Want to improve your health and have more energy? Then you should add chia seeds to your diet. This superfood has been a staple in Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Also know as salvia hispanica, chia is a flowering plant that grows in Mexico and Guatemala. Its seeds are beneficial for health and can be used in various recipes. Ancient warriors were eating chia seeds to maintain their strength on the battlefield.
Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, these tiny seeds have proven health benefits ranging from fat loss and increased energy to greater stamina. Research shows that chia seeds may lower cholesterol levels, improve digestion, regulate blood sugar, and decrease inflammation. They are also being studied as a potential natural treatment for diabetes. Due to their high fiber content, chia seeds are a favorite choice for dieters. They make great snacks and can turn your meals into a nutritional powerhouse.
1. Provide Massive Amounts of Nutrients
These tiny seeds are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, fiber, and cancer-fighting compounds. An ounce serving (28 grams) provides four grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, nine grams of fat, and 137 calories. It also delivers large amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, thiamine, niacin, zinc, and potassium.
This superfood has more than twice the fiber of a cup of oatmeal, twice the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach, and five times more omega-3 essential fatty than a 1/4-cup serving of walnuts. Each serving offers as much potassium as a third of a banana and as much calcium as a half cup of milk. These seeds contain all eight essential amino acids. According to health experts, they also enhance nutrient absorption into the bloodstream.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds deliver more than 18 percent of the daily recommended allowance of calcium, 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of manganese, and 42 percent of the recommended daily amount of fiber.
It’s no wonder why chia is considered one of the most nutritious foods on earth.
Chia seeds are grown organically and contain no gluten, making them ideal for people with Celiac disease or food allergies.
2. Boast A High Antioxidant Value
This superfood contains powerful antioxidants that fight free radical damage and prevent cancer. The high antioxidant content also helps them have a long shelf life. Chia seeds are high in quercetin, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid. These antioxidants inhibit cancer cell growth, delay the aging process, and slow the release of glucose into bloodstream.
Quercetin boosts your energy levels, reduces fatigue, and enhances athletic performance. These nutrients have significant value to human health. Caffeic acid strengthens your immune system, fights colon cancer, and helps prevent colitis. Chlorogenic acid stops the growth of brain tumors and lowers your risk of developing diabetes. It also improves bile flow and supports liver health. This natural compound keeps your heart healthy and improves digestion.
3. Support Cardiovascular Health
Recent studies indicate that chia seeds may lower the risk of stroke and heart attack. This superfood has a thinning effect on the blood and improves cardiovascular health. It also reduces bad cholesterol levels, stabilizes blood pressure, and helps prevent coronary heart disease.
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the cardiovascular system by lowering inflammation, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. By including these seeds in your diet, you’ll add years to your life.
4. Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
Touted as one of the best natural sources of fiber, chia seeds can help prevent diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Dietary fiber slows down sugar absorption into your body, which helps reduce insulin spikes. By adding chia seeds to your meals, you’ll keep your blood glucose levels within normal limits. This is particularly important for people with diabetes and pre-diabetes.
These seeds boast a unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, offering lasting energy without crashes. Their beneficial effects on blood sugar levels are well-documented. By slowing the conversion of carbs into glucose, chia seeds keep your energy levels stable throughout the day.
5. Suppress Your Appetite
Many dieters use chia seeds for their appetite suppressing effects. This superfood can absorb up to 27 times its weight in water when soaked. Once ingested, it forms a gel-like substance in your stomach. As a result, you’ll feel full quickly, have fewer cravings, and eat less. These seeds are an effective appetite suppressant and can help you lose excess weight.
With less than one gram of carbohydrate per serving, chia seeds are a great addiction to your diet. You can mix them into protein shakes, prepare homemade desserts and chia pudding, or eat them as a side dish to ward off hunger. Almost all the carbs in them are fiber. Even those who follow high-protein or ketogenic diets can eat chia seeds daily. This food also contains large amounts of protein, which increases fullness and curbs hunger.
6. Cleanse Your Colon And Liver
Many cleansing plans encourage the consumption of chia seeds. Due to their high fiber content, these seeds prevent constipation and cleanse your colon and liver. They flush out toxins from your body, stimulate bile production, and keep your digestive system running smoothly.
When mixed with water or fresh fruit juices, chia seeds will eliminate waste and undigested food particles from your body, and keep you regular. To fully reap their benefits, stick to a healthy diet and drink a lot of water. For a more powerful cleansing effect, consume flaxseeds, psyllium husk, and green leafy vegetables in addition to chia seeds.
7. Reduce Food Cravings
Sugar and junk food cravings are typically caused by nutrient deficiencies. If you crave chocolate, you might need more chromium, magnesium, and B vitamins in your diet. The same goes for sugar cravings. If you feel the urge to eat salty foods, consume whole grains, fruits, veggies, chia seeds and other B-vitamin rich foods. People who crave fried foods and junk food should eat more essential fats.
Chia seeds contain all of the nutrients required for optimal health. They’re particularly high in magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins, which may help prevent cravings for junk food and sweets. These tiny seeds also reduce hunger pangs and keep you full between meals.
8. Prevent Type II Diabetes
High in fiber and alpha-linolenic acid, chia seeds help prevent insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and other metabolic disorders that increase diabetes risk. Scientists have found that eating these seeds can reduce blood sugar spikes after meals and reduce diabetes risk. They may also reverse the damaging effect of diabetes on your health.
A study conducted on diabetics has shown that those who ate chia seeds several days in a row experienced lowered blood pressure, lowered blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduced body fat. This miracle superfood can prolong the release of carbohydrates and decrease the risk factors for diabetes.
9. Boost Your Energy Levels
Chia seeds have been used since ancient times for their energizing effects. This superfood will increase your energy and stamina without adding extra calories to your meals. Research suggests that chia seeds can also improve athletic performance and help maximize your gains.
These tiny seeds are just as effective as a sports drink, which makes perfect for athletes and gym goers. When consumed regularly, they can help runners, bodybuilders, and endurance athletes carb load for intense training and perform at their best.
10. Build Stronger Bones
This superfood offers about 18 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium per ounce. Calcium is essential to bone health. Chia seeds also contain protein, magnesium, and phosphorus, which help build stronger bones. Gram for gram, they deliver more calcium and micro-nutrients than most dairy products. Boron, one of the key nutrients in chia seeds, helps your body metabolize calcium and other minerals that support the development of muscles and bones.
There are many other benefits of eating chia seeds. When combined with a healthy diet, this superfood can help you build muscle and lose weight, prevent breast and colon cancer, and lower your risk of arthritis. By forming a gel in your stomach, these seeds prevent dehydration and help your body retain more water. If you exercise regularly, you need more water and electrolytes to stay hydrated. By adding chia seeds to your diet, you can prevent dehydration and replace the electrolytes lost through sweat. Other key benefits of chia seeds include:
- Improve certain blood markers
- Add more protein to your diet
- Get stronger teeth
- Prevent arthritis and osteoporosis
- Enhance protein synthesis
- Reduce belly fat
- Boost cognitive performance
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Increase your metabolism
- Strengthen your immune system
- Keep plaque from mineralization onto your teeth
- Prevent cervical cancer
- Fight premature skin aging
- Get a silky, shiny hair
- Add flavor to your meals
- Make recipes healthier
- Sleep better at night
These tiny black seeds live up to their superfood name. The best part is there are a wide variety and selection available that you can find in most grocery stores.
How To Eat Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds can be used in lots of different ways. In Central America and Mexico, people mix them in water with lemon juice or lime to make a delicious, healthy beverage called “chia fresca.” In other parts of the world, these seeds are mixed into salads, yogurt, whole grains, oatmeal, porridge, protein shakes, smoothies, and homemade desserts. Some people apply them on the skin or use them for making hair treatments and facial scrubs.
This superfood can be used as an egg substitute, or added to puddings, grain free crackers, meatballs, and homemade energy gels. Compared to other seeds, they don’t need to be ground in order to be properly digested. This means you can even chew them for a healthy breakfast on the go.
Some chefs use chia seeds instead of breadcrumbs or cornstarch to thicken meatballs, soups, and gravies. If you mix a tablespoon of ground chia seeds with three tablespoons of water, you’ll obtain an excellent egg substitute. These seeds are a healthier alternative to processed grains and can be used in bread, muffin, and cookie recipes. If you love their flavor and texture, try the following combinations:
- Banana chia seed cake
- High protein chia pudding
- Chocolate pistachio chia shake
- Lemon poppy seed chia loaf
- Gluten free chia chicken tenders
- Gluten free chia oat bars
- Chia brown rice
- Chocolate chia mousse
- Chia seed wafer cookies
- Chia fresca americano
- Chia oatmeal
- Chia hummus
- Honey lime chia dressing
- Vanilla-almond chia pudding
- Peach cobbler with chia seeds
- Mocha chocolate chia brownies
- Breakfast chia pudding with blueberries and sour cherries
- Chia seed chocolate crème brulée
- Coconut chia protein pancakes
- Lemon chia seed pancakes with strawberries
- Pumpkin pie oatmeal with chia seeds
- Lemon muffins with chia seeds
The list can go on with thousands of other recipes. Chia seeds are extremely versatile and can spice up your diet. You can use them in salty and sweet dishes, mix them into smoothies, or eat them raw.
How Much Chia Seeds Should You Consume Per Day?
Chia seeds are safe and have no side effects. However, it’s recommended to consume them in moderation just like you do with everything else. A reasonable amount is 25 grams a day. These seeds have approximately 136 calories per serving (two tablespoons. If you eat too much, the calories will add up. You might also experience bloating and gas.
This super seed is high in fiber, so it may cause some gastrointestinal problems. Try not to exceed three tablespoons a day. These tiny seeds absorb water and increase their size, so you can cook a full meal using just two tablespoons. If you take blood thinners or high blood pressure drugs, ask your doctor before adding chia seeds to your meals.