Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the planet. Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the Salvia Hispanica plant. This plant is native to South America. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and brain. Here are 11 health benefits of chia seeds that are supported by human studies.
- Chia Seeds Deliver a Massive Amount of Nutrients with Very Few Calories. Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients. An ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:
Fiber: 11 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s)
Calcium: 18% of the RDA
Manganese: 30% of the RDA
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
- Chia Seeds Are Loaded with Antioxidants to help protect the sensitive fats in the from going rancid. Although antioxidant supplements are not very effective, getting antioxidants from foods can have positive effects on health. Most importantly, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.
- Almost All the Carbs in Them Are Fiber. Because of this, they have the ability to absorb about 10 more times than their weight in water. Theoretically, this should increase fullness, slow absorption of your food and help you eat fewer calories.
- Chia Seeds Are High in Quality Protein. Protein is the most weight loss friendly macronutrient and can drastically reduce appetite and cravings. Chia seeds really are an excellent protein source, especially for people who eat little or no animal products.
- Due to The High Fiber and Protein Content, Chia Seeds Should be Able to Help You Lose Weight. The fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach, which should increase fullness and slow the absorption of food. Also, the protein in chia seeds could help to reduce appetite and food intake.
- Chia Seeds Are High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Like flax seeds, chia seeds are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram. Chia seeds are very high in the Omega-3 fatty acid ALA. However, humans are not good at converting this into DHA, the most important Omega-3 fatty acid. ALA needs to converted into the “active” forms, EPA and DHA, before it can be used by the body. Unfortunately, humans are inefficient at converting ALA into the active forms. Therefore, plant Omega-3s tend to be vastly inferior to animal sources like fish.
- Chia Seeds May Improve Certain Blood Markers, Which Should Lower the Risk of Heart Disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Given that chia seeds are high in fiber, protein and Omega-3s, they should be able to improve metabolic health. This has been tested in several studies, but the results have been inconclusive. Overall, it’s possible for chia seeds to improve these risk factors, but probably won’t have a major effect unless followed by other beneficial changes in the diet.
- They Are High in Many Important Bone Nutrients. Chia seeds are high in several nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein, that are important for bone health. Chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy.
- Chia Seeds Can Cause Major Improvements in Type 2 Diabetics. A study in type 2 diabetics showed that chia seeds can significantly lower blood pressure and a marker for inflammation.
- Chia Seeds Can Improve Exercise Performance as Much as a Sports Drink. According to a study, chia seeds can help athletes “carb load” for endurance events, while increasing their intake of nutrients and decreasing their intake of sugar.
- Chia Seeds Are Easy to Incorporate into Your Diet. This last one is not a health benefit, but important nonetheless. Chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet. The seeds themselves taste rather bland, so you can add them to pretty much anything.
Gunnars, Kris. “11 Proven Health Benefits of Chia Seeds.” Healthline, Healthline Media, www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds.