From ancient times, chia seeds have been considered a treasure for overall health and wellness. Their numerous health benefits have also captivated the modern health-conscious community. For their exceptional nutrient content, chia is now a part of the regular diet for thousands of people. In this article, we will explore the nutritional value chia seeds offer and their health benefits.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia is a small and nutritious edible seed originating from Central America. We get these seeds from the plant salvia, a plant of the mint family. Many studies have shown that chia has several health advantages. That’s why they were historically consumed for thousands of years by ancient civilizations.
These seeds have excellent liquid-absorbing capabilities. That’s why chia is usually consumed after soaking in water, milk, and other drinkable liquids. When adding to liquid, it forms a gel-like structure which is easy to consume.
Chia seeds also have versatile uses in cooking. If you eat chia seeds in the right way, they provide multiple health benefits naturally.
Chia Seeds Nutritional Facts
Chia seeds are incredibly easy to consume and inexpensive, but they are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. Check out the following chart to see the nutritional facts per serving at a glance.
|Serving size: 1 tablespoon or 15 grams|
|Calorie from fat||40|
|Total fat||4.5 grams (7%)|
|Total carbohydrate||7 grams (2%)|
|Dietary fiber||6 grams (24%)|
In this serving of chia seeds, there is no presence of Saturated fat, Trans fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Sugar, and vitamin A.
What Are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?
Consuming chia seeds regularly offers numerous health benefits to us, both in direct and indirect ways. Here we mention the key health advantages of chia seeds.
1. Boost Energy Levels
Chia seeds contain higher fiber and omega-3 content. They keep the blood sugar level stable and maintain a perfect metabolism. If you regularly eat a balanced diet, keep your body hydrated, sleep well, and do exercises, chia can magically help you to boost energy.
2. Promote Weight Loss
Overeating is one of the big reasons for gaining unwanted body weight. In that case, chia seeds may help you prevent such bad habits. It provides you with a feeling of fullness which effectively works against overeating.
When you soak chia seeds in water or milk, they absorb the liquid and become larger. The mixture satisfies your hunger for longer. That’s why health-conscious people consume chia to manage their overall calorie intake and avoid overeating.
3. Improve Brain Function
Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are particularly rich in Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), an essential substance for our brain health.
These seeds develop the cell membrane structure which boosts our neurotransmitter functions. Moreover, antioxidants and nutrients in chia, improve the overall cognitive health.
4. Support Bone and Tooth Health
These edible seeds are very supportive of our teeth and bone health. They are rich in essential minerals like calcium which improves bone density and structure. When consumed longer, chia may help you maintain strong bones and teeth. Not only that, they are useful for our overall skeletal health.
5. Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Chia makes digestion slower which absorbs carbohydrates gradually. Such slow nutrient release prevents rapid spikes in our blood sugar levels. The process also keeps the glucose levels stable.
As a result, the seed can affect insulin sensitivity positively to prevent type 2 diabetes. Chia influences our body to utilize glucose efficiently. So, consuming these seeds may help with blood sugar management safely.
6. Support Immune Function
These inexpensive seeds can dramatically strengthen our immune function. It is full of vitamins and minerals which maintain a healthy immunity. The antioxidants in chia can save our body cells from damage. Besides, chia seed benefits our overall immune system when consumed regularly.
7. Lower Blood Pressure
Chia can be a part of your healthy diet to manage blood pressure. For reducing the risk of developing several health conditions relevant to high blood pressure, its antioxidants work effectively.
The mineral content in this seed also plays a significant role in blood pressure regulation. For example, magnesium in chia relaxes blood vessels and helps you control high blood pressure.
8. Improve Heart Health
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in chia is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. The substance lowers triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels. Thus chia seeds help reduce the risk of heart disease. Their antioxidant properties protect our hearts from diseases and prevent conditions like oxidative stress.
9. Boost Metabolism
Chia seeds are excellent for people who are suffering from poor metabolism. They contain nutrients like fiber that help for a better metabolic rate. Chia also keeps the blood sugar level stable which vastly assists in energy production. Remember that chia seeds can help your metabolism, but they will not fix the poor metabolic rate overnight.
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10. Improve Skin Health
This nutritious seed contains antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that prevent skin damage. Thus, you can enjoy healthy skin for years. Chia seeds include minerals like zinc that work effectively in skin maintenance.
When consumed with liquid regularly, they keep your skin well-hydrated. In short, chia can be a nutrient-rich diet for overall skin health.
11. Aids Digestion
The seeds are helpful for our digestive health. They ensure regular bowel movements which prevent constipation. Its soluble fiber easily absorbs water and forms a gel-like texture. The mixture creates a healthy environment for your gut and keeps the digestion system active. That’s why many use chia for better digestion.
12. Aid in Detoxification
Chia has a powerful detoxifying effect on our bodies. They contain antioxidants and multiple nutrients that eliminate the body’s waste effectively. When you add water or other edible liquid to chia seeds, it creates a gelatinous effect. The formation can clean our bodies’ internal toxins naturally.
13. Promote Healthy Hair
Like our skin, the hair can also benefit from chia seeds. They feed the hair follicles which is crucial for hair growth. The seed is rich in minerals like zinc that maintain the scalp’s health.
Protein content in chia supports and rebuilds the hair structure. Overall, it is one of the top organic ingredients to maintain healthy hair for years.
14. Reduce Inflammation
Chia seeds can prevent inflammation as they have many anti-inflammatory properties. Moreover, its antioxidants protect our body cells from damage.
They also have anti-cancer properties that reduce cell-damaging free radicals. If you incorporate chia seeds into your regular diet, they can provide you with an anti-inflammatory effect for a long time.
15. Provide Essential Minerals
Chia seeds are an excellent source of essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese. So, consuming chia seeds can fulfill your mineral needs and repair damaged cells.
All these minerals are crucial to keep you energetic, balance your metabolic rate, and improve your overall body functions. Moreover, chia is effective in developing muscle and nerve functions.
16. Reduce The risk of Chronic Diseases
By combining several health advantages, chia seeds can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. For example, it improves heart health, and brain function and reduces inflammation.
Also, chia helps manage blood sugar levels to prevent the risk of diabetes. The combination of those positive effects in our bodies reduces the chance of chronic diseases.
17. Keep You Hydrated
Chia seeds absorb water and other liquids easily. When they are in contact with water or milk, they form a gel-like substance. Eating the mixture helps you retain moisture for longer.
As a result, you will feel refreshed and hydrated for day long. However, remember that you must consume chia with a sufficient amount of liquid. Otherwise, it may cause discomfort.
18. Provide Plant-Based Protein
Even many people don’t know that chia seeds are high in plant-based protein. It contains all the nine essential amino acids. So, the seed can be a good option for protein for vegetarians.
Consuming snacks made of chia seeds can also ensure sufficient protein intake in your body. Overall, it is rich in everything to keep your body functioning.
19. Enhance Exercise Performance
As discussed above, chia makes the energy release slower. The process assists in endurance during a workout. This seed’s anti-inflammatory effects reduce muscle soreness and boost recovery.
Based on the assessment, chia can be an excellent balanced pre-workout meal. Consuming it before a workout session will provide you with proper hydration and enhance your workout performance.
20. Aid in Muscle Recovery
For having high protein content, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals, chia is an ideal muscle recovery diet. When consumed after a workout, the seed begins a post-exercise repair process in your body.
Chia also relaxes your muscles which is crucial for overall recovery. So, everyone should include it in their post-workout meal.
21. Support Sision Health
The seed is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E which are beneficial for the eyes. Those substances in Chia protect our vision from stress. Besides, it prevents possible damage to the eyes caused by free radicals.
Chia’s omega-3s ensure the structural integrity of cell membranes in the eyes. Overall, these organic seeds are supportive of our retinal functions from many angles.
How Many Chia Seeds Can You Eat in a Day?
The dosage of chia seeds consumption actually depends on your physical condition. Some individuals may need to consume more, and others may need less.
However, 20 grams (1.5 tablespoon) of chia seeds twice a day is often recommended by experts for healthy individuals.
Over or low consumption of chia seeds may be ineffective. Besides, chia can cause side effects if you have any specific health issue. The safest way to determine the consumption amount of chia is to consult a healthcare professional.
Recommended Ways to Incorporate Chia Seeds into Your Diet
There are dozens of ways to consume chia seeds, preferred by individuals around the world. However, here we mention five common ways to consume these seeds.
This one is the easiest way to consume chia. It is simple to prepare and refreshing as well. Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to a glass of fresh water and wait until the seeds look like gel. Drinking chia seed water is an excellent way to keep our body hydrated. Also, these seeds provide dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and other nutrients.
Chia can also be added to various smoothies to enhance their nutrition and texture. Mixing chia seeds into your smoothie will add some extra dose of fiber, healthy fats, and protein. Besides, it will offer a more satisfying taste by thickening the smoothie with a creamier consistency.
Oatmeal or Cereal:
Adding chia seeds to the morning cereal or oatmeal is a healthy practice. These seeds absorb liquids, become larger, and enhance the chewy texture of your meal. Chia seeds also offer a feeling of fullness which is helpful for weight loss.
Making jam with chia is a wonderful way to consume those seeds, particularly for children. Combining chia seeds with mashed fruits or berries makes delicious jam which is rich in nutrients as well. When spread on toast or bread, they are quite healthy snacks to eat without much effort.
Chia in Soups:
Some people like to add chia seeds to hot soup to enhance their thickness and texture and make them healthier. Moreover, chia seeds can improve the soup’s flavor along with enriching its nutritional value. You may check this recipe.
Side Effects of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are generally safe to eat. But they can cause some side effects in case of over-consumption. The high fiber in chia seeds may cause bloating, gas, and stomach cramps if you eat dry chia seeds or consume them without sufficient liquids.
Insufficient liquid can also cause throat blockage when consuming these seeds. so, never use chia seeds without water.
You may also notice allergic reactions, low blood pressure, and digestive discomfort if you eat chia more than the recommended amount.
How to Store Chia Seeds without Ruining Their Nutrient
We can store chia seeds for both a short and long time. The storage process will be different depending on how long you want to store them.
Chia seeds have a longer shelf life. For short-term storage, put them into an airtight container and keep the pot in a cool and dry place. Make sure you have kept the container away from direct sunlight and wet surroundings.
For long-term storage, put these seeds into an airtight container and store them in a freezer. In this way, you can preserve these seeds for up to 6 months without spoiling nutritional content.
Finally, the benefits of these magical seeds are revealed. With minimal cost and effort, chia seeds can ensure your daily nutritional intake. From chia water to chia pudding, there are tons of ways to consume these healthy seeds. However, you need to be careful about overconsuming them as it can cause the opposite. If you have any concerns about whether they are compatible with your health, consult your doctor before adding chia seeds to your diet.