10 Proven Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds: Wondering why you should add chia seeds to your diet? Here are ten of the best reasons to do so.
If you’ve been trying to stay updated with the latest health news, it will be very likely that you’ve heard about chia seeds before. Considered as a super food by many, these things have been making waves in the past few years for its marvelous promises.
They’re all the rage among fitness buffs as they promise to be very helpful in weight loss. They hail from Mexico and has been traditionally used as energy boosters. This is why it’s named “chia” which means “strength” in the ancient Mayan language. So if you’re trying to get in better shape, grabbing a bag or two of these is a good start.
The best part about chia seeds is that they’re very easy to introduce to your diet. All you really need to do is sprinkle some on your food and drink and you’re good to go. They’re often added to rice, cereal, vegetables, beverages, and baked goods. They have a mild nutty flavor so they easily work as an additional item to most dishes without being overwhelming.
But what exactly makes chia seeds a great addition to your diet? Why is it considered as a super food? Here are a few science-backed benefits these edible seeds have to offer:
1. Low in Calories But Nutrient-Rich
If you’re trying to lose weight, every calorie counts. This is why it’s important to add lots of filling and nutritious low-calorie ingredients to your diet. Chia seeds are definitely one of them as it only has 137 calories for every ounce or two tablespoons of it.
You might be thinking, “137 calories for two tablespoons isn’t low!” Then again, you might not really need two tablespoons for every drink or meal. That’s already an overwhelming amount of chia seeds for a meal. A tablespoon will already suffice in many occasions, so you can just stick with that.
For every ounce or 28 grams of chia seeds, you also get to enjoy these amounts of nutrients:
- 10g of dietary fiber
- 7g of protein
- 4mg of potassium
- 9g of total fats, 7 g of which is Omega-3 fatty acids
- Significant amounts of calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, and some vitamins
With zero sugar and trans fat content, chia seeds can also be a good addition to low-fat, low-sugar diets.
2. Its Carbs Are Fiber
One thing that makes people hesitant about chia seeds is that it contains 13g of carbohydrates for every ounce. This can be a bit high since an ounce of chia seeds is just 28g. If you’re not too thrilled about this, the fact that most of these carbohydrates are also considered as fiber might just change your mind.
Carbohydrates have this horrible rap among those who want to lose weight. They’re not all bad, though. You just need to choose the right carbs, which can include chia seeds. This ingredient is actually a water-soluble fiber, so it doesn’t have sugar or starch in it that can make you gain weight.
While it can slow down your digestion, it will blunt the effects of carbs on blood sugar. This means that it won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels which is something diabetics want to avoid.
Of course, being rich in fiber is also a good thing. It will aid your digestion and help you break down nutrients better to benefit your health all the more.
3. Rich In Protein
As 14% of chia seeds’ weight is made up of protein, it can easily be a good source of such for most people without having to consume a lot of calories as well. This is why it has become a popular weight loss superfood, as not a lot of other ingredients can promise the same.
Any person interested in getting in better shape knows that protein is the best food to have lots for so many reasons. For one, it can reduce your appetite while triggering thermogenesis which will require you to expend more calories to digest your food. These help in balancing your calorie deficit which is essential in losing weight.
Two, higher protein consumption also wards off muscle loss. If you haven’t been consuming lots of calories, your muscles tend to be sacrificed in the process. Compensate by eating more proteins and you’ll get to retain your muscles even as you cut down your calorie intake.
4. Packed With Antioxidants
Antioxidants might be some of the most overused health terms out there as they’re heavily used by the beauty industry in promising a youthful look. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s all fluff. They’re actually very useful in keeping your body’s free radicals in check which can also help lower your cancer risks.
Chia seeds have high amounts of antioxidants as they use it to protect the delicate fats inside. Some studies even say that it’s richer in antioxidants than any other whole foods, including blueberries. This makes it a wonderful source of such substances.
5. Brimming With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Because the body can’t produce omega-3 fatty acids which are great for boosting your heart health, consuming food items that are packed with such nutrients is a must. Luckily, chia seeds are brimming with these ingredients. The fats this food item contains are actually mostly Omega-3 fatty acids which makes it a very good source of such.
6. A Weight Loss Booster
It’s possible that chia seeds are most popularly used for weight loss as of late. While there are not a lot of studies regarding its actual effects on weight loss, lots of people believe that it can still do wonders for those who want to shed some pounds.
How? Here are a few good ways how chia seeds can help you lose weight:
- It can reduce your appetite, making it easier for you to consume fewer calories.
- Being a water-soluble fiber, it can absorb up to ten to twelve times its weight when added to any liquid. This makes it heavier on your stomach which will help you feel fuller. The fuller you are with a lower calorie consumption, the fewer calories you have to burn to lose weight.
- Its high protein content can help trigger thermogenesis which will let you use more calories even while at rest.
It’s very important to note, however, that chia seeds are still relatively high in calories. With 137 calories for just 2 tablespoons, you might want to limit your consumption of this ingredient to also control your calorie intake. Even though it is mostly fiber, calories are still calories and you will still need to make a deficit of it in order to lose weight. Stick with just two tablespoons daily for the best results.
7. Lower The Risk of Heart Disease & Type 2 Diabetes
As mentioned above, chia seeds are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids and doesn’t really have sugar and starch content. Omega-3 promotes heart health so it’s a good nutrient to get a whole lot of if you want to avoid cardiovascular issues. Being low in sugar and starches, on the other hand, makes it an ideal ingredient for diabetics as it can help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
8. A Better Alternative to Processed Whole Grains
Like flax seeds, chia seeds are also considered as grains. However, it’s a better option for getting your fiber needs as it’s gluten-free. This makes it an excellent source of important nutrients for those who can’t process gluten.
9. Promotes Better Bone Health
Calcium is one of the most important nutrients to get as you age. Unfortunately, consuming dairy products isn’t ideal for everyone. Some folks have problems digesting lactose. The high fat, calorie, and sugar content can also mean bad things for one’s health. Luckily, chia seeds offer high amounts of calcium among other trace minerals required for a better bone health.
10. No Grinding Required
Unlike flaxseed, you don’t have to grind chia seeds just so you can be sure that the nutrients it contain will be absorbed by your body. This means you can enjoy chia seeds and its benefits without having to exert a lot of effort involved.
What To Expect From Chia Seeds
Before you head out and grab a few bags of chia seeds, it’s important to know a few things from these health foods to make the most of them. For one, it’s entirely possible to be allergic to these things.
Like other foods and ingredients, you can have adverse reactions against chia seeds. If you’re allergic to sesame or mustard seeds, there’s a chance that chia seeds might not sit well with you as well. Proceed with caution in such cases.
There’s also the issue with the taste. Some people might need to get used to chia seeds as they have this slimy texture when mixed with water. It’s not really so bad, though. Its flavor is quite mild so you won’t have a hard time getting better acquainted with it.
With so many benefits chia seeds have, it can really make a good case for those who want to eat better and get in shape. It’s easily available and can be added to your diet without a fuss, so if you want to give it a shot, you won’t have to struggle to do so.