The Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are related to mint and are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia hispanica. Keep in mind, chia seeds don’t taste anything like mint but instead have a super mild, slightly (very slightly) nutty flavor. They are very versatile and can be used in savory or sweet dishes. Or on their own.
But the real beauty of chia seeds is the amount of fiber, protein, and magnesium it provides! Oh yes, Chia Seeds are loaded with fiber! In the United States, people have a hard time getting in enough fiber and chia seeds are a low-calorie way to help meet their requirements. Just one ounce of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber! Incredible.
One of the coolest things about chia seeds are the ability to provide sustainable energy. A big reason why many people choose chia seeds as part of their morning breakfast!
Let’s get into the benefits.
Chia Seed Benefits
Chia Seeds May Help With Blood Sugar Levels
There have been studies, albeit animal studies, that shown that chia seeds might have the ability to help with blood sugar control- especially after meals. There are also some human studies that support the theory by demonstrating that when a person eats bread that contains a certain amount of chia seeds, the blood sugar after the meal is often lower than if they ate a piece of bread that had absolutely no chia seeds in it. (Source + Source + Source)
This is a big reason why many health experts are in favor of incorporating chia seeds into meals- which by the way is so easy to do. At the end of this article we will go over ways to incorporate them.
Chia Seeds May Possibly Help With Inflammation
It seems like everyone these days is battling some kind of inflammation. The key is getting in foods that can help lower inflammation. Or at least space the inflamed episodes out. Chia seeds might be able to help.
There is an inflammatory marker called hs-CRP. This marker was measured in a 3 month scientific study where 20 people who had diabetes showed that when they ate 37 grams of chia seeds in a day, their hs-CRP inflammatory marker was reduced by 40%. The people in the study who instead ate wheat bran did not experience this benefit. Interesting right?
However, as it stands, more research is needed on the ability of chia seeds to reduce inflammation.
Chia Seeds May Help Strengthen Bones
So often we talk about nutrients that strengthen skin, gut, the brain, etc… rarely are we talking about bones until it’s too late! Chia seeds have some powerful nutrients that can help our skeletal system.
Four of the nutrients in Chia seeds that cater to this? Phosphorous, calcium, protein and magnesium. Especially calcium!
Chia seeds have been said to be a great alternative to those who do not consume dairy.
The phosphorus is also incredibly important as it helps to form cellular structures and also works in tandem with calcium to keep bones healthy.
Chia Seeds Are Great For The Heart
There are certain things that can truly help you reduce the risk of heart problems in the future- three of those being Omega 3s, fiber, and protein-- all great for the heart.
Results of studies are inconclusive, however they skew towards the positive side of “yes chia seeds can potentially help the heart.”
There are a few studies where chia seeds reduced (significantly!) blood pressure in patients who had hypertension. (Source)
Some other rat studies have proven that chia seeds can lower heart disease risk factors, which includes inflammation markers and triglycerides as well as fat around the belly. Chia seeds were shown to raise good HDL cholesterol. (Source)
Of course, to really improve heart health, you would possibly need lifestyle changes in addition to specific nutrients.
Chia Seeds Are High in Omega 3s, Fiber, and Protein
Many people in America are deficient in all three. Or at least deficient in one, likely two! One of the biggest star benefits of chia seeds is that you get so much Omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein in one single serving! Many foods only cover one.
One thing that is great about both fiber and protein is it can really satiate your appetite and help you feel fuller longer. This won’t necessarily help with weight loss (it can- there are studies on that) but it can help with things like increasing the amount of Omega 3s in the blood.
One study that did talk about weight loss was an interesting one. It was a six month study where people who were obsese and had type 2 diabetes went on a reduced calorie diet and they found that those who incorporated chia seeds had a whole lot more weight loss than the group who did not eat chia seeds aka the placebo group. (Source) What really helped was the soluble fiber and the amount of protein.
A good reason why your body can use a lot of the protein in chia seeds is because it is also packed with so many essential amino acids.
When it comes to Omega 3s, there are three different kinds. EPA, ALA, and DHA. One serving can help increase the amount of EPAs and ALAs in the body. This is great but make sure to supplement with DHA as well. (Source)
Chia Seeds are loaded with antioxidants
One of our favorite reasons we love chia seeds is because they are so full of antioxidants- which go after free radicals in the body. Antioxidants also have a positive effect on aging. (Source)
Benefits of antioxidants, well, there are a lot of opinions on this for what exactly they can do (besides go after free radicals) but studies have shown that incorporating more antioxidants into your diet can have a positive effect on the body.
How To Use Chia Seeds
Incorporating Chia Seeds Into Your Everyday Routine
Chia seeds are incredibly versatile and you will quickly see how they can be used in both savory and sweet dishes.
Some ways to incorporate them:
-As a chia seed pudding
-Used in a bread recipe
-As a salad topper
-Mixed into a smoothie
-Mixed into any pastry or baking
-Used in a homemade jam
-Mixed into casserole dishes
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