Less is more, and you can go no further than tiny chia seeds creating a healthier you.
Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) has been a part of the human diet for 5500 years and is used by Aztecs and Mayans. The name chia is derived from the Spanish word Chian, meaning oil. It is an integral part of the pre-Columbian diet for health through natural food.
Boasting Nutrition of the Miniature Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are small flattened ovals measuring on average 2.1 mm × 1.3 mm × 0.8 mm with an average weight of 1.3 mg (0.020 gr) per seed (1)
However, don’t be fooled by the size; the world has embraced its packed nutrition.
Chia is a super nutrient with excellent benefits.
Nutrition Profile (2) per 100 g. Based on a 2000 cal diet,
Protein: 16.5 grams
Carbs: 42.1 gram
Fiber 34.4 grams
Fat 30.7 grams
Saturated: 3.33 grams
Monounsaturated: 2.31 grams
Polyunsaturated: 23.67 grams
Omega-3: 17.83 grams
Omega-6: 5.84 grams
Trans: 0.14 grams
Calcium, 615 mg
Iron, 8.31 mg
Magnesium 335 mg
Fast Facts About Chia Seeds
- Chia seeds are small flattened ovals shaped, measuring on average 0..020 gr per seed (1).
- They come as white to brown to black color seeds.
- Chia seeds are gluten-free..it is a healthy food for people with celiac disease.
- They are healthy and filled with health-benefiting nutrients.
- Chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic Acid), which are brain helpers that boost your cognition (3).
- Chia contains superior-quality of protein.
- The commonly recommended health-benefiting dose of chia seeds is 20 g (1,5 tablespoons) twice daily.
- The body needs a reservoir of all nine essential amino acids to synthesize and repair proteins. Chia seeds have them all.
- Compared to milk, Chia contains a higher content of 6x calcium, 11x magnesium, and 4x potassium.
- Chia seeds’ calcium, phosphorous, and potassium content exceeds wheat, rice, oats, and corn.
- The seeds are a robust absorber of water, absorbing more than 10-12 times water of its weight.
- It makes jelly consistency; you can use it as an egg substitute in baking.
- You can powder chia seeds and use them in baking cookies, biscuits, and cakes. It can be used with oats as breakfast, in oats drinks with fruit smoothies, or as toppings on fresh fruits.
- Chia is considered a safe food with no potentially harmful effects.
- It is a free-flowing tiny seed with good flow ability.
- Chia is one of the few medicinal plants that produce essential oil in great concentration, which is used to prepare omega-3 capsules.
- You can use them as nutritional supplements, cereal bars, cookies, bread, and snacks to add a dose of health.
List of Top Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
The nutritional profiles of chia seeds complement your health to make you healthier in multiple ways.
1. Healthier Gut
The rich fiber content makes it an ideal Prebiotic food. It gets fermented at the bottom of the gastrointestinal tract and, in this process, converted to short-chain fatty acids, which feed the good microbes. It increases the number of good health-boosting microbes (5), conferring overall good health and better digestive health. It makes your bowel movements easier.
2. Natural Body Fat and Weight Reducer
Fiber takes longer to digest. It spends a longer time in your digestive tract. That translates to keeping you full longer. You eat less number of time in a day. A couple of teaspoons could keep your hunger away. Food with fiber reduces fat and obesity (6) and associated cardiovascular risks.
3. Immunity Booster
The tiny chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for enhancing immunity. It also reduces inflammation and regulates inflammatory responses in the body.
4. Anti-Aging Effect of Chia Seeds
Research has shown peptides from chia seeds may improve skin health by offering protection against aging-related enzymes by preventing degradation of the protein matrix on the skin; however, further in vivo studies are needed to evaluate its capability.
5. Reduces High Blood Pressure
Quercetin: an antioxidant (a flavonol)has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
High fiber also helps lower high blood pressure. That, in turn, reduces the risk of heart disease.
Chlorogenic Acid, a remarkable natural antioxidant, is connected to reducing glucose absorption and addresses lipid metabolism (7), reducing obesity. Help lower blood pressure.
6. May Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Chia seeds contain plant oxidants, phenols, and phytosterols, which are well known for scavenging body-destructive free radicals to alleviate cancer.
7. Stronger and Healthier Bones
Long-term use of chia seeds as part of your diet offers you stronger and healthier bones (8). Chia seeds are rich in calcium: 18% of the RDI and Phosphorus, 27% of the RDI (9), the main constituents of bone minerals. Read our recent blog on the importance of calcium for human health.
8. Better Heart
Consuming saturated fats is closely related to getting hypertension and cardiac diseases. In this respect, chia seeds have zero cholesterol and an appreciable amount of unsaturated fatty acids to benefit your heart health.
Omega-3 fatty acids of chia seeds help hypertension and improve heart rate variability.
Cardio-protective effects resulting from the additive effect of alpha-linolenic Acid and n-3 long-chain PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty Acid) were observed in women in a human trial with chia seeds.
9. Reduces Blood Sugar and Help Manage Diabetes
In the GI tract, chia seed components reduce type 2 diabetes by improving the beta‐cell performance and reducing the blood glucose level because of the greater extent of fiber slowing down the digestion process and release of glucose
Antioxidants in chia seeds help diabetes management and cardio risk (9).
10. Improved Vision
The presence of omega-3 fatty acids, which have a significant presence in the brain and eye, can benefit from Chia (10).
11. Laxative – Chia Seeds Help Relieve Constipation
Chia contains 85% of insoluble fiber and 15% of soluble fiber. Chia seed absorbs water naturally. And swells to a gel in the gut. This property can help loosen stools, making them labile to move.
More benefits of Chia
- vision helper
Cons of Having Too Many Chia Seeds
Side effects may be gas and bloating, digestive issues; some may experience allergic reactions to chia seeds,
Chia seeds are A Versatile Addition to multiple recipes
- Eat them as is or a powder in tiny portions, and be careful not to choke. Drink enough water.
- Soak the seeds overnight in water, and enjoy drinking the slurried and swelled chia.
- Eat with salad, soups, eggs, and energy bars with other nuts.
- Make your delicious chia pudding your dessert with dry fruits and nuts.
Making Chia part of your meal is smart nutrition. You get a total dose of protein, fiber, multiple antioxidants, omega-3, and six fatty acids. It is a natural functional food (not reconstituted) offering more health than its conventional nutritive value.
They are a nutritional powerhouse in the superfood aisle. Besides, these seeds are also a good source of vegetable protein, unsaturated fat, carbohydrates, and ash.
Chia seeds have therapeutic importance. Chia seeds contain more than one functional component. The importance of these components is the
- ability to suppress the risk of chronic diseases, including GI tract-related conditions. Seeds have rich fiber that provides bulk to stool so that these seeds can prevent constipation.
- CVD- Fiber, omega‐3 fatty acids, protein, polyphenols, phytosterols, vitamins, and minerals reduce heart diseases by controlling bad cholesterol, hypertension, and platelet aggregation.
- Reducing the risks of various types of cancer, antioxidants and phenolic parts of these seeds improve oxidation.
- In the GI tract, chia seed components reduce type 2 diabetes by improving the beta‐cell performance and reducing the blood glucose level.
- Moreover, c However, In the future, Chia seed components may be used as an additive ingredient in different food products such as meat products and baking products to improve the nutritional value and shelf stability.