HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHIA SEEDS

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CHIA SEEDS-min

Chia seeds have a close relation with mint, but they are typically black. They are obtained from a chia plant scientifically called Salvia hispanica.

Chia seeds are largely cultivated in Mexico and Guatemala, and in the olden days, they served as a staple food for the Mayans and Aztecs. “Chia” is a Mayan word literally meaning “strength.” They are highly nutritious with a higher content of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. They also proved high-quality plant-based proteins, essential minerals, and powerful antioxidants. For that reason, chia sed may effectively reduce the risk of heart disease, improve bowel regularity, and reduce markers of diabetes. There are several health benefits you can gain by eating chia seeds. This article discusses them.

Are Highly Nutritious

It comes with little surprise that some may despise this black seed because of its tinny size. For your information, chia seeds are among the best foods for health conscious people. With their small size, just 28 g of chia seeds provides 11 g of fiber, 4 g of protein, 1 g of carbs (digestible carbs), 9 g of fat (of which 5 g are omega-3 fats), 18% of the recommended daily value (RDV) for calcium, 30% of the RDV for manganese, 30% of the RDV for magnesium, and 27% of the RDV for phosphorus. The same amount also packs vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, and zinc. Additionally, the same serving amount of chia seeds also provides 137 calories. Deducting fiber from the total calories, 28 g of chia seeds will provide 101 calories. It is worth noting that chia seeds are non-organic, non-GMO, free of gluten, and provides beneficial nutrients in a tinny serving.

The Pack Powerful Antioxidants

Chia seeds attract attention with their high content of antioxidants. Antioxidants help reduce the number of free radicals, which would have otherwise led to oxidative stress if left to accumulate. Oxidative stress is associated with chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Interestingly, chia seeds have several antioxidants. Kaempferol is an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. Quercetin is another antioxidant that may reduce your risk of osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, and heart disease. Caffeic acid is a powerful antioxidant found in many plants and may protect your body against inflammation. Another antioxidant in chia seeds is chlorogenic acid which may help lower blood pressure. Chia seeds tend to have a longer shelf life because their antioxidants protect them from going rancid.

The Greater Part of Carb in Chia Seeds are Fiber

Fiber is an essential nutrient in protecting the heart from diseases. With a weight of 40% fiber, chia seeds are one of the greatest sources of fiber. In 28 g of chia seeds, there is about 12 g of carbs, of which 11 g is insoluble fiber. Fiber cannot raise your blood sugars. Their disposal also doesn’t require insulin. As much as fiber is grouped together with carbs, they positively impact health more than sugar and starch, which are digestible carbs. Chia seeds can be a good choice as a low-carb food since they contain only 1 g of carb per 28 g. The high soluble fiber content of chia seed makes them good for weight loss as they slow down digestion and absorption of food and increasing the feelings of fullness. Besides adding bulk to your stool, fiber fuels good gut bacteria in the intestines and increases bowel regularity, improving your gut health and eliminating waste.

Chia Seeds Provides Protein of High Quality

Chia seeds contain 4 g of protein in a single serving of 28 g. By weight, chia seeds are 14%; thus, they provide more proteins than many plants. Evidence suggests that increasing your protein intake can increase your fullness and reduce your cravings for carbs – making you consume fewer calories and food without even noticing. Chia seeds also contain all the essential amino acids that your body may need. If you want to lose weight, you may want to include chia seeds in your diet.

May Help with Weight Loss

Scientists agree that chia seeds can result in significant weight loss. One main reason explaining this is their fiber content. The soluble fiber in chia seeds attracts water to food and expands in the digestive system, reducing your appetite, prolonging fullness, and promoting weight loss. Also, chia seeds contain protein that should help curbs your appetite and reduce food intake. It may be best if you kick off your day with some chia seeds to help increase satiety and reduce your intake of foods for the rest of the day.

It is worth noting that dieting on a single food cannot have a significant impact on weight. Therefore, you will need to include other foods and weight loss strategies alongside chia seeds to help you lose weight consistently.

Provides Heart-Friendly Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for your health in various ways. Apart from being found in chia seeds, omega -3 fatty acids can also be obtained from flaxseeds, salmon, and nuts.  However, the content of omega-3s in chia seeds is more as compared to other sources. Unfortunately, they only contain omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which doesn’t have many benefits. For the body to use ALA, it will need to convert it first to active form eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It is said that the human body is incapacitated at converting ALA to these forms. It will help if you can obtain omega-3s from animal sources which your body will easily utilize. Out of all the three fatty acids, the most important one is DHA which has been associated with brain and eye development. DHA can be sourced abundantly from fatty fish or supplements.

Conclusion

Chia seeds are small black seeds with a variety of nutrients. Most importantly, chia seeds are a great source of high-quality protein, soluble fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Including chia seeds with other healthy foods can help with weight loss. They also contain powerful antioxidants that can prevent inflammation.

Elena Ognivtseva

Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.

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