Why Are Chia Seeds Good For You?
First, chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming chia seeds is probably the easiest way to intake these healthy fatty acids. Yes, we have flaxseeds or salmon that are good sources of omega-3s, but it’s all about the ease of intaking. You don’t have to grind or cook the chia seeds. One serving of chia seeds contains 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
Secondly, they contain soluble fiber. Simply get the chia seeds a little wet, and you will see them turning into a gel – which is the soluble fiber. The benefits of soluble fiber are many – it helps manage blood sugar, feeds the gut-friendly bacteria, and even bulks up the stool . A single serving of chia seeds meets almost a third of your daily fiber requirement.
If you have bone issues, you can swear by chia seeds. A high content of calcium, phosphorous, and manganese make them good for the bones.
Top Chia Seeds Benefits
1. Stimulate Weight Loss
Weight loss is probably the number one reason most people do what they do. In fact, it is a multi-billion dollar industry. And if you are looking to lose weight, chia seeds could be one the first options you can consider.
Of course, no single food can aid weight loss or cause weight gain. It all depends on our food habits and lifestyle. However, what makes chia seeds a good weight loss food is the excellent fiber content. A normal intake of chia seeds a day, which amounts to 25 to 38 grams a day, can go a long way in helping you shed those kilos. The seeds are also found to reduce belly fat.
Wondering how to prepare chia seeds for weight loss? It’s simple. Just add two tablespoons of raw or whole chia seeds into a glass of water. Stir well. After allowing the mixture to settle (for a few minutes), drink them quick before they get swollen due to water absorption.
Fiber in chia seeds also helps you feel full for longer periods of time. It promotes satiety. The seeds absorb water in the stomach and then expand, thereby suppressing your appetite . This can eventually lead to weight loss.
As per a Brazilian study, chia seeds play a role in fat reduction . Chia seeds are also rich in protein, which also has been found to promote satiety and weight loss .
2. Rich In Omega-3 Fatty Acids
As discussed, chia seeds are one of the few types of seeds that are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids .
3. Prevent Constipation
Since they are packed with fiber, especially insoluble fiber, chia seeds turn into a gel when they come in contact with water. This adds to your stool and aids bowel movements, thereby relieving constipation . Fiber also has been found to improve digestion.
4. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels And Help Prevent Diabetes
Chia’s ability to slow down digestion can be linked to diabetes prevention. The gelatinous coating chia seeds develop can also prevent spikes in the blood sugar levels .
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, chia is one of those foods considered to be useful in diabetes treatment . The seeds were also found to improve the blood pressure levels in diabetics .
Another reason chia can be good for diabetics is the presence of omega-3 fatty acids that are known to be nutritionally important for the treatment of the disease .
5. Fight Breast Cancer And Other Forms Of Cancer
As per a report published by the UCSF Medical Center, chia seeds are a good source of alpha-linoleic acid, which can help prevent breast cancer . The same goes for omega-3 fatty acids.
6. Supports Healthy Blood Lipid Levels
The omega-3 fatty acids get the credit, again. These fatty acids help lower blood cholesterol and prevent coronary heart disease in the process . The monounsaturated fats in chia seeds help lower the cholesterol levels . The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also states that adding chia seeds to the diet can keep a check on the cholesterol levels .
According to a report published by the West Virginia University, chia seeds, as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle, can enhance heart health and prevent heart-related ailments .
The omega-3s also reduce triglycerides, a type of fat in the blood. In addition, they reduce the risk of irregular heartbeat, lower blood pressure, and slow down the accumulation of arterial plaque .
Chia seeds were also found to treat dyslipidemia, a metabolic disorder where there is an abnormal amount of cholesterol in the blood . In another Argentine study, the alpha-linoleic acid in chia seeds had improved the condition of rats suffering from dyslipidemia . In addition to treating dyslipidemia, chia seeds were also found to increase the levels of HDL or good cholesterol.
7. Boost Energy And Metabolism
Chia seeds are packed with B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium – all of which help boost energy . You can add the seeds to your favorite smoothie and enjoy a refreshing burst of energy. As per a report published by the University of New Hampshire, chia seeds can also boost your metabolism .
8. Can Be Used As A Workout Drink
Workouts can get tiring at times. But with chia seeds, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore. Given the amount of omega-3s they contain, chia seeds can be used for sustaining energy.
Taking chia seeds a few hours before an intense workout can provide fuel to the body after the carbs burn off. Chia seeds, when taken after working out, can provide protein that helps repair tissues.
9. Packed With Protein
We don’t have to discuss the importance of protein, do we? Chia seeds are a great source of protein. As per a Brazilian study, chia seeds had shown great protein quality . They also had improved the lipid profiles (cholesterol levels, basically) in rats.
Chia seeds contain 19% protein. And according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a high-protein diet can reduce hunger and encourage satiety . The seeds contain high-quality protein with all the necessary amino acids .
10. Enhance Mood
Chia, considered a superfood, is believed to enhance your mood upon regular consumption . As per a Pittsburgh study, omega-3 fatty acids are associated with improved mood and behavior . Consuming chia seeds might also help you combat depression.
11. Rich In Antioxidants
We all know how important antioxidants are. And chia seeds have them in abundance . The antioxidants are not only good for the cells, but for the skin as well – as they help slow down the signs of aging . The antioxidants in chia seeds have also been found to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease . A high antioxidant content is what makes chia seeds more shelf-stable than other seeds .
12. Good For Bones And Teeth
One study has shown that increased consumption of calcium-rich foods, like chia seeds, can improve skeletal health . Consumption of chia seeds is also considered an effective way to improve calcium intake .
In addition to calcium, chia seeds are also rich in manganese – both of which are crucial for maintaining strong bones and teeth .
Chia seeds are also rich in phosphorus, a mineral that has been found to enhance bone health . The presence of antioxidants in chia seeds can also protect your teeth from damage .
13. Can Improve Skin Health
The omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds have been found to increase circulation and reduce dryness and skin inflammation . And as per a Manchester study, omega-3s help protect the skin from UV radiation . Chia seeds contain anti-inflammatory properties that could help prevent wrinkles . The seeds also help reduce skin sagging.
14. Help Treat Diverticulosis
Diverticulosis is the presence of tube-like structures in the intestine with no signs of inflammation. Chia seeds, simply because they are vegetarian and rich in omega-3s, are found to help prevent diverticular disease.
Lack of fiber has also been linked to diverticulosis – and chia seeds, being an excellent source of fiber, can help treat this condition. They absorb the water in the colon and smoothen the bowel movements.
15. Can Be Used As A Substitute For Eggs
If you think you want protein but don’t take eggs, you have some good news! You can use chia seeds as a substitute for eggs.
The process is simple. All you need are a tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water. Ground the chia seeds, and then mix them with water in a small bowl. Keep it aside for 5 minutes, post which the mixture takes on a gooey consistency – similar to raw egg yolk. You can add this to your dishes and enjoy the goodness of high-quality protein.
16. Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The presence of omega-3s, fiber, and protein make chia seeds one of the best anti-inflammatory foods out there . The anti-inflammatory properties of chia seeds can also aid in the treatment of arthritis.
17. Are Gluten-Free
Gluten is the protein present in cereal grains, especially wheat, and is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. In certain individuals, gluten is known to cause allergies and gluten intolerance. However, with chia seeds, it’s a different scenario. It is 100% gluten-free.
It is particularly helpful in gluten-free baking. Chia seeds are especially beneficial for individuals suffering from celiac disease. As per studies, people with celiac disease tend to consume less calcium and fiber than recommended – and chia seeds, being rich in these two nutrients, can bridge the gap.
18. Rich In Manganese
In addition to numerous other nutrients, chia seeds are also rich in manganese . Manganese might help in the treatment of arthritis, diabetes, and epilepsy. Manganese also has excellent antioxidant properties. It improves metabolism and accelerates wound healing .
19. Rich In Magnesium
One serving of chia seeds contains 30% of the RDA of magnesium. The mineral has several benefits – a few them include treatment of hypertension and heart disease, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes .
Magnesium also helps in the production of energy in the body, and a lack of it can cause fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and poor memory .
20. Improve Sleep
There are two hormones that are essential for sleep – serotonin and melatonin. These two hormones are produced by tryptophan, an amino acid in the body. Chia seeds, being high in tryptophan, aid good sleep and relaxation . According to an American study, tryptophan is also used for treating numerous sleep disorders.
We have seen the many health benefits of chia seeds. But chia seeds work great for pregnant women as well. Wondering how? Keep reading!