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Chia Seeds- Fast Facts and 11+ Science Based Health Benefits

 

Less is more and you can go no further than tiny chia seeds creating a healthier you.

   Chia Seeds 

Chia Seeds

Chia (Salvia Hispanica L.) has been a part of human diet for 5500 years used by Aztec and Mayans  The name chia is derived from Spanish word Chian meaning oil. It is an integral part of 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 amazing benefits.

Nutrition Profile (2) per 100 g. Based on 2000 cal diet,

Calories:    486

Water:        6%

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

  • 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 suffering from 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 boosting your cognition (3).
  • Chia contains superior quality of protein.
  • Commonly recommended health benefiting dose of chia seeds is 20 g  (1,5 table spoons), twice a day.
  • Chia contains higher content of 6x calcium, 11x magnesium and 4x potassium than milk.
  • The calcium, phosphorous and potassium content of chia is many folds greater than wheat, rice, oats and corn. 
  • The seeds is a powerful absorber of water, absorbing more than 10-12 times of water of its own weight. 
  • It makes jelly kind of consistency and you can use them as egg substitute in baking.
  • You can powder chia seeds and use it in baking cookies, biscuits and cakes. It can be used with oats as breakfast, in oats drink with fruit smoothies or as toppings on fresh fruits.
  • Chia is considered as a safe food with no potentially harmful effects.
  • It is a free flowing small seeds wth good flow ability.
  • Chia is one of the few medicinal plants that produce essential oil in a great concentration, which is used for the preparation of omega-3 capsules. 
  • You can use them in baking, as nutritional supplements, in cereal bars, cookies, bread, snacks to add a dose of health.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

The nutritional profiles of chia seeds complements 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 part of gastro intestinal tract and in this process converted to short chain fatty acids, which feeds 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 longer time in your digestive track. 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 your obesity (6) and associated cardio vascular risks.

3. Immunity Booster 

The small 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 contribute in the improvement of 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 actual capability.

5. Reduces High Blood Pressure

Quercetin: an anti-oxidant (a flavonol)has been shown to reduce blood pressure. 

High fiber also help lower high blood pressure. that in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.

The presence of chlorogenic acid, a special natural anti-oxidant is connected to reducing glucose absorption and addresses lipid metabolism (7), reducing obesity. help reduce blood pressure.

6. May Reduce the Risk of Cancer

Chia seeds contain plant oxidants phenols, phytophenols 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 offer you stronger and healthier bones (8). Chia seeds are rich in Calcium:18% of the RDI and Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI (9) which are main constituents of bone minerals. Read our recent blog on 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 appreciable amount of unsaturated fatty acids to benefit your heart health from.

.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 (poly unsaturated fatty acid) was observed in women in a human trial with chia seeds.

9. Reduces Blood Sugar and Help Manage Diabetes

The presence of higher extents of fibre help in diabetes mellitus by slowing down the digestion process and release of glucose, 

Presence of antioxidants in chia seeds help diabetes management along with cardio risk (9). 

10. Improved Vision

The presence of omega-3-fatty acids which has a large presence in 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’s can help loosen stools making them labile to move.

More benefits of chia

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antidepressant
  • anti anxiety
  • analgesic
  • vision helper

Conclusion 

Making chia as part of your meal is a smart nutrition. You get a full dose of protein, fiber, multiple anti-oxidants, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids 

They are a nutritional power house in the superfood aisle. 

Reinvent your healthier you with superfood chia as a part of your diet on regular basis.

 

Anusuya Choudhury

6 Comments

  1. I never knew this. What a wonderful, informative post. Working in a walking hotel, we had a bowl of these seeds out every morning for the guests to have with their breakfast. I never understood why so many walkers found it necessary to have some on their porridge or sprinkle some on their cereal. 

    Now it all makes sense. 

    They were going out walking, it would keep the hunger away, the anti inflamatory aspects will help to protect their joints as they climb a  mountain, the other properties are beneficial to anyone. I should start using them. This post has opened my eyes to a world I failed to grasp!

    • Great idea to incorporate this amazing seed into your diet. Thanks for your time to read through.

  2. I have always heard good things about Chia Seeds. But it has been in this post that I have learned exactly what they can help us with. I didn’t know that they came in several colors. And one of the most important points for me is that they are glutten free. That’s a game changer, in my book.

    • Hi Ann,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about chia seeds. It comes with many health benefits in that small pack. 

  3. I thought I knew a lot about Chia seeds, but reading this blog post shows that I actually didn’t haha. Wow, I didn’t know it lowered my blood pressure, so I might as well eat more of it? The only problem that I have with chia seeds is that I find it hard to get it to taste good,maybe I should make smoothies from them and ad some tasty things. Thanks for the information!

    • Hi Lizzy,

      I would not suggest you to have more of chia seeds to reduce the blood pressure. It has a dose (ask your doctor) and stay within that. You may choke and be care careful eating just as such. As you have written remember to soak it for few hours in water or milk and drink. I also like chia pudding if you don’t care for a little added sugar.

      Thank you for reading the post and offering your personal opinion. 

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