Chia seeds are frequently featured as the star ingredient in many healthy eating recipes, ranging from baked goods to protein bars and shakes and more. As well as offering a hint of flavor and texture to your favorite foods, these seeds are also highly nutritious and provide a long list of benefits, including increased energy levels, balanced blood sugar, and better heart health.
So why are chia seeds good for you? Read on for a full list of benefits, preparation instructions, and some simple ways to add this tasty seed to your daily diet with some wonderful recipes.
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) have become one of the most popular superfoods in the health community. Coming from a species of flowering plant in the mint family, they are native to areas of Mexico and Guatemala, but are commonly cultivated in many areas of North and South America.
These tasty seeds are easy to digest when prepared properly and can be a very versatile ingredient that works well in a variety of recipes. Plus, they offer a long list of important nutrients, including fiber, protein, manganese, and calcium, along with many antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Not only that, but recent research has found that the benefits of chia seeds are even greater than what scientists initially realized. Chia seeds benefits include promoting healthy skin, reducing signs of aging, supporting the heart and digestive system, building stronger bones, and more.
Top 9 benefits of chia seeds
1. Healthy skin
Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, representing the powerful benefits of chia seeds for skin health. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radical damage and prevent oxidative stress while promoting tissue repair and protecting against skin damage.
Interestingly, researchers in Mexico recently discovered that they have a total antioxidant concentration almost twice as high as 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 antioxidant-rich foods on the planet, adding antioxidants to your diet can help fight premature aging and protect skin cells from free radical damage to optimize your skin's health.
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 to your daily diet can provide a whopping 44 percent of your fiber needs throughout the day.
Due to their rich fiber content, they benefit digestive health by promoting regularity and increasing the frequency of stools to prevent constipation. Fiber also acts as a prebiotic to provide fuel for beneficial bacteria in the gut, which plays a central role in many aspects of health and disease.
Additionally, the fiber in chia seeds also absorbs a good amount of water and expands in the stomach, helping you feel fuller for longer. This may explain why clinical studies show that using chia seeds for weight loss could be effective in curbing hunger and suppressing appetite.
3. Improves heart health
Thanks to their high content of antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats, chia seeds have a huge impact when it comes to cardiovascular health. In fact, one of the most powerful health benefits is its ability to reduce inflammation and lower various risk factors for heart disease. Inflammation can put extra stress on blood vessels and is believed to contribute to heart disease along with a number of other chronic conditions.
Chia seeds are especially high in omega-3 fatty acids, with more omega-3s per gram than salmon. Omega-3s work to protect the heart by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Meanwhile, the fiber found in chia seeds can help control cholesterol levels and keep arteries clear to minimize the risk of coronary heart disease.
4. Blood sugar balance
Rich in alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, evidence from several studies suggests that chia seeds can help maintain normal blood sugar levels to combat diabetes and insulin resistance. An 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. Additionally, human studies have also found that adding chia seeds to white bread lowers the glycemic response to avoid spikes and glitches in blood sugar levels.
5. Increases energy and exercise performance
Athletes often use chia seeds for carbohydrate loading, a strategy that helps maximize glycogen storage in the muscles and liver to optimize endurance and increase exercise performance. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds improves exercise performance for 90-minute workouts in the same way as a sugar-laden sports drink, but without all the sugar. healthy. In the study, half of the athletes drank 100% Gatorade, while the others drank half Gatorade and half chia drink. In the end, the runners' times matched, but the half chia group consumed much less sugar.
Additionally, the protein in the 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 muscles to speed recovery time between workouts.
6. Build stronger bones
One of the biggest health benefits of chia seed is the ability to strengthen bone health and preserve bone density while reducing the risk of serious conditions like osteoporosis. This is because they are loaded with calcium and manganese, two minerals that are incredibly important for maintaining bone health.
With approximately 99 percent of the calcium in your body stored in your bones, calcium plays 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 affect bone resorption and decrease bone formation. Impressively, a single ounce of chia seeds contains 18 percent of the calcium you need in a day while meeting 30 percent of your daily manganese requirements to help build stronger bones.
7. Helps in weight loss
Adding chia seeds to your diet is a great way to enhance weight loss and help shed stubborn pounds. They are also among the top plant-based protein foods, which is why chia seed protein is excellent to consume for those trying to increase muscle mass, burn fat, and control hunger and appetite.
Studies show that increasing your protein intake can promote weight loss by curbing cravings and reducing caloric intake. A 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 a significant decrease in energy intake and appetite. Other research shows that following a high-protein diet rich in foods like chia seeds may lower levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for stimulating hunger.
8. Fight against 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 breast and cervical cancer cells. The researchers also found that it caused cell death of cancer cells without damaging normal healthy cells in the body. While more research is still needed to uncover the deeper implications of ALA in other cancers, this is a great discovery for women struggling with these increasingly common cancers. This discovery also makes chia seeds possible cancer-fighting foods.
9. Improves oral health
Because chia seeds are packed with calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, and zinc, it's no wonder promoting oral health is one of the main benefits of chia seeds. Calcium is the building block of your teeth that is necessary for maintaining oral health. Meanwhile, zinc prevents tartar by preventing plaque from mineralizing on 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 abundant in chia seeds.
Chia seed nutrition information
Take a look at the nutrition facts and it's easy to see why they are so good for you. Each serving contains a small amount of calories from chia seeds, but is rich in protein, fiber, manganese, phosphorus, and calcium. Additionally, chia seeds also contain omega-3 fatty acids and other important micronutrients and antioxidants that are also important for health. This explains why there are so many benefits from these seeds.
One ounce (approximately 28 grams) of chia seeds contains approximately:
137 calories 12.3 grams of carbohydrates 4.4 grams of protein 8.6 grams of fat 10.6 grams of dietary fiber 0.6 milligrams of manganese (30 percent DV) 265 milligrams of phosphorus (27 percent DV) 177 milligrams of calcium (18 percent DV) 1 milligram zinc (7 percent DV) 0.1 milligram copper (3 percent DV) 44.8 milligrams potassium (1 percent DV)
In addition to the nutrients listed above, they also contain several essential fatty acids; vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E and vitamin D; and minerals, such as iron, iodine, magnesium, niacin, and thiamine.
Chia seeds benefits in ayurveda and traditional medicine
Given the powerful nutritional value and long list of health benefits of chia seeds, it should come as no surprise that they have been used for their powerful healing properties in many branches of traditional medicine.
According to Ayurveda, they can help nourish the blood and promote regularity, thanks to their ability to absorb water in the gastrointestinal tract, forming a gel-like substance. They can also reduce inflammation, promote kidney health, and support proper hydration.
Chia seeds were also originally grown in Central and South America and used as a natural remedy to improve stamina and provide strength to warriors. In fact, these ancient civilizations believed that chia seeds possessed supernatural powers and attributed much of their resistance to the super seed.
- Chia seed is a type of seed that comes from a flowering species in the mint family of plants and is native to Mexico and Guatemala.
- Chia's nutritional profile features a good amount of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and important minerals like manganese, calcium, and phosphorus, which explains why the benefits of chia seeds are so abundant.
- So what are chia seeds good for? The benefits include greater weight loss, better blood sugar levels, better heart health, greater regularity, greater weight loss, and more.
- From chia seed pudding to protein bars and baked goods, there are plenty of chia seed recipe options you can try to include this nutrient-rich seed in your diet and reap the benefits.
- Soak, grind or enjoy in a nutritious and delicious way to increase the benefits of your diet and take advantage of the many benefits of chia seeds.