Chia seeds have been around a long time before the existence of the Insta-worthy puddings and smoothie bowls. In fact, this seed was a staple in the ancient Mayan and Aztec diet. The word “chia“ means “strength” in Mayan, and this shows that warriors attributed their stamina to the powerful nutrients in chia seeds. Even centuries ago, the natives of Central America were aware of the health benefits of chia seeds, and thankfully, this knowledge was passed down through generations. Today, these tiny black seeds are commonly consumed and can be found virtually anywhere on the globe.
In this article, we are going to discover the numerous benefits of consuming chia seeds. But first, let’s have a look at the nutritional value of this seed.
One ounce (around two tablespoons of chia seeds) contains:
- 139 calories
- 9 grams fat
- 11 grams of fiber
- 12 grams carbohydrates
- 4 grams of protein
Chia seeds lack vitamins, but are rich in minerals, such as manganese, phosphorus, copper, selenium, iron, calcium and magnesium.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Just by looking at the nutrients in chia seeds, we can conclude that this super seed can have a positive impact on your health. High fiber diet and Omega 3 intake can improve heart and brain health. Let’s have a closer look!
Increased Fiber Intake
We’re constantly reminded to add more fiber to our diet, and there’s a good reason for that.
A diet rich in fiber is proven to help manage and improve various health conditions and diseases, including Type 2 diabetes, diseases of the colon, cardiovascular disease, digestive issues, etc. Among all of the nutrients in chia seeds, fiber is probably the most important one.
Dietary fiber is essential to metabolism and digestive health. It can help in normalizing bowel movement and maintaining bowel health. This means that eating foods rich in fiber can lower the risk of developing diseases of the colon, such as colorectal cancer and diverticulitis. It can also help in the prevention of hemorrhoids and constipation.
So, are chia seeds good for digestion? Absolutely! Just one single ounce of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, which makes 44% and 29% of the recommended daily intake for women and men. Eating chia seeds for gut health makes sense, and this is just one of the many amazing health benefits of chia seeds!
Lower Cholesterol Levels
Dietary fibers are not only supporting digestive health, they’re also great for other health issues and conditions. A high fiber diet can aid in lowering cholesterol levels specifically “bad” cholesterol. This is great for heart health, as healthy cholesterol levels are linked to a low risk of heart disease. Can chia seeds lower cholesterol? Yes! If you’re trying to lower bad cholesterol levels, consider adding chia seeds to your diet. There’s an obvious link between the dietary fibers in chia seeds and cholesterol, however it’s best to follow your physician’s advice on this matter.
Reduced Blood Pressure
High blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Luckily, there are dietary changes, such as increasing your fiber intake, that you can easily implement into your daily routine to lower your blood pressure.
Chia seeds and blood pressure – is there a real connection there? Chia seeds are beneficial to people who struggle with high blood pressure because of their high fiber content. This means that you can increase your fiber intake by adding just two tablespoons of chia seeds to your breakfast smoothie, and achieve better heart health in doing so.
Control Blood Sugar levels
There are many health benefits of chia seeds, and reducing the risk of developing diabetes is right at the top among the best ones. In people with diabetes, eating high fiber meals can slow down the absorption of sugar and control blood sugar levels.
Maintain Healthy Weight
There isn’t enough data on chia seeds benefits for weight loss, however, the nutrients in chia seeds are proven to be helpful in maintaining healthy weight. The reason behind this is very simple: meals high in fiber are more filling than low-fiber foods.
It’s no wonder that chia puddings are so popular – eating a fiber packed meal will keep you full for hours without cravings!
Omega 3s Intake
Chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids promote heart health, brain health and eye health. These oils can reduce the symptoms of ADHD in children and fight depression and anxiety.
Omega 3s can also reverse non alcoholic fatty liver disease. If you’re wondering “are chia seeds good for fatty liver?” You’re on the right track, as the nutrients in chia seeds have shown to be helpful in fighting this disease.
Keep in mind that high amounts of Omega 3s may have blood-thinning effects, so it’s best to consult with your physician to determine your safe daily dosage.
Chia Seeds Benefits for Skin and Hair
There aren’t only health benefits of chia seeds – there are some beauty benefits as well! The nutrients in chia seeds promote healthy hair and skin. Omega 3s can help in reducing blemishes and acne and improve skin hydration. The protein content in chia seeds can help strengthen hair follicles and promote healthy hair growth.
Chia Seeds Intake Per Day
You don’t have to overeat to get the health benefits of chia seeds. If you’re not used to eating large amounts of fibers, it’s best to start with 2 tablespoons of chia a day, and work your way up. Just as any other food, eating too many chia seeds may have digestive side effects. For some people, consuming too much fiber may result in gas, constipation, diarrhea and bloating.
Another very rare health risk of consuming chia seeds is choking – this may happen in individuals with swallowing problems, and only when consuming a large amount of dry chia seeds.
Chia seeds can expand 10x and absorb the liquid they’re in, so they are best consumed pre-soaked.
Ways to Consume Chia Seeds
Considering the lack of smell and flavor, chia seeds are an incredibly versatile ingredient that’s easy to throw into a meal. You can add it to meals that you already enjoy, such as smoothies, yoghurts, protein pancakes, smoothie bowls, baked goods, oatmeal, or as a topping on your avocado toast. The possibilities are endless!
The health benefits of chia seeds are too many and too important to ignore. Whether you’re looking to eat chia seeds for fiber, or for better skin and hair, you won’t be disappointed. So, add this super-seed to your daily diet and enjoy the amazing benefits!