Are you also the one who has been thinking about why everyone these days is going ga-ga over chia seeds? Well, there are a plethora of reasons for it. There are endless health benefits of chia seeds. But first, let us learn what Chia seeds actually are.
Chia seeds are small black-colored seeds of the chia plant that first originated in the central valley of Mexico. It was one of the major food crops of the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. The plant grows about three feet tall and is considered a herb.
These tiny little seeds are one of the healthiest foods in the world, so don’t judge them by their size. Jam-packed with large amounts of fiber and omega3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, antioxidants, and many essential minerals, chia seeds are highly beneficial for your body as well as the brain. And this is the reason that they have been deemed as a superfood by the experts.
In this article, we have summed up everything that you might want to know about chia seeds. Let us start with their nutritional facts.
Table of Contents
- Nutritional Facts of Chia Seeds
- Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
- 1. Promote Weight Loss:
- 2. Full of Essential Minerals And Antioxidants:
- 3. Boost Digestive Health:
- 4. Great Source of Omega3 Fatty Acids:
- 5. Control Blood Sugar Levels:
- 6. Improve Dental Health:
- 7. Good For Heart Health:
- 8. Improve Bone Health:
- 9. Contain Massive Amounts of Nutrients:
- 10. Help Maintain Healthy Skin:
- 11. Keep Your Hair Strong And Thick:
- Uses Of Chia Seeds
- Chia Seeds Side-Effects
Nutritional Facts of Chia Seeds
A 28-gram serving of Chia seeds contains :
- 137 calories
- 9 grams of fat
- 13.07 grams of carbohydrate
- 11.2 grams of fiber
- 4 grams of protein
- No sugar
Chia seeds are also packed with several vitamins and minerals. 2 tbsps of chia seeds offer:
- Phosphorus- 27% of the RDI
- Calcium- 18% of the RDI
- Manganese- 30% of the RDI
- Magnesium- 30% of the RDI
Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have gained a lot of popularity all over the world in recent years. It is because eating chia seeds provides our bodies with an array of incredibly important minerals and nutrients required to live a healthy and happy life. There are proven health benefits of chia seeds when consumed on an empty stomach.
Following are the main health benefits of chia seeds:
1. Promote Weight Loss:
Any food that is rich in protein and fiber promotes weight loss. As already mentioned above, chia seeds are packed with fiber and protein, and hence they can help contribute to weight loss. The texture of chia seeds is such that when eaten it expands after absorbing large amounts of water present in your stomach. This contributes to the feeling of fullness and prevents you from overeating or binge-eating which is one of the major causes of weight gain. Also, the protein present in chia seeds suppresses your appetite and promotes fat burning. So, if you want to ward-off the untimely hunger pangs, incorporate a handful of chia seeds into your diet. The benefits of chia seeds for weight loss are truly incredible.
2. Full of Essential Minerals And Antioxidants:
One of the major benefits of chia seeds is that they are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect our bodies from free radicals that can cause a vast number of diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and even cancer. Free radicals also contribute to premature aging and age-related cognitive decline. Antioxidants present in chia seeds prevent free radicals from causing these damages. Moreover receiving your dose of antioxidants from natural sources like chia seeds is far better than relying upon supplements.
3. Boost Digestive Health:
Chia seeds are laden with fiber. Every 28-gm serving of chia seeds contains about 11.2 grams of fiber. This means only one serving of chia seeds can provide you with the required intake of fiber. The dietary fiber present in chia seeds plays a key role in your digestive health. Incorporating chia seeds in your diet not only normalizes bowel movement but also helps strengthen your digestive system. The high soluble fiber content in chia seeds boosts good bacteria that improve gut health.
4. Great Source of Omega3 Fatty Acids:
Omega3 fatty acids are incredibly important for the proper functioning of our bodies as well as brains. Chia seeds are among the best sources of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA), an essential omega3 fatty acid found in plant-based foods. ALA helps in managing and preventing heart and blood vessel diseases such as atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries), high blood pressure, etc. It is also useful in improving joint and bone health and preventing your skin from premature aging. Eating chia seeds is possibly the easiest way to get the required amount of ALA.
5. Control Blood Sugar Levels:
If you suffer from diabetes, adding chia seeds to your diet could be wonderful. It is because of the reason that chia seeds are a good source of dietary fiber that helps prevent the rise in the blood sugar level. Your body does not need to increase the release of sugar in your bloodstream to digest fiber as it does not get digested and metabolized so fast. Therefore, your pancreas also does not have to increase insulin production. This results in stabilized blood sugar level. Moreover, chia seeds are anti-inflammatory in nature which makes them a wonder food for diabetes management.
6. Improve Dental Health:
Chia seeds contain nutrients such as zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A all of which play a crucial role in the development of bones and teeth. Calcium present in chia seeds not only helps in the growth of teeth and bones but also makes them strong and healthy. Lack of sufficient calcium leads to cracks and infection in teeth. On the other hand, the amount of zinc in chia seeds prevents the buildup of tartar and plaque. All this adds up to great dental health and hygiene. Vitamin A and phosphorus too strengthen your teeth and make your mouth healthy.
7. Good For Heart Health:
A few recent studies have shown that dietary fiber can help reduce or even reverse inflammation. Therefore, chia seeds being rich in dietary fiber can help prevent inflammation-related health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and cancer. The presence of proteins and omega 3s in chia seeds also contribute towards reducing the risk of heart disease. A few studies show that chia seeds can notably reduce blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension which is one of the major risk factors for heart disease. So, if you are in search of a heart-healthy snack, chia seeds are a perfect choice.
8. Improve Bone Health:
Calcium is a vital mineral for bone health as it helps make them strong. One serving of chia seeds provides you with 18% of the daily recommended intake of calcium, which is higher than most dairy products. So if you do not eat dairy, chia seeds may be an excellent choice. Chia seeds also contain other nutrients like phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and boron all of which enhance bone and muscle health. Boron, in particular, helps to metabolize calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese that increases bone growth.
9. Contain Massive Amounts of Nutrients:
One of the most awesome benefits of chia seeds is that they contain massive amounts of nutrients. Its high nutrient density is what’s making them a popular superfood all around the world. Only two tablespoons of chia seeds provide you with fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus magnesium, manganese, fat, carbohydrates, and vitamin A. Besides, it also contains decent amounts of zinc, potassium, and copper. This is the reason that they are one of the healthiest and nutritious foods on the planet.
10. Help Maintain Healthy Skin:
Chia seeds are not only healthy for our body but are equally good for our skin too. Minerals and nutrients present in chia seeds enhance our internal as well as external appearances. Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids that fight aging, calm acne blemishes, and soothe inflammation, making your skin moisturized, healthy, and supple. You can make a DIY chia seeds face mask by using just 3 ingredients: chia seeds powder, coconut oil, and lemon juice. Apply this mask all over your face, allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes, massage your face in a circular motion for a few minutes to exfoliate your skin, and wash it off with lukewarm water. All you get is pearlescent skin. The benefits of chia seeds for the skin are spectacular.
Also See: Uses of Flaxseed for Glowing Skin
11. Keep Your Hair Strong And Thick:
Based on the above-mentioned facts, we are now very well aware of the fact that chia seeds are a rich source of protein. And “protein” is the major thing common between our hair and chia seeds. Chia seeds are made up of about 23% protein and our hair is also made up of a protein called keratin. When you eat chia seeds it provides you ample protein which in turn promotes hair growth and helps thicken them. The presence of phosphorus and 9 essential amino acids in chia seeds also encourage hair growth while the copper content helps combats unwanted gray hair. Add them to your food or just apply the chia seed hair mask once a week, you will realize that the benefits of chia seeds for hair growth are just awesome.
Uses Of Chia Seeds
There are a number of ways to use or add chia seeds to your diet. They can be eaten raw, soaked, or in a powdered form whichever suits you the best. If you decide to eat them, soak them at least 30 minutes before eating them. Also, ground chia seeds should always be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Chia seeds do not possess a particular flavor of their own, so you can add them to any dishes of your choice. Following are a few tips on how to use chia seeds:
- Add it to muffins, bread batter, and Pancakes: It’s hard to stop craving pancakes, muffins, and other bakery items. There is a way out to make them nutritious and eat them with minimum guilt. Just add some chia seeds to them. Chia seeds also work great as a replacement for eggs in cake batters for vegans. The neutral taste of chia seeds won’t change the flavor of your dishes too.
- Combine it with various dishes: Adding chia seeds to your vegetables, or any other food not only adds crunchiness to it but also increases its nutritional value. You can add it to any vegetarian or non-vegetarian dishes.
- Make puddings and Jams: One of the most delicious ways to use chia seeds is to add them to your jams or make a pudding. To use them in jams you can replace them with pectin. For pudding, just soak the desired quantity of chia seeds in water or milk overnight. This mixture will turn into a pudding-like texture the next day. Add vanilla extract, maple syrup, milk, fresh fruits, or chocolate syrup anything that you like to transform the mixture into a yummy pudding. Have it as it is or ground the mixture to make it creamy and enjoy.
- Add as a topping to your oatmeal or yogurt: The easiest possible way to consume chia seeds is to add them to your oats porridge. You can even put them in your overnight oats. Or simply add it as a topping for your yogurt or curd. If you like that crunchiness, add them just before consuming these dishes.
- Make a smoothie: Another easy way to have chia seeds is by adding them into your smoothies. This will give a nutritious twist to your smoothies. Just add a tablespoon of chia seeds to any smoothie of your choice, be it strawberry, mango, or a banana smoothie.
Chia Seeds Side-Effects
While chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, a few side-effects or health risks have been associated with them. Here are a few potential side-effects chia seeds can cause:
- Although fiber is essential for your digestive health, excessive fiber intake can cause problems like abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Consuming too many chia seeds can cause digestive issues. To avoid any such problem increase fiber intake slowly and keep yourself hydrated as it helps fiber to pass through the body.
- Another risk associated with chia seeds is choking. One needs to be very cautious while eating chia seeds, especially when they have difficulty swallowing. This is due to the reason that when you soak chia seeds in water they swell and hence can become lodged in the throat.
- People who suffer from allergies should be careful when consuming chia seeds as chia seeds can cause allergic reactions (not common though). Allergy symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, itching, and hives.
- Chia seeds contain a good amount of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). a few studies have shown that ALA intake may be associated with prostate cancer.
Chia seeds have several amazing benefits for our body. Try incorporating these tiny seeds into your daily routine to make yourself healthy and fit. Chia seeds are an excellent way to increase the nutritional value of your food, and most importantly it is so simple.