12 Powerful Health Benefits of Chia Seeds & Side Effects

health benefits of chia seeds

Chia Seeds are one of the healthiest foods on the planet, packed with nutrients and benefits for your body and brain.

The reason chia seeds benefits are so beneficial is due to the fact that it contains vitamins, fiber, minerals, omega-3 fats, and protein.

Where does chia seeds come from?

Chia Seeds are native to central and southern Mexico, as well as Guatemala.

An interesting fact is chia seeds were first cultivated by the Aztecs and were sometimes used as a form of valuable currency.

‘Chia’ is an annual herb growing up to 1.75 meters or 5.7 feet tall, with opposite leaves that are 4–8 cm long and 3–5 cm wide.

Its flowers are purple or white and are produced in numerous clusters in a spike at the end of each its stems.

chia seeds

How much chia seeds should you eat a day?

Adults can eat up to 15 to 20 grams (approximately two to three tablespoons) of chia seeds, whole or ground, per day. This will provide the daily requirement for omega-3s.

Children and teens from ages 10 to 18 can eat up to 10 grams of chia seeds per day. Children under 10 should not eat more than a tablespoon of chia seeds.

What is the use of chia seeds? 

The use of chia seeds is many, primarily to benefit your body and mind by providing nutrients and an array of other health benefits.

Chia seeds are grown commercially for its seeds, which are foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

In fact, chia seeds yield 25–30% extractable oil, including alpha-linolenic acid and many other vitamins and minerals.

Below is a quick list of Chia Seeds nutrients such as:

  • Protein (4.4g- 9% RDV)
  • Fiber (11g-42% of daily recommended value)
  • Omega-3 (4900mg)
  • Omega-6 (1700mg)
  • Manganese (6mg)
  • Calcium (77mg)
  • Magnesium (34mg)
  • Zinc (1.0mg)
  • Phosphorus (265mg)
  • Copper (0.1mg)
  • Vitamin B3
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin B1 and B2

health benefits of chia seeds

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Chia Seeds Nutrition

The list of chia seeds nutrition also extends itself with essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic, linolenic acid, strontium, Vitamins A, B, E, D, mucin, sulfur, iron, iodine, niacin, thiamine, as well as a rich source of antioxidants.

Chia seeds have become one of the most popular superfoods within the health community, and have become a staple of good nutrition.

Interestingly in 2009, the European Union approved chia seeds nutrition as a novel food, allowing chia seeds to become 5% of a bread product’s total matter.

A serving of 100-gram of chia seeds nutrition is a rich source of the B vitamins, thiamine, and niacin, and a good source of the B vitamins riboflavin and folate on a daily basis.

The same amount of chia seeds consumed on a daily basis is also a rich source of dietary minerals, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

Chia seeds nutrition can be used in many ways, it may be added to other foods as a topping or put into smoothies, breakfast cereals, energy bars, granola bars, yogurt, tortillas, and served on bread as well.

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

The health benefits of chia seeds have received enough attention that studies are currently taking place, with more research planned for the future. This will help solidify as well as expand on the list of benefits I listed below.

I will continue to upload more relevant and up to date research as they are published.

Chia Seeds for Digestion

Chia seeds are super rich in fiber content, which provides nearly 11 grams per ounce, making it great for our digestion.

One serving of chia seeds can provide the recommended fiber intake for the day, according to the American Dietetic Association.

Chia seeds fiber levels can be essential for your body’s ability to balance and maintain its insulin levels.

In fact, according to the National Institute of Health, chia seeds can be a natural blood sugar balancer, since chia contains higher levels of fiber and good fat content.

Being high in dietary fiber, chia seeds help promote bowel regularity and healthy stool movement through the digestive tract.

The rich fiber content in chia seeds also helps people feel full increasing natural satiety.

The reason for a full feeling is because chia seeds absorb a considerable amount of water and immediately expands in the stomach when eaten. This expansion plays a considerable part in maintaining fullness.

This is one of the explanations why clinical researchers have proven chia seeds to curb hunger and suppresses appetite, helping lead to weight loss.

Chia seeds can also form to create a gel like substance within the stomach, this gel substance has shown to be an effective pre biotic, ultimately helping the growth of probiotics within the gut.

Chia Seeds Antioxidant

Chia seeds have a good source of antioxidants that can help boost the central nervous system as well as immunity levels.

Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals throughout the entire body.

The antioxidant levels in chia seeds also fight aging and cancer throughout the body.

The high antioxidant profile of chia seeds also helps maintain a long shelf life. In fact, chia seeds are known to last almost two years without refrigeration, not saying that is what you should do!

The reason for the high levels of antioxidants in chia seeds is due to it ability in protecting delicate fats within the seeds.

This process of ensuring its own seeds from going rancid has natural benefits for our bodies.

In fact, antioxidants from natural sources such as chia seeds are far greater sources of antioxidants than non-natural antioxidant products.

health benefits of chia seeds

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Chia Seeds High Protein

Chia seeds contain over 14% protein making it one of the highest protein levels of any plant.

The seeds also contain high levels of amino acids, which help apply the use and benefit of its protein within our bodies.

Protein is an essential part of any healthy diet, especially for those who want to build muscle and loose weight.

Chia seeds pack powerful levels of antioxidant, which helps replace some of the essential nutrients and minerals that are lost when exercising.

They’re high in essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, iron and niacin, which make it great for any endurance athletes at any levels.

One of the best characteristics and profiles of chia seeds is that it can absorb up to 10x its own weight in water.

The absorption levels of the seeds help boost fullness as well as its ability to provide vital nutrients and minerals.

Not only do you get full but you also absorb nutrients that can help further push you to your limits, ultimately helping in any weight loss or muscle building plan.

Because of this, chia seeds can prolong hydration and improve nutrient absorption of electrolytes, helping improve overall performance.

Chia seeds also slow digestion that plays a role in satiety levels, which also reduces sugar cravings.

Chia seeds are also high in zinc, which increases the body’s leptin levels.

Leptin is a key hormone that helps regulate your body’s appetite, how your body spends energy and regulates your entire body’s energy levels.

It also improves stamina and endurance, ultimately making chia seeds a great source of nutrition if you are looking to get in shape.

Chia Seeds for Heart Health

Chia seeds have strong anti-inflammatory capabilities that help reverse inflammation throughout the body, evidently beneficial for the heart most importantly.

Chia seeds ability to reverse inflammation helps in regulating cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure. Ultimately making it extremely beneficial to consume for your heart and overall health.

The seeds ability to reverse oxidative stress can help lower the development of atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body that is vital for healthy heart health.

In fact, studies have shown that chia seeds have decreased the chances of coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack, hormonal/endocrine disorders, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, stroke, and vasodilatation just to name a few.

chia seed drink

Chia seeds contain high levels of linoleic, a fatty acid that helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

For such a tiny seed, chia is quite high in healthy fats boasting more Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon and many other types of fish.

Omega-3’s has the ability to work to protect the heart by lowering blood pressure as well as bad cholesterol, and inflammation levels.

Inflammation can put a strain on blood vessels and cause heart disease, as well as plaque buildup.

The high levels of antioxidants also help the blood circulation throughout the body, aiding and lessening the stress and toll on the heart, especially for those who have diabetes or are obese.

Chia Seeds for Diabetes

Chia seeds are and happen to be rich in alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, making it great for diabetes.

Researchers found two processes in which chia seeds can be essential in curing diabetes.

The first process found out how chia seeds can help prevent metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia, which is excessive fat in the blood stream.

The second process found out how insulin builds resistance, which are two factors in the development of diabetes.

Scientists conducted two studies at the same time and uncovered some profound data.

The results were astounding and found that during the first examination, eating chia seeds daily completely prevented the onset of dyslipidemia and insulin resistance.

In fact, the blood levels of tested subjects didn’t change at all while having over 65% of their diet comprised of sugar. This was on going for 3 weeks on a clinical research case.

The researchers also discovered that the dietary addition of chia seeds also reduced visceral adipose tissue that affects the metabolism of the body and is a component of obesity and diabetes.

Chia seeds, in fact, helped reduce overall adipose tissue within the body, which makes it an ultimate weight loss benefit when trying to become healthy.

Chia Seeds for Anti-aging and Skin

Chia seeds have shown to contain effective levels of antioxidants that can help decrease free radicals.

Free radicals have been linked to many complications and issue such as cancer, aging, and skin issues.

The strong antioxidant levels fight off free radicals throughout the body as well as providing essential nutrients and vitamins to aid in healthy skin, nails, and hair.

In fact, chia seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals, as well as antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that are vitally essential for the hair, skin, and nails.

More over new research from Mexico and South America have shown that chia seeds had a total natural phenolic (antioxidants) concentration nearly two times higher than previously reported by many scientists.

This new level of antioxidants has shown in clinical research to stop and decrease up to 70% of free radical activity.

This decrease in free radicals is essential for the health and youth of the skin, making it prominent in new anti-aging compounds.

In essence what these studies have done is proving that chia seeds are one of nature’s riches antioxidants sources available.

Chia seeds antioxidants speed up the skin’s repair systems and prevent further damage, as well as damage from the sun and UV damage.

Taking chia seeds can also help further prevent premature skin aging due to its ability in decreasing inflammation as well as free radical damage.

health benefits of chia seeds

Also read: Symptoms of Zinc Deficiency

Chia Seeds Helps Weight Loss

Many researchers and health experts who looked into chia seeds ability in helping weight loss ultimately believe that chia seeds can actually help with weight loss.

The fiber contents of chia seeds absorb large amounts of water and expand in the stomach, which helps to increase satiety levels and slow the absorption of food while aiding in the digestive process.

There have been several studies on glucomannan, a fiber that works in a similar way, showing that it can lead to weight loss.

The fiber levels not only increases fullness but it also helps provide the body with vital nutrients that can help boost metabolism.

The high levels of protein in chia seeds could help to reduce appetite and food intake if eating too often or too much is a problem for you.

Although studies haven’t clearly indicated a direct link of weight loss to chia seeds, it is essential to understand that the other strong compounds of chia seeds are ultimately beneficial in overall weight loss.

In a study on 90 overweight people, 50 grams of chia seeds per day for 12 weeks had positive effects on weight loss if coupled with an effective workout routine and overall healthy diet.

Regardless of intake of Chia seeds or not, weight loss is a combination of effort and diet organized around a vital nutritional plan that sees an overall improvement in fat content throughout your body.

Although just adding chia seeds to your diet is unlikely to affect your weight, I personally believe that chia seeds can be a useful addition to any weight loss journey or overall health and lifestyle improvement.

A weight loss diet is about more than just adding or subtracting single foods, it’s about an overall mission to find a healthy balance of work life, stress levels, and food intake.

There are many factors seldom overlooked that can impact weight loss such as our stress levels an occupation.

The entire diet counts, as well as other lifestyle behaviors like sleep and exercise, are completely vital to loosing weight and keeping the weight off.

When combined with a real food based diet and a healthy lifestyle, you will definitely see how chia seeds could help with weight loss.

Chia Seeds Builds Stronger Bones

Bone health is a crucial element that we usually take for granted. The implications of good bone health can effect are overall health and ability to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

In fact, research shows that one-ounce of chia seeds has over 18% of the recommended daily amount of calcium.

For those who cant drink or consume milk and dairy due to lactose intolerance, or for personal reasons, can enjoy calcium benefits when they consume chia seeds.

Calcium is fundamental in bone health and helps maintain bone strength and mass, as well as produce a strong foundation to build a healthy lifestyle with.

Chia also contains boron, which is another essential nutrient for bone health.

Boron helps metabolize calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for healthy growth of bone matrix, bones, and muscles.

These essential compounds coupled with chia seeds ability of providing absorption can develop good bone health as well as decrease the chances arthritis and other complication that can stem from weak bones.

health benefits of chia seeds

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Chia Seeds Promote Energy and Endurance

As mentioned above in this article chia seeds can be an effective tool for endurance athletes as well as combat athletes such as boxers.

In fact, the Mayans and Aztecs were the first to originally use chia seeds for their energy and endurance benefits.

They were known as and called “Indian Running Food” and warriors and athletes often consumed a chia seed gel prior to their events to maintain energy and stamina.

For the benefits of endurance and energy chia seeds have started becoming a staple in many ironman athletes and competitors.

In fact one study found that a chia gel was as effective or even more effective as energy drinks for maintaining athletic performance.

What makes Chia seeds even more effective in performance is that chia seeds can be easily added to many foods and drinks.

They can be used whole or ground and can even serve as an egg substitute in recipes since chia seeds can be turned into a form of gel substance.

The great added benefit of chia seeds unlike some “super foods” like spirulina is that chia seeds don’t have a strong flavor and can be easily used in recipes and added to smoothies without affecting flavor.

Give chia seeds a try in your diet and let us know how you feel!

Chia Seeds in Water

Most sources recommend soaking chia seeds for the most benefit since not soaking them can result in the chia seeds soaking up your water content.

In fact since chia seeds are hydrophilic, they will attract water in the body if not soaked or added to liquid prior to consuming the seeds.

Chia seeds in water are a better formula in using chia seeds, and if not soaked in water then drinking lots of liquids is essential.

Overall consuming chia seeds dry have shown to cause choking in some cases, so soaking chia seeds in water can be a better form of consumption.

How to eat Chia Seeds

There are many ways in how to eat chia seeds. Chia seeds are very versatile and can be added to pretty much everything.

In fact you can easily make chia pudding, which happens to be one of the most popular ways to eat the seeds.

You can start by mixing a quarter-cup of the seeds in one cup of liquid almond milk and fruit juice are popular choices that you like instead.

Once the seeds have gelled up and the mixture is no longer watery, the “pudding” is ready to eat; you can repeat this process in how to eat chia seeds with any other form of pudding as well.

This process can take as little as 15 minutes, but due to the antioxidant levels of chia seeds the chia seeds pudding keeps well in the fridge for several days.

Since chia doesn’t have a ton of flavor on its own, feel free to add spices, chopped fruit, nuts, and any other toppings you’d like.

Dry chia seeds can also be added whole or ground to smoothies and juices, mixed into yogurt or oatmeal, or sprinkled on top of a salad.

Chia seeds can also be added to cereals and oatmeal, the seeds will gain a little size when added to oatmeal but will provide an extra layer of crunch and pop.

health benefits of chia seeds

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Chia Seeds Side Effects

Occasionally some people may have experienced stomach discomfort when consuming chia seeds especially in large amounts due to the high fiber content.

As with any food, eating in moderation and always drink plenty of water can ease and stem of unwanted side effects.

Overall there are very few side effects attributed to or associated with chia seeds. Some cases of side effects after prolonged research showed to carry biases, but overall side effects of chia seeds showed limited results.

Where to Buy Chia Seeds?

Thanks to their recent surge in popularity, you can find chia seeds at many regular grocery stores and most health food stores as well.

You can also find chia seeds online, but make sure to check who you are purchasing the chia seeds from.

Key Takeaways

Chia Seeds can play a vital role in helping with many issues or goals such as weight loss.

The added benefits of chia seeds makes in ultimately one of the strongest Power Foods available on the planet.

The tools chia seeds contains can be effectively used in many different forms and goals, whether its is for heart health, or weight loss, chia seeds can be a great natural source of healthy elements that we all need in our lives.

Have you used chia seeds before? What for? And what was your result?

 

Leave a comment below, I would love to hear about your experiences with chia seeds.

 

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