1. Support Healthy Skin
Chia seeds are jam-packed with antioxidants, accounting for the powerful benefits of chia seeds for skin health. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radical damage and prevent oxidative stress while also promoting tissue repair and protecting against skin damage.
Interestingly enough, researchers from Mexico recently uncovered that they have a total antioxidant concentration nearly two times higher than previously reported. In fact, the antioxidant activity of chia seeds was shown to stop up to 70 percent of free radical activity.
As one of the most high-antioxidant foods on the planet, adding chia seeds to your diet may help fight premature aging and protect the skin cells against free radical damage to optimize the health of your skin.
2. Promote Digestive Health
Chia is loaded with fiber, squeezing nearly 11 grams of fiber into a single ounce. This means that adding just one ounce of chia seeds into your daily diet can supply a whopping 44 percent of your fiber needs for the entire day.
Because of their rich fiber content, chia seeds benefit digestive health by promoting regularity and increasing stool frequency to prevent constipation. The fiber also acts as a prebiotic to provide fuel for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which plays a central role in many aspects of health and disease.
Plus, the fiber in chia seeds also absorbs a good amount of water and expands in the stomach, helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer. This may explain why clinical studies show that using chia seeds for weight loss could be effective by curbing hunger and suppressing appetite.
3. Improve Heart Health
Thanks to their high content of antioxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats, chia seeds pack a major punch when it comes to cardiovascular health. In fact, one of the most powerful chia seeds health benefits is their ability to reduce inflammation and decrease several risk factors of heart disease. Inflammation can put extra strain on blood vessels and is thought to contribute to heart disease along with a slew of other chronic conditions.
Chia seeds are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids, boasting even more omega-3s per gram than salmon. Omega-3s work to protect the heart by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels and inflammation. Meanwhile, the fiber found in chia seeds can help manage cholesterol levels and keep the arteries clear to minimize the risk of coronary heart disease.
4. Balance Blood Sugar
Rich in both alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, evidence from several studies suggests that chia seeds can help maintain normal blood sugar levels to fight diabetes and insulin resistance. One animal model in the British Journal of Nutrition even found that adding them to a high-sugar diet prevented changes in blood sugar and lipid levels. What’s more, human studies have also found that adding chia seeds to white bread reduces the glycemic response to prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels.
5. Boost Energy and Exercise Performance
Chia seeds are often used by athletes for carb loading, a strategy that helps maximize the storage of glycogen in the muscles and liver to optimize endurance and boost exercise performance. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds enhanced exercise performance for workouts that lasted 90 minutes the same way a sugar-laden sports drink would but without all the unhealthy sugar. In the study, half of the athletes drank 100 percent Gatorade, while the others consumed half Gatorade and half chia seed drink. In the end, the runners’ times were matched, but the half-chia group consumed far less sugar.
Plus, the protein in chia seeds can help build muscle mass and increase strength to help fuel your workouts. Research shows that consuming protein as a post-workout meal can aid in the repair of muscle tissues and can also build new muscle to speed up recovery time between workouts.
6. Build Stronger Bones
One of the biggest chia seed health benefits is the ability to strengthen bone health and preserve bone density while reducing the risk of serious conditions like osteoporosis. This is because chia seeds are loaded with calcium and manganese, two minerals that are incredibly important for maintaining bone health.
With about 99 percent of the calcium in your body stored in your bones, calcium serves an important role in maintaining bone strength and density. Manganese is also involved in bone metabolism, with studies showing that a deficiency in this key nutrient can impair bone resorption and decrease bone formation. Impressively enough, a single ounce of chia seeds contains 18 percent of the calcium you need in a day while also meeting 30 percent of your daily manganese requirements to help build stronger bones.
7. Aid in Weight Loss
Adding chia seeds to your diet is an excellent way to enhance weight loss and help shed stubborn pounds. Chia seeds also rank among the top plant-based protein foods, which is why chia seeds protein is great to consume for those trying to put on lean muscle, burn fat, and manage hunger and appetite.
Studies show that increasing your intake of protein can promote weight loss by curbing cravings and cutting caloric intake. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, for example, showed that increasing protein intake by just 15 percent of daily calories led to significant decreases in energy intake and appetite. Other research shows that following a high-protein diet rich in foods like chia seeds could reduce levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger.
8. Fight Cancer Growth
Chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in many plant foods. In 2013, an in-vitro study published in the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry found that ALA helped limit the growth of both breast and cervical cancer cells. Researchers also found that it caused cell death of the cancer cells without harming the normal healthy cells in the body. While more research still needs to be done to find out the deeper implications of ALA on other types of cancer, this is a great discovery for women struggling with these increasingly common types of cancer. This discovery also makes chia seeds potential cancer-fighting foods.
9. Enhance Oral Health
Because chia seeds are packed with calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A and zinc, it’s no wonder that promoting oral health makes the list as a top benefit of chia seeds. Calcium is the building block of your teeth that is necessary for maintaining oral health. Meanwhile, zinc prevents tartar by keeping plaque from mineralizing onto your teeth and has an antibacterial effect that keeps bad breath germs away. Vitamin A and phosphorus are also important for strong teeth and a healthy mouth, both of which are plentiful in chia seeds.