Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition. Chia seeds can be eaten raw, ground into flour or added to drinks and smoothies for extra health benefits.
They boost your energy levels, give you more endurance and help improve your digestion. Read more about the nutritional value and the many ways you can consume these little wonders as part of your diet.
Chia seeds are the edible seeds of the plant “Salvia Hispanica“. Chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods on earth due to their high content of proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, antioxidants and minerals.
Two tablespoons of Chia seeds contain (source)
- Fibre: 11 grams.
- Protein: 4 grams.
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
- Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
1. Lowers Sugar Level & Cholesterol
Patients of Diabetes and heart disease can use chia seeds as a natural remedy to regulate their blood sugar levels and cholesterol without the usual side effects associated with medication.
A Harvard study revealed that those who consumed chia seeds instead of whole grains had reduced insulin resistance, lower triglycerides and better plasma lipid profile (cholesterol levels).
Chia seeds can also lower cholesterol levels. A Federal University of Paraíba study showed that after consuming chia daily for four weeks, participants who suffered from high cholesterol had reduced triglyceride and LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.
Patients with high blood sugar levels saw increased HDL or “good” cholesterol and improved blood sugar levels.
2. Chia Seeds are Antioxidants
Chia seeds are high in antioxidants that protect cells from free radical damage. Improving antioxidant status has been linked to boosting the immune system, slowing down signs of aging, preventing Alzheimer’s disease, slowing down cancer cell growth, etc (source).
3. Chia Seeds Helps in Weight Loss
Chia seeds are high in fibre. Fibre helps to promote satiety and makes you feel full after eating – reducing the temptation to snack between meals. Also, chia seeds absorb up to 12 times their weight in water which helps stop food cravings and slows down digestion.
4. Reduces inflammation & Acid Reflux
Not only is chia a natural anti-inflammatory, but it also helps heal the gut and regulate digestive conditions such as acid reflux. To minimize acid reflux symptoms try consuming 5 grams of chia seeds daily for four weeks. Also, adding 1 tbsp of chia seeds in cold milk gives the best results for those suffering from acidity.
5. Improves Bone Health
Studies show that people with osteoporosis have inadequate calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, essential for bone health.
400 grams of chia seeds contain 215mg of calcium – that’s almost 50% of your daily recommended intake. Chia seeds also contain magnesium which is another mineral essential for healthy bones and teeth.
It also has vitamin D, which helps to absorb calcium in the body.
6. Chia Seeds Are a Source of Iron
Iron is an essential mineral in the body, especially for women. Iron deficiency is also one of the most common nutritional deficiencies found in children, resulting in lower IQ levels and poor cognitive development.
Those suffering from anemia see significant improvements in their blood count when they start eating chia seeds daily.
7. Strengthens the Nervous System
Chia seeds are rich in choline which is essential for proper brain function. A study at the University of California found that participants who consumed chia daily had increased blood plasma levels of choline – thus enhancing cognitive function, decreasing neural degeneration and improving scores on memory tests.
8. Aids Digestion
Chia seeds are rich in fibre, and soaked chia seeds help to keep your digestive system running smoothly. They are also rich in prebiotics which feed good bacteria. A recent study showed that those who had lupus and consumed chia daily had better digestive conditions than those who didn’t have any food of the kind.
9. Reduces Menopausal Symptoms
One of the main reasons women resort to taking hormone-replacement drugs is because of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause. A study revealed that those who had chia seeds every day for six weeks saw a significant decrease in their hot flushes and night sweats.
Benefits of Chia Seeds
- High in fibre & Protein
- Satiates hunger
- Forces us to eat healthier food
- Speeds up weight loss
- It makes our skin look good
- Promotes healthy growth of hair
Also Read: Top 9 Best Foods For Hair Growth
How To Consume Chia Seeds?
You can either buy them as whole seeds, grind them into a powder or soak them and eat it as soaked chia pudding.
There are also other many ways to use them in your diet :
- Sprinkle chia seeds as a topping on salads, cereal, curries
- Eat as it is as a trail mix or energy booster
- Mix your smoothie with soaked chia seeds for a filling and satisfying breakfast
- Use chia seeds to make healthy desserts – puddings, cakes, custards etc.
- Add chia seeds to your breakfast bowl of cereal. You can try muesli with yoghurt and orange juice, or you could go the extra mile and make a chia smoothie.