on rats fed with chia seeds show that the rats that consumed chia seeds had better heart health than those that didn’t consume chia seeds.
- This could be because of the large amounts of ALA or alpha-linolenic acid in the seeds, which is a type of the precious omega 3s that the bodies we own need to have through a diet in chia seeds.
9. Diet Food
- In recent studies, it has been noticed that the health benefits of chia seeds for those on a strict diet have been praised.
- Even the FDA in the US has praised chia seeds as a food that is safe to consume, and for a diet control too.
- Chia seeds have been used as a diet control catalyst for long, and the high nutritional value it has can aid in shedding those pounds on you too.
- With chia seeds, you not only get a good diet to have but also a clearer thought process, lesser inflammations to deal with, healthy hair, skin, and nails too.
10. Great Mood Booster
To boost your mood now and then, we would look at chia seeds for an answer.
- The seeds when consumed makes you feel happier because of the presence of amino acid tryptophan in them.
- This is a powerful amino acid which can help you shun negative thoughts and moods, helps with sleep too, gives you better energy and ups the ante on your mood as well.
- The amino acid according to medical science helps boost hormones and serotonin in the body.
11. Chia seeds are good for Constipation
- There are plenty of scientific studies done on how chia seeds can actually help positively with the human body and its systems, the digestion system especially. Research suggests that the omega 3s and fibre available in chia seeds can be water soluble and helps with the digestion process too.
- This is because of the water absorbing power it has and they turn into a gel-like constituent within the body, allowing optimal stool formation as well.
- Stools are moistened and the passing of stool is made easier too.
- The fibre content in chia seeds is soluble too, which is best for people suffering from irate bowel syndromes or IBS.
12. Energy Drink
Expert body builders are of the opinion that if one has a glass of chia seed shake each morning, the body would gain plenty of energy for the day.
So what is it that makes chia seeds so powerful?
The answer would be the presence of vital nutrients, essential omega 3s, protein and antioxidants, vitamins and minerals too along with potassium and iron. This is why chia seeds are known as nutrient powerhouses in the world of whole foods.
Now that you know about the twelve ways that chia seeds can help you built vitality and boost immunity or weight loss, let’s take a look at other aspects of chia seeds. Shall we?
Chia seeds in water benefits
Thanks to the abundance of essential fatty acids, vitamins, protein and minerals along with antioxidants in the seeds, you now have a mini nutrient bomb entering your system each day.
Most experts recommend soaking a tablespoon of chia seeds in water and allowing the hydrophilic action take over. This means that the seeds attract the water and form a gel-like consistency, making it easier for us to swallow.
You can add a tablespoon of chia seeds to milk and honey and make an energy drink each morning, or add the seeds to water and honey and do the same.
How do you eat chia seeds?
There are many ways you can consume chia seeds. Let’s see how.
1. Chia seeds soaked in water
- To one cup of water, add 1.5 tsp of the seeds
- Let it rest for 30 mins to 2 hours.
- Once a gel like consistency is formed, it is ready to eat.
2. Chia seeds in powder form
- Grind the chia seeds in a grinder to make it a fine powder.
- Chia flour can be added to certain foods to thicken its consistency.
- Chia flour is a great substitute for eggs.
- Mix three tablespoons of water to one teaspoon of chia seeds powder.
- Bake the mix for five minutes in an oven and consume
3. Chia seeds as whole
- Consume a teaspoon of chia seeds straight to get its energy-packed punch.
- You get the best of protein intake happening this way
For kids, a homemade pudding using chia seeds can be made
- Use two cups of coconut milk and half a cup of chia seeds.
- Place them in a blender and blend until the texture is smooth.
- Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder
- Freeze the same for an hour
- You can add your own condiments to make it crunchy and nutty as you like.
4. Embellishment for salads
If you like sprouts and green salads, you can embellish the same with chia seeds.
- Put a tbsp of seeds in water and drain them once the seeds swell up.
- Remove the seeds and sprinkle on your salads.
5. Energy bars
- Mix a tablespoon of oatmeal, chia seeds, and honey to form a gooey paste.
- Pour the mixture into ice trays and freeze them for an hour.
- Your granola energy bars are ready.
- You can add nuts and fruits to the same to make your own version of energy bars too.
There are many more recipes and versions doing the rounds which tell you very clearly how to consume chia seeds.
However, the question is ‘does chia seeds actually bring in energy to the body?’; let’s take a look!
Can chia seeds give you energy?
Yes, definitely. Referred to as the ‘Indian Running Food’, chia seeds have gained its popularity as a whole food because of its low carb ratio and high content of protein, fats, and fiber, all of which fuels your body and keeps your energy levels high. Chia seeds keep your blood sugar levels stable, helps you lose weight, keeps hunger at bay and even help keep you well hydrated throughout the day.
Athletes and sportsmen consume chia seeds soaked in water, as an energy drink. It is said that the energy drink helps optimise performance.,
That was about chia seeds giving strength to the body, but what about cholesterol? Can it help lower cholesterol? Let’s check out the same, shall we?
Do chia seeds help lower cholesterol?
Let’s learn more about how chia seeds help to lower cholesterol levels.
Chia seeds are a mix of various antioxidants and nutrients in each unit, and hence medical experts say all of this together combined can actually help bring down the levels of LDL in the body.
Just two tablespoons of chia seeds consumed daily would be more than enough to defeat cholesterol on a large scale, say experts.
- Chia seeds are fiber rich in soluble and insoluble forms
- Chia seeds have protein and omega 3s in it
- Chia seeds have alpha linolenic acid in it
- Chia seeds are abundant with antioxidants, and
- Chia seeds have plenty of minerals in them too.
When all of these characteristics combine, they form a nuclear bomb that diffuses LDL in the body. This is how chia seeds can help bring down the levels of LDL in the body.
But what about expectant mothers- can they consume chia seeds when they are going through their trimesters?
Are chia seeds safe during pregnancy?
Expectant mothers can happily consume chia seeds and the FDA too approves of the super food as safe to consume too.
The many nutrients the seed has helps with healthy pregnancy overall.
- An expectant mother can have chia seeds as an energy drink, which provides her body with protein and minerals, omega 3s and vitamins much needed.
- In addition to that, a pregnant mother can be aided with digestion too, since there is plenty of fiber in chia seeds.
- Medical experts say, two tablespoons of the seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients the expectant mother needs.
With that, we understand how beneficial it is for pregnant women to have chia seeds. However, there are side-effects that chia seeds can have if over consumed- for example, read below!
What are the side effects of eating chia seeds?
- If you consume too much of chia seeds per day, chances are that there would be an overload of fiber in the body, leading to over flatulence issues, diarrhea and constipation too. Not more than two tablespoons a day is what most experts recommend to avoid tummy troubles.
- Chia seeds can thin the blood vessels since they are natural thinners and helps prevent blood clotting too. If you are under medication for blood thinning, it would be wise not to consume chia seeds until your doctor says so.
- Since there are plenty of proteins in chia seeds, you could become allergic to proteins if chia seeds are over consumed. Every 100 grams of chia seeds has 16.54 grams of protein in it. Allergic reactions such as hives and rashes, watery eyes and vomiting etc would happen if you have an overdose of protein. The tongue and mouth could experience inflammation too, and the larynx would swell up as well making you face difficulty in breathing.
- Chia seeds have gained a bad name for choking problems. Incorrect consumption of chia seeds can lead to choking, and especially when eaten sans pre-soaking. This is because when chia seeds are dry, they are more in power to absorb higher amounts of water than when they are pre-soaked. When you swallow dry chia seeds, it would stick to the esophagus, causing you to choke.
We hope this mini guide on the benefits of chia seeds, how to have it in various forms and the side effects comes in as a good read and a good guide to you. Stay healthy always!
Disclaimer: Always check with your doctor first to know if consumption of chia seeds for you is okay or not. His word would take precedence over what is written here and elsewhere online. Do not think of this mini guide as a substitute for what your doctor prescribes for your health condition. This is an informational article only and not a medical substitute. Your doctor would know best the underlying health conditions you have and how to deal with it as well.