10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds (With Evidence)

chia seeds

Chia seeds have the nutritional prowess to act as a home remedy for several conditions. The tiny, black oval chia seeds boosts a fiber, protein and rich antioxidant profile. A single tablespoon of chia provides you with 19 percent of your recommended fiber intake. It’s also rich in essential fatty acids, particularly omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Some conditions that chia seeds may help include diabetes, acid reflux and dandruff.

Chia Seeds Amazing Nutritional Profile

Including chia seeds in your diet can help you get some nutrients you have been missing out on. A 1-ounce serving of chia seeds contains 179 milligrams of calcium, which is 19 percent of the daily value of calcium. Calcium is vital for bone strength and your heart muscles.

It also contains 0.7 milligrams of manganese, 15.6 micrograms of selenium and 95 milligrams of magnesium — 30 percent of the daily value of manganese, 21 percent of the daily value of selenium and 23 percent of the daily value of magnesium.

It’s High in Dietary Fiber

chia seeds bowl

Chia seeds is a rich source of insoluble fiber but it also contains soluble fiber. About 18 to 30 percent of its calories come from its fiber. These fibers don’t get digested in your stomach or small intestine. Rather, it helps add bulk to your food, creating a laxative effect. Therefore, adding chia seeds to your food should help treat and prevent constipation.

You’ll get about 5 grams of fiber in a tablespoon of chia seeds. For a fiber and nutrient-rich meal, add one or two tablespoons to a smoothie complete with kale, a banana and some berries.

Since fiber takes a long time to digest, chia seeds may help you feel fuller and keep hunger at bay. This could help you lose weight or be an effective food in a weight-loss diet. Chia seeds prowess as a weight loss tool is yet to be proven, but it has a nutritional profile that shows its potential.

Powerful Antioxidants

Chia seeds is a rich source of antioxidants that protects your cells from free radicals, which can cause cancer and other metabolic disorders.

A study published in the “Journal of Chromatography” in 2014, found that chia seeds antioxidant capacity is higher than previously reported. The compounds that are responsible for these effects are known as isoflavones and phenolic acids.

Antioxidant from food sources are the best way to absorb them and chia seeds seems to stand apart from other plant foods when it comes to antioxidant prowess.

It Could Possible Help with Acid Reflux and Dandruff

Chia seeds omega fatty acids may help as a home remedy for dry scalp and dandruff. Most adults need about 2 to 3 grams of omega-3 fats daily, which can help prevent dandruff, according to Bastyr University. A 3-tablespoon serving of Chia seeds contains 4915 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, which is more than a serving of salmon.

Losing weight may help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. Chia seeds may help you lose weight — as stated above — but there is not sufficient evidence to prove its effectiveness, notes MedlinePlus. Therefore, it cannot be recommended as a treatment option for acid reflux, but it’s worth trying in combination with traditional treatment methods.

Improve Type 2 Diabetes

diabetes test

Chia seeds has potential as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes, by improving cardiovascular risks. In a study published in “Diabetes Care” in 2007, a white-seeded variant of chia, called Salba helped reduce blood pressure and other risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes in 20 volunteers when compared to wheat bran.

Animal studies also found that a chia enriched diet help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol and improve HDL cholesterol — the good cholesterol. Note that these are small studies and more evidence is required before using chia seeds to replace conventional treatment options.

Its dietary fiber also comes to play with here. Adding chia to high carbs food should help slow down its release into the blood. This could help diabetics control insulin spikes and keep blood pressure stable.

Chia Seeds Can Upgrade Your Sports Drink

If you are an athlete performing in endurance sports, you’ll know the importance of carb loading. It helps increase muscle glycogen stores, so that you can perform efficiently for longer. Chia seeds seems to be a an effective food in a carb loading plan.

Chia seeds helps you increase your omega-3 intake and decrease your sugar intake, which are usually found in high-carbohydrate foods.

The Journal of Strength and Conditioningpublished a study in 2011 that tested chia seeds effectiveness in improving athletic performance. They researcher compared drinking gatorade versus a drink composed of 50 percent chia seeds and 50 percent gatorade.

The six highly trained male participants in the study did not experience any performance benefits. However, it offered an effective way to decrease sugar intake.

Although sugar is good for an endurance athlete (it’s an effective way to get energy quickly) too much of it can affect your hunger levels later on and could lead to a sugar crash.

This is a very small study so it should be taken with a grain of salt. Fiber can cause digestive issues when performing an endurance sport. It seems that the chia used in this study was just about enough. However, if your already eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, you may want to avoid getting additional fiber from chia seeds before competing.

Chia Seeds are Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia seeds contain a lot of essential fatty acids, particularly polyunsaturated fats. These fats are known to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Omega-3 fatty acids could also help boost cognitive function, such as memory and mood.

Its total saturated fats is relatively small. You can expect about 24 grams of polyunsaturated fats and 3 grams of monounsaturated fats in 100 grams of chia seeds.

Most of chia seeds omega-3 fatty acids come in the form of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). Your body converts this to EPA and DHA found in fish oil. Although ALA is believed to be beneficial, it has not been extensively studied to the same extent as omega -3 fatty acids that come in the form of EPA and DHA.

Bodybuilders and Weightlifters Will Love Chia Seeds

running energy

Chia seeds has got everything someone looking to grow muscle could ever need. It’s a rich source of protein with 4 grams in just two tablespoons. It also contains all the essential amino acids needed for muscle protein synthesis.

Chia seeds also help you replenish minerals and vitamins lost in sweat, so throwing in a tablespoon of chia seeds to your post-workout blend could be beneficial. One of the best thing about chia seeds is how easy it is to incorporate in your food. You could keep your diet as it is and just add chia seeds. It doesn’t need to be cooked or prepared and its antioxidant gives it a long shelf life (about two years) without the need for refrigeration.

Chia Seeds is a Great Recipe Replacer

chia seeds pudding

Because it swells in water, chia seeds can be used to replace several ingredients. It’s an effective egg substitute (1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3-4 tablespoons of water.

It can replace bread crumbs in meatballs and several other foods.

Blueberries and chia seed pudding could be used to make health-conscious jam, pudding, muffins, or a smoothie. Chia seeds and almond milk is also one hell of a nutritious combination.

Use Chia Seeds with Caution

Chia seeds absorbs water, up to 27 times its weight, according to a study published byAmerican College of Gastroenterology.” Therefore, chia seeds should not be eaten in its dry form, as it can expand and cause esophageal blockage. Consume chia seeds after it has fully expanded in liquid. You can add chia seeds to smoothies, soups, cereal or yogurt, advises MedlinePlus.

There doesn’t seem to be any serious side effects. You may experience some bloating due to its fiber content.