September 19, 2021: Let’s be honest. We keep searching on Internet foods that can reduce weight. And one such food that are high in fibre, which help people to feel full for longer but are usually lower in calories are chia seeds. Among the many benefits of chia seeds are that they help in weight loss.
What are chia seeds?
For those who are unaware about chia seeds or know about them in some other languages but cannot place them in English, Chia seeds are the edible seeds of Salvia hispanica, a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae) native to central and southern Mexico, or of the related Salvia columbariae of the southwestern United States and Mexico.
These seeds are oval and grey with black and white spots, having a diameter around 2 millimetres. Interestingly these seeds are hygroscopic, as they can absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked and developing a mucilaginous coating that gives chia-based foods and beverages a distinctive gel texture.
Some evidence that was collected on chia seeds proves the crop was widely cultivated by the Aztecs in pre-Columbian times and was a staple food for Mesoamerican cultures. Chia seeds are cultivated on a small scale in their ancestral homeland of central Mexico and Guatemala and commercially throughout Central and South America.
Know the benefits of chia seeds
Well, if you knew the host of health benefits of chia seeds furnish in your body, you’ll certainly go for a regular consumption of the same.
So, unveiling the magic let’s skim across 10 amazing health wonders that chia seeds perform on the human body!
Chia seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica, which is related to the mint. Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day.
The Chia seeds were prized for their ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.” Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, chia seeds have come to be recognized as a modern-day superfood only recently.
Popularity sky high:
The recent few years have witnessed a sharp rise in the popularity of Chia seeds.
If the size of the Chia seeds looks insignificant in matters of goodness or benefit, let’s take a composition exploration tour! A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains (1):
Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.
Along with these, the Chia seeds contain a decent amount of zinc,
vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2. This is particularly impressive considering that this is just a single ounce, equalling 28 grams or about two tablespoons. This small amount supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate.
For the fitness freaks this one is a hearty revelation. Interestingly, if you subtract the fiber — most of which doesn’t end up as usable calories for your body — chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce (28 grams). The factor makes them one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie.
Now if you host worries about the method of their production, let’s tell you that chia seeds are a whole-grain food, usually grown organically. Plus, they’re non-GMO and naturally free of gluten.
Powerhouses of antioxidants:
Chia seeds are high in antioxidant content.
These antioxidants protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid. Though the benefits of antioxidant supplements are debated, researchers agree that getting antioxidants from foods can have positive health effects.
What do these antioxidantsachieve you ask? Antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.
Almost all the carbs in them are fiber
One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds has 12 grams of carbs. However, 11 of those grams are fiber, which your body doesn’t digest.
Its a well known fact for the nutritionists and dieticians that fiber neither raises blood sugar nor requires insulin to be disposed of. Though it belongs to the carbohydrate family, its health effects are drastically different from those of digestible carbs like starch and sugar.
The digestible carb content is only one gram per ounce (28 grams), which is very low. This makes chia a low-carb friendly food. Owing to its high soluble fiber content, chia seeds can absorb up to 10–12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach.
The advantage? This factor should result in an increase in fullness, slow absorption of your food and help you automatically eat fewer calories.
Fiber also feeds the friendly bacteria in your intestine, which is important — keeping your gut flora well fed is absolutely crucial for health. Chia seeds are 40% fiber by weight, making them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
Chia seeds are high in quality protein
Chia seeds contain a decent amount of protein. By weight, they’re about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants.
They also have a good balance of essential amino acids, so your body should be able to make use of their protein content (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Protein has various health benefits and is by far the most weight loss friendly dietary nutrient.
A high protein intake lowers appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50% (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Chia seeds really are an excellent protein source — especially for people who eat little or no animal products.
Benefits of Chia seeds: Weight loss
Now this is a golden point that highlights itself out for millions of readers. It is according to the belief if several health experts, that chia seeds can aid weight loss.
Its soluble fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in your stomach, which should increase fullness and slow the absorption of food. Several studies have examined the soluble fiber glucomannan, which works in a similar way, showing that it can lead to weight loss.
Have an unending urge to eat stuff? Well, you’ve found a saviour in Chia seeds. The protein in chia seeds could help reduce appetite and food intake.
In fact, one study found that eating chia seeds for breakfast increased satiety and reduced food intake in the short-term. However, studies examining the effectiveness of chia seeds for weight loss have provided rather disappointing results.
In a study in 90 overweight people, 50 grams of chia seeds per day for 12 weeks had no effect on body weight or health markers.
In another 10-week study in 62 women, chia seeds had no effect on body weight but did increase the amount of omega-3 fat in the blood (19Trusted Source).
In contrast, a 6-month study in obese people with type 2 diabetes on a reduced-calorie diet found that eating chia seeds daily caused significantly greater weight loss than a placebo (20Trusted Source).
Though adding chia seeds to your diet is unlikely to cause weight loss on its own, many experts believe they can be a useful addition to a weight loss diet. A weight loss diet is about more than just single foods. The entire diet counts, as well as other lifestyle behaviors like sleep and exercise. Chia seeds when added as a supplement to a real-food based diet and a healthy lifestyle, chia seeds may definitely help promote weight loss.
Benefits of chia seeds: Health matters
From weight loss, reducing the risk of heart disease, blood sugar to chronic inflammation, there are a host of health benefits of chia seeds
High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Distant kin of flaxseeds, Chia seeds are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. Proportionally, chia seeds contain more omega-3s than salmon, gram for gram. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the omega-3s in them are mostly ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is not as beneficial as you may think.
ALA needs to be converted into the active forms eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) before your body can use it. Unfortunately, humans are inefficient at converting ALA into these active forms.
Thus, plant omega-3s tend to be vastly inferior to animal sources like fish oil.
Studies have shown that chia seeds — especially if they’re milled — can increase blood levels of ALA and EPA but not DHA. Now that can be a problem. Because they don’t supply any DHA, which is the most important omega-3 fat, most experts consider chia seeds a lower-quality omega-3 source.
To get the DHA your body and brain needs, either eat fatty fish regularly or take fish oil or — if you are vegan or vegetarian — a plant-sourced DHA supplement.
May lower your risk of heart disease
Now that we have listed some amazing pros of chia seeds being high in fiber, protein and omega-3s, they may reduce your risk of heart disease. Their benefits have been examined in several studies, but the results have been inconclusive.
Rat studies have shown that chia seeds can lower certain risk factors, including triglycerides, inflammation, insulin resistance and belly fat. They may also raise “good “ HDL cholesterol.
However, one human study did not detect any improvements in risk factors. However, a few studies show that chia seeds significantly reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension, which is a strong risk factor for heart disease.
Overall, it’s possible that chia seeds may benefit heart health, but they probably won’t have a major effect unless accompanied by other beneficial lifestyle and dietary changes.
May reduce blood sugar levels
Doctors agree that high fasting blood sugar levels are a typical symptom of untreated type 2 diabetes.
Consistently high fasting blood sugar levels are associated with an increased risk of several chronic diseases, including heart diseases.
While, temporary spikes in blood sugar levels after meals may also have adverse health effects when they’re excessively high on a regular basis.
Acording to some animal studies conducted on the effect of Chia seeds, it was found that chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, stabilizing blood sugar levels after meals.
A few human studies support this by showing that eating bread that contains chia seeds lowers the post-meal rise in blood sugar compared to bread that doesn’t include any chia (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
May aid in reducing chronic inflammation:
When you bruise, inflammation is your body’s normal response to infection or injury. Red and swollen skin is a typical example.
While it is said that inflammation helps your body heal and fight off bacteria, viruses and other infectious agents, it can sometimes cause harm.
It is a matter of worry when chronic inflammation that happens is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation often doesn’t have any visible signs, but can be assessed by measuring inflammatory markers in your blood.
Various unhealthy lifestyle habits increase your risk of chronic inflammation, including smoking, lack of exercise or a poor diet. On the other hand, certain healthy foods may reduce the blood levels of inflammatory markers.
One 3-month study in 20 people with diabetes showed that eating 37 grams of chia seeds daily reduced the inflammatory marker hs-CRP by 40%. In contrast, those who got wheat bran didn’t experience a significant benefit.
Other studies on chia seeds have failed to detect any significant effects on inflammatory markers.