This post includes a list of all the amazing benefits of chia seeds you never knew they had. Also, few tips on adding them to your diet so that you have tasty yet healthy foods.
Chia seeds, aka Mexican chia or Salba chia, are the teeny tiny grey seeds you will find in your kitchen, most probably. And these days, chia seeds are really in the hype. But what is it really about those tiny seeds that are creating all the hype? Well, you will find the answer to this question in this article.
This article is a guide to all the exciting health benefits of chia seeds and tips on how adding chia seeds helps make your regular diet into nutritious foods.
1. What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds, scientifically known as the seeds of the desert plant Salvia Hispanica, belong to the mint family. These seeds have their history way back to Aztec and Mayan cultures in central or southern Mexico. Chia seeds are generally oval-shaped, grey with black and white spots.
These seeds are generally referred to as functional foods or superfoods in the mainstream marketing sphere because of their widely available nutritional value.
1.1. Functional food:
Functional foods offer health benefits other than their nutritional value, such as improving gut health, healthy lifestyle, lowering cholesterol, and promoting weight loss.
2. Why Are Chia Seeds in the Hype?
Chia seeds are so in the hype because of their medicinal applications and excellent sources of antioxidants, minerals, dietary fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, unsaturated fat, and vitamins. These tiny seeds have a lot to offer; that is why they have a reputation, and they sure live up to that.
Chia seeds provide sustainable energy; in fact, the word “chia” itself means strength in ancient Mayan. Since time immemorial, chia seeds have been utilized as a dietary staple. However, only recently has it been identified as a superfood.
3. 8 Exciting Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
3.1. Chia Seeds Improve Blood Sugar Levels
Maintaining blood sugar levels has been one of the major concerns of people these days since the rate of diabetes in people is increasing drastically. Moreover, diabetes is one such disease that has no permanent cure yet. So, diabetic patients are always looking for alternative ways.
And chia seeds do offer a way for that. Chia seeds are a very high source of fibre. Studies have shown that consuming a good amount of dietary fibre helps improve or reduce blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity or reduce insulin resistance and the risk of type-2 diabetes.
3.2. Chia Seeds Help Reduce Free Radicals
Free radicals are unstable atoms present in our bodies naturally. These compounds can damage cells causing ageing, oxidative stress and illness, if not regulated properly. So, it is important to keep the free radicals in check, and one way to do that is to eat chia seeds.
The antioxidants present in chia seeds help fight free radicals in the body. So, eating chia seeds and other foods rich in antioxidants might help reduce the risks of various associated health conditions such as heart diseases, types of cancer, and cognitive decline.
3.3. Chia Seeds Help Improve Bone Health
Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients, so don’t underestimate these tiny seeds. Chia seeds contain major nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and protein. And the calcium content present in chia seeds helps with bone health.
Animal studies over the years have successfully indicated that supplementation of chia seeds in the diet helps improve bone health and density.
3.4. Chia Seeds Help Reduce Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is a biological response of body tissues to pathogens or damaged cells. The physical conditions of inflammation result in swelling and pain, so we all know inflammation is not good for our bodies.
Chronic inflammation is one such condition brought on by a lack of exercise or unhealthy eating habits, which could cause chronic diseases like heart disease or cancer. So, a balanced diet is a must to avoid such risks, and chia seeds provide it.
Chia seeds are anti-inflammatory, which means they help fight inflammation. Moreover, the anti-oxidant caffeic acid found in chia seeds helps reduce inflammatory markers in the body. So, adding these seeds to your diet will be of help.
3.5. Chia Seeds Might Help With Body Weight
By now, you know that these seeds are rich in protein and fibre, so chia seeds are thought to help reduce body weight. Consuming protein-rich foods reduces appetite and leaves you feeling full and satisfied, which eventually leads you to snack less on unhealthy foods.
The fibre in whole chia seeds also helps provide the proper nutrition needed by your body, making them healthy food stores. These seeds are also rich in plant-based proteins, which have all the essential amino acids required by the body.
Many scientists believe that the soluble fibre in chia seeds absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach, slowing the absorption of food and increasing the feeling of fullness, thereby reducing food intake, which eventually helps one lose weight.
However, studies on chia seeds in terms of weight loss have provided mixed results so far, but it is believed that adding chia seeds to a weight loss diet may be beneficial.
3.6. Chia Seeds Might Improve Heart Health
Heart disease or cardiovascular health is also one of the major concerns in today’s time. Many factors can influence heart diseases, such as inflammation, high blood pressure, or extra body fat.
The fibre content in chia seeds helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases or sudden cardiac death.
Studies have shown that chia seeds can directly influence blood pressure levels. Moreover, the anti-0xidant quercetin found in chia seeds helps reduce the risk of developing heart diseases too.
3.7. Chia Seeds Are Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are super essential nutrients that we get from supplements that help maintain a healthy body. These fatty acids have various health benefits like fighting anxiety and depression, improving eye health, promoting brain health, and much more.
And just like flax seeds and fatty fish, chia seeds contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids too. And there aren’t many foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, so you know how you make your choice.
The omega-3s in chia seeds are mostly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These seeds can increase the blood levels of ALA too. So, chia seeds are an excellent choice to add to your diet for omega-related health conditions.
3.8. Chia Seeds Provide a Nutritional Boost
One of the major benefits of chia seeds is that they are easy to add to your diet. They mix well with any liquid, so they are easy to digest too. You can have them anyway you want, with dairy products, fresh fruit, or whole grains.
For human nutrition, these seeds are the best thing to add to your diet. But, do not eat dry chia seeds by themselves as it can cause choking hazards.
Well, now that you know the major benefits of chia seeds, let us move on to how to get the best of the benefits of chia seeds; that is the best way to eat chia seeds.
4. Best Ways to Eat Chia Seeds
There are various ways to eat chia seeds, except for dry ones, which can cause severe issues. Following are some of the best and tastiest ways to eat chia seeds:
4.1. Chia Pudding:
Chia pudding is a healthy alternative for those who are into desserts. This pudding is healthy, nutritious, and tasty. To make chia pudding, mix 1/4th cup of chia seeds with one cup of any milk you like (almond milk, soy milk, or dairy). Allow this mixture to sit for about 15 minutes in the refrigerator.
At last, you can add fresh fruits or nuts as per your wish.
4.2. Egg Replacer
You can replace the egg with chia seeds for baking purposes, and the process is quite simple. All you need to do is add one tablespoon of whole chia seeds or two tablespoons of ground chia seeds with three tbs of water and allow it to sit for as long as it takes to thicken.
You may add chia gel to baked goods, as it helps keep them moist.
4.3. Chia Sprouts
Chia sprouts are healthy and easy to grow. You need to lay chia seeds in a single layer in an unglazed clay dish spray water over the seeds from time to time and cover them with a glass dish. Place the dish in a sunny spot, and spray water every day until green sprouts appear.
Once you have the sprouts, you can use them to garnish sandwiches and salads.
4.4. Chia Water
This is one of the simplest ways to intake chia seeds. To make chia water, add 1/4 cup of chia seeds to 1 litre of water and let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
To add some flavour to this, you can squeeze a lime or orange.
4.5. Chia Cereal
Now, this could be an interesting alternative to your regular breakfast. Rather than having your usual cereal for breakfast, have chia cereal.
For this, you have to soak the seeds in milk overnight and then top it with nuts, cinnamon, or fruits of your choice. You can also add a few drops of vanilla extract and add some fresh bananas to it.
Chia seeds can be put into almost everything, whether whole grain food or snacks like pancakes, bars, and even jam. These seeds are mostly sprinkled on vegetables, rice dishes, or sauces.
So, you can have it any way you want to. These days chia smoothies and chia pudding are really in the hype, so if you are a fan of smoothies or pudding, you can try out these recipes.
But it is best to know how many grams of chia seeds are good to consume in a day. So let us check that.
5. How Many Chia Seeds to Consume in a Day?
If you consume too many chia seeds, the benefits of chia seeds might have a reverse effect on you because too much of anything is never good. For adults, on average, 19-38 grams of fibre is best advised. And just about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds over 11 grams of fibre so that you can do the maths.
It is best recommended to consume 1.5 teaspoons of chia seeds in a day for both males and females and get the rest of the fibre from other sources.
6. Final Words
Well, I hope by now you know why chia seeds are always in the hype. It is because of the amazing benefits of chia seeds. We have put together almost all the major benefits of chia seeds. However, if you know anything else, feel free to share it with us.
We have already mentioned that chia seeds are like a storehouse for nutrients because these tiny seeds are loaded with various nutrients. Besides fibre, protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients, chia seeds also contain trace minerals like copper and zinc.
These trace minerals present in chia seeds have beneficial impacts on our bodies too. So, nothing goes in vain. Mainly the fibre present in these seeds is of great value, as the soluble fibre is the substance responsible for the texture of moistened chia seeds.
So, make sure to add these teeny tiny seeds to your diet for a healthy lifestyle and improve your everyday life. Let us know your views on this article via the comment section below.
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7. Frequently Asked Questions
7.1. How Much Chia Seeds Should You Eat a Day?
A common dosage recommendation is 0.7 ounces (20 grams or about 1.5 tablespoons) of chia seeds twice per day.
7.2. What Happens if I Eat Chia Seeds Everyday?
Because of their high fibre content, eating too many chia seeds may cause constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, and gas. Chia seeds may also cause flare-ups with inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease. Potential Choking Hazard. Dry chia seeds absorb water, which causes them to swell up and become gelatinous.
7.3. Can Chia Seeds Reduce Belly Fat?
Yes, it can reduce belly fat. Using a variety of nutritional compounds, chia seeds can help you lose belly fat and belly fat and have other health benefits. It is easy to use and can be used in many ways. It is best consumed overnight soaked in liquid or as chia seed juice.