Chia Seeds: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Chia Seeds: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

Chia plant has its scientific name as Salvia hispanica.

It has originated from Southern Mexico and Guatemale.

For long, chia has been cultivated for harvesting tiny black seeds, which can make profits.

These seeds have great  amounts of nutrients which are very beneficial for our health.

In addition to nutritional value, chia seeds are associated with bland flavor. As a result, people add them to almost everything.

This article is a collection of nutrition facts and Benefits of Chia Seeds.

Nutrition Facts

Chia Seeds - Nutrition Facts

Although chia seeds are small in size, fact have shown that they are a great source of antioxidants (1).

In addition, chia seeds are among one of the best sources of fiber, most of which are insoluble.

Insoluble fiber can lower the risk of diabetes (2).

On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, magnesium, etc… also contribute a lot to chia seed nutritional value.

It is also necessary to mention a wide range of vitamins in chia seeds, which is responsible for some of their health benefits.

Bottom line: In spite of small size, the abundance of nutrients constitutes chia seed benefits.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Here are top 10 Benefits of Chia Seeds which are constantly proved by scientific evidence.

1. Lower the Risk of Heart Disease

Chia Seeds - Lower the Risk of Heart Disease

One of the most outstanding benefits of chia seeds is its ability to fight cardiovascular diseases.

Thanks to the richness in omega 3 – fatty acids, fiber as well as protein, chia seeds seem to enhance metabolic health, leading to less danger of heart disease.

Plus, plenty of potassium and magnesium in chia seeds may keep heart healthy.

Rats are involved in an experiment and chia seeds might lower triglycerides, increase the amount HDL -good cholesterol (3).

Because other ingredients are also present in this study, it is difficulty to make sure about the effect of chia seeds themselves on heart disease.

Generally, it is likely that chia seeds are able to reduce the risk of heart disease only when it goes with other ingredients.

2. Boost Blood Levels

It has been long speculated that a mechanism behind benefits of chia seeds is its ability to regular blood levels.

Clearly, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for not only the body but also the brain.

And chia seed are a great container of omega-3 fatty acid (4), (5).

In reality, studies in both humans and animals have concluded that chia seeds result in 138-percent increase in ALA blood level and 39-percent increase in EPA blood level (6), (7).

Bottom line: Thanks to great amount of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds can increase blood levels of not only ALA but also EPA.

3. Reduce Blood Pressure

Undeniably, high blood pressure is among issues of concern for many people due to its bad effects on chronic problems.

Studies have shown that chia flour supplement can lower blood pressure in hypertensive (8).

4. Slow down Aging Process

One of the greatest beauty benefits of chia seeds is to slow down aging process.

Being rich in antioxidants, chia seeds may fight off free radicals, which will aid in preventing premature skin aging (9).

Moreover, the great amount of omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds may fade many skin problems such as age spots,  wrinkles and so on.

To strengthen skin, hair and nail health, the suggestion is that people include chia seeds regularly in their diet.

There are many choices to process chia seeds:

  • They can be soaked into liquid before adding to porridge
  • Alternatively, chia seeds may be made into pudding, smoothies or mixed with either salad or yogurt

Bottom line: Chia seeds are popular name in beauty industry because it can keep people look youthful and full of energy.

5. Weight Loss

Chia Seeds - Weight Loss

Chia seeds are believed to help lose weight naturally.

Not only can fiber in chia seeds consume great amount of water, it will also increase the fullness and limit the desire for foods (10).

Furthermore, protein which is found in chia seeds can suppress appetite.

However, although chia seed’s effects on losing weight have been explored, the results have brought disappointment.

90 overweight people took part in a study and were let to take in 50 grams of chia seeds each day during 12 weeks. Almost no decrease in their body weight was witnessed (11).

Another 10-week study in 62 women also took place and chia seeds were claimed to have no impacts on body weight (12).
It is clear that  a weight loss diet demands more than using only one food. The combination with suitable lifestyle or entire diet matters.

Bottom line: Due to richness in protein and fiber, chia seeds are expected to help lose weight. However, the studies on this ingredient have not shown this ability.

6. Good for Bone Health

It is highly certain that calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein are essential nutrients for a firm bone health.

Chia seeds are great source of these elements.

Particularly, the high content of protein can strengthen bone health, which has been consistently proved by a number of studies (13).

Similarly, phosphorus is very important for bone health. It is especially beneficial for the treatment of osteoporosis (14).

Bottom line: Chia seeds are rich in many nutrients which are vital for bone health.

7. Anti-Diabetes

When refering to benefits of chia seeds, people often think about anti-diabetic effects.

Among 3 types of diabetes, chia seeds seem to have the best effect on type 2.

In a study, 37 grams of chia seeds and wheat bran is given to 20 diabetic patients to use in 12 weeks.

Notably, there was significant improvement in their health condition(15).

8. Improve Brain Function

For long, patients who suffer from weak memory or usually lose concentration ought to use chia seeds.

Chia seeds, with abundant source of omega-3 fatty acids, can help arteries to the brain clear plaque and promote the connection among brain cells.

Additionally, these essential fatty acids lead to the flexibility of cell membranes, contributing to better brain function (16).

Bottom line: The richness in omega-3 fatty acids enables chia seeds to become good friend of brain.

9. Provide Energy

Another health benefit of chia seeds is to provide our body system with energy to work and study effectively.

In fact, the strontium in chia seeds is to not only assimilate protein but also boost energy production (17).

On the other hand, a wide range of minerals as well as vitamins in chia seeds does wonder at raising metabolism rate.

This can help you energized all day.

10. Fuel Exercise Performance

Chia Seeds - Fuel Exercise Performance

Back to the past, the Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds to improve their exercise performance.

A recent study with the participation of 6 athletes  was done.

They were given either a gatorade or half a gatorade of chia seeds before running.

The result showed no striking difference between their performance, indicating that chia seeds were of some uses (18).

Accordingly, chia seeds assist participants in “carb loading” by increasing nutrient consumption and reducing sugar intake.

However, scientists hope that further studies will generate clearer outcomes.

Take Home Message

In spite of well-known amazing health benefits of chia seeds, they also poses some threats to our health if you do not consume it in the right way.

Some health experts suggest that you should not consume chia seeds in raw or dry form.

Instead, before consuming these seeds, the recommendation is that you mix them with enough water to let them expand.

Also, large doses of omega-3 fatty acids – the main ingredient of chia seeds – may leave blood thinning effect (19).

Therefore, people should consult doctor before including considerable amount of chia seeds in your diet.

Bottom line: In general, chia seeds are quite safe to use. However, to make use of benefits of chia seeds to the fullest extent, people should consider before consuming large amount of them because there may be the appearance of blood thinning effect. 

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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