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15 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds, According to Science

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Jen Miller and Jen Reviews.

By Jen Miller

Chia seeds are a versatile superfood. They are rich in vitamins and minerals the support good health in many ways. These low calorie, high nutrient grains of goodness are important for both the body and the brain. In this review, we’ll explain 15 amazing health benefits of chia seeds. It’s easier than ever to add this superfood to your diet!

1. Chia Seeds are nutrient-rich yet low calorie

Chia seeds are rich in nutrition but low in calories, making them superior for anyone looking to cut calories but still keep nutritional value high.

With slightly more than a hundred calories per serving, these healthful little seeds pack quite a nutritional punch for their calorie count.

Chia seeds are high in fiber, antioxidants, protein, and low in carbs and saturated fat.

Chia is high in omega-3 fatty acids (the same good fat found in foods like salmon and avocados), making them a great food for anyone looking to get more Omega-3s but doesn’t like seafood.

They’re also perfect for low-carb diets, and won’t put you over your daily calorie limit. (1)

The nutritional profile of Chia seeds (per one ounce serving) breaks down like this: (2)

  • 138 calories
  • 9 grams of fat
    • 0.9 grams of saturated fat
    • 7 grams of polyunsaturated fat
    • 0.7 grams of monounsaturated fat
    • 0 grams of trans fat
  • 0 grams of cholesterol
  • 5 grams of sodium
  • 115 milligrams of potassium
  • 12 grams of carbohydrates
  • 10 grams of dietary fiber
  • 4.7 grams of protein
  • Vitamins including calcium, iron, and magnesium

Bottom line: Chia seeds are called a superfood for a reason! They are low in calorie count but pack serious nutritional value.

2. Chia seeds are high in fiber and help keep you full

With 11 grams of fiber per serving, chia seeds provide almost half of the daily recommended amount of fiber. This is fantastic news for anyone looking for high nutrient foods that keep you full for a long time.

Doctors recommend you should get between 38 grams and 50 grams of fiber daily, depending on your age and gender.

The fiber found in chia seeds is largely soluble, meaning they’re a great food for anyone with stomach issues. Soluble fiber also binds with cholesterol to help effectively flush it out of the body, adding to its many health benefits. (3)

Bottom line: Fiber helps keep you full, meaning if you’re counting calories, it’s a smart addition to your diet. Chia has tons of fiber per serving, helping you stay fuller, longer.

3. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants

Antioxidants are little free radical fighting miracles that help fight signs of aging and fight harmful, cancer-causing cells.

Chia seeds are very high in antioxidants, elevating their level of health benefit and making them a great choice of food for anyone looking to add more antioxidant rich foods to their diet. (4,5)

Free radicals comes from all the environmental stressors our body faces daily — everything from shampoo to processed food, even the air we breathe — is full of free radicals. Chia seeds are a simple way to help combat disease in the body. (6)

Chia seeds high level of antioxidants also gives them a longer shelf life, helping Chia last up to two years without refrigeration.

Bottom line: Antioxidants help combat everyday destructive chemicals found everywhere. (7,8) Chia seeds have lots of antioxidants that help fight these harmful substances.

4. Chia seeds are a good source of protein

Approximately two tablespoons of Chia seeds provide four healthy grams of protein, making them a packed source of this important nutrient! (9)

Protein not only adds to feelings of satiety, but helps rebuild muscle and provides essential amino acids needed to keep every cell healthy.

According to WebMD, It is generally recommended that women get at least 50 grams of protein daily, while men should get 60 grams.

Adding chia seeds to your diet is an excellent way to ensure you are getting enough protein every day.

High protein foods like Chia seeds are great for weight loss because it helps the body burn fat quicker and more efficiently. (10)

Bottom line: Protein is a necessary nutrient and key to good health. Adding Chia seeds to your diet helps you get more of this needed nutrient and is a healthy, low-calorie way to do that.

5. Chia seeds are high in Omega-3s

There are several kinds of fat found in everyday foods. Saturated fat is generally considered “bad” fat, meaning it should be limited in daily intake. Saturated fat is thought to be a main contributor to weight gain over time.

Chia seeds are low in these harmful saturated fats, but are high in “good” polyunsaturated fats, specifically, Omega-3 fatty acids. This is the same kind of fat found in other superfoods like salmon (and lots of other seafoods), avocados, and flax seed.

For some people who don’t like seafood, or live in places where it is in limited supply (non-coastal areas) it can be hard to get the recommended eight servings per week of foods high in Omega-3s. (11)

However, plant based sources of Omega-3s are still not as effective at being absorbed and used by the body as sources from fatty fish or supplements like fish oil.

It is recommended that everyone get at least 250 milligrams a day of Omega-3s. Omega-3 acids not only raise good cholesterol (HDL) while helping lower bad cholesterol (LDL), but they support healthy hearts and brains, as well.

Omega-3 sources provide EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), too. (12)

Bottom line: You probably aren’t getting enough Omega-3s in your diet. While you shouldn’t rely on Chia seeds alone to get this nutrient, adding Chia seeds can help you get more of this beneficial fatty acid. (13)

6. Chia seeds help you lose weight

To lose weight, you need to consume less calories than you burn day over day. Chia seeds can help you consume less calories while not sacrificing nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Chia seeds contain 138 calories per ounce, about 7 percent of calories for a 2,000 calorie diet. While this might seem like a lot, Chia seeds are so high in necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients that they are still an excellent choice of food for anyone looking to lose some extra weight.

Their high fiber content, as discussed earlier on our list, helps keep you full for longer periods of time. Chia seeds have been shown in clinical trials to help burn more belly fat, too. (14)

Bottom line: Chia seeds are a good caloric investment if you are trying to lose weight. Their protein and fiber content help keep you full, so over the long run, you’ll consume less calories and lose more weight. (15)

7. Chia seeds are excellent for heart health

Chia seeds help reduce inflammation in the body, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol and supporting a healthy heart. The less internal inflammation, the less hard the heart has to work to move blood throughout the body.

Lowering blood pressure is recommended for almost everyone and decreases the likelihood of heart attack and deadly cardiovascular diseases like heart disease.

Heart problems are still one of the top killers of both men and women, especially in western cultures.

Adding Chia seeds is an excellent and easy way to support a healthy heart and reduce potentially deadly factors.

There is some clinical evidence to support that chia seeds can even help reduce arterial plaque, further lowering the risk of heart attack.

They are also exceedingly low in sodium. Excess sodium can increase blood pressure and cause the heart to work harder, and many people combating high blood pressure search out foods low in sodium.

Chia seeds are safe for anyone on a low-sodium diet because they only contain 5 grams of sodium per serving. (16)

Bottom line: Chia seeds help lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol, improving heart health and drastically lowering the risk of heart attack or heart disease. Eat Chia and your heart will thank you!

8. Chia seeds support good bone health

We all know we can get plenty of calcium from sources like milk, cheese, butter, and other dairy.

However, studies show that calcium from cow’s milk is not readily absorbed by the body and much of the needed nutrient goes to waste.

Chia seeds are surprisingly high in calcium, which supports healthy bones over the long-run. The seeds are more readily digestible than milk and other dairy, meaning you get more bone-building calcium with each serving than you do with a glass of milk.

With 179 milligrams of calcium per serving, about 3 and a half daily servings gives the average person over 600 milligrams of calcium.

Doctors and nutritionists recommend that an adult get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, so adding Chia seeds to your morning smoothie or yogurt packs the extra calcium punch you might be missing in your diet.

Bottom line: You probably aren’t getting enough calcium through dairy alone. Adding Chia to your diet can help you ensure you’re getting the recommended daily minimum without adding a ton of extra calories.

9. Chia seeds replenish the body after a workout

Chia is a great pre- or post-workout snack! The nutrient profile of Chia seeds means long-lasting energy if you use it as a pre-workout.
With their high protein and fiber content, Chia seeds are ideal for a post-workout recovery drink or snack.

When added to a smoothie or protein shake, Chia seeds add extra of all those good vitamins and minerals you need to help your body recover from an intense day at the gym.

Whether you’re a runner or a weight-lifter, adding Chia seeds to your workout recovery delivers you extra nutrition your bones, muscles, and organs will thank you for.

With 115 milligrams of potassium per serving, Chia seeds will help fight lactic acid production and decrease muscle cramps and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), too. (17)

Bottom line: Adding chia seeds to your pre and post workout routine is an easy way to reap the benefits of this nutrient packed little seed. High protein content helps your body recover faster from workouts and gives you sustainable energy to get the most out of your gym sessions.

10. Chia seeds help regulate blood sugar

Chia seeds are highly recommended for people with diabetes.

Their nutrient profile helps slow the passage of glucose into the bloodstream, helping your sugar levels stay level for longer.

The chemical makeup of chia seeds gives you long-lasting energy and helps keep blood sugar levels from crashing or spiking. They are such a good energy source, in fact, that ancient Aztecs used to take them as sustenance for long, high-altitude walks. (18)

Since many people with diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, are often looking for ways to not only manager their blood sugar, but also ways to control their weight and cholesterol, Chia seeds make a smart addition to the diet of anyone fighting diabetes.

Bottom line: Chia seeds are totally safe for people with diabetes, and even offer additional benefits to helping control blood sugar and weight. They’re a smart, doctor-approved choice for people battling diabetes.

11. Chia seeds support HDL cholesterol

There are two main types of cholesterol. LDL, commonly known as “bad” cholesterol, is what most doctors encourage us to try to lower.

The second kind is HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and is what most doctors encourage us to try to get more of. HDL cholesterol comes from “good” fats — those same Omega-3 fatty acids we mentioned earlier.

Like many seafoods and avocados, Chia seeds help support a high HDL number, which actually lowers the risk for things like heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.

Chia seeds also fight excess triglycerides in the blood, which is extra fat carried by red blood cells. Lowering triglycerides can also lower your risk of heart-related disease. (19)

Bottom Line: Chia seeds help raise good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol. They also help lower triglycerides and help lower your risk of diseases associated with high cholesterol. (20)

12. Chia seeds support digestive health

Chia seeds high fiber content helps promote regularity and can solve digestive issues.

Most people consume less than half the recommended daily amount of fiber, and adding Chia seeds to your regular diet can help you get more of the fiber you need.

Lots of people experience constipation and other digestive issues because they don’t consume enough fiber day to day.

Many nutritionists suggest eating water-soaked Chia seeds to help relieve chronic constipation and to clear toxins from the intestines.

One word of caution: start with a small amount of Chia seeds if you’ve never eaten them before. For many people, Chia can be added with no stomach upset or digestion issues.

For others, adding too much too fast can cause stomach cramping and diarrhea. Start with a small serving each day, then build up slowly to find what works best for your body. (21)

Bottom line: You’re like a lot of people if you experience digestive upset, probably because you don’t get enough fiber in your daily diet. Chia seeds are an easy way to help you get more fiber and relieve those digestive issues.

13. Chia seeds are safe during pregnancy

Any woman who has ever been pregnant can attest to all the foods you can’t eat when carrying.

Great news — Chia seeds are perfectly acceptable for use during pregnancy! Pregnancy can deplete the body of many vitamins and minerals in nine months, and chia helps restore many of those needed nutrients to both mother and baby.

Calcium, DHA and Omega-3 fatty acids help support healthy growth of the baby, while fiber helps keep mom full and alleviates some digestive issues that come with pregnancy.

It is good practice to check with your prenatal doctor before adding Chia to your diet, just in case it might not be right for you.

Bottom Line: Chia seeds a generally a safe food for pregnant and nursing women. Their nutrient density makes them a smart choice for both mother and baby.

14. Chia seeds have high vitamin & mineral content

Chia seeds are high in necessary minerals that support overall health and wellness.

According to the American Society for Nutrition, in addition to being high in calcium, chia seeds are high in the mineral magnesium with supports calcium absorption and helps support healthy bones and a healthy nervous system.

Copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus and zinc are also found in abundance in Chia seeds. Vitamins B1, B2, thiamin and niacin are also found in Chia, and help support healthy hair and nails.

Bottom line: Chia seeds have lots of vitamins and minerals you might not be getting from other foods. Adding them to your existing diet helps support healthy bones, nervous system, healthy organs, hair, and nails.

15. Chia seeds are easy to incorporate with other foods

Now for the best news: Chia seeds are super easy to add to other foods!

No need to change your entire routine to reap the many benefits of Chia seeds. Chia seeds can be consumed raw, added to smoothies, mixed in with yogurt, or sprinkled in jams, dressings, or sauces.

They can be baked in to breads, muffins, energy bites, or even crackers. They can even be added to decadent desserts like chocolate cake, ice cream, and pudding.

Additionally, they can be soaked in water and consumed soaked to increase fullness and digestive benefits.

When soaked, they do expand considerably in size and can even be used in place of tapioca.

They can be ground into a fine powder and used in place of other flours in everything you’d use regular flour in.

Chia seed is highly versatile so don’t be afraid to experiment! Their mild flavor won’t overpower the other ingredients in your cooking, and you might be surprised at the number of things you can add them to. (22)

Bottom line: Chia seeds are very versatile and can be used in many different recipes. Experiment to find what you like best. You might be surprised at the number of things you enjoy Chia seeds in!

In summary, Chia seeds are considered a marketable superfood for many reasons.

  • They are low in calories and nutrient dense, high in fiber and good cholesterol, and high in vitamins and minerals.

  • They are truly a food that can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and even the healthiest of people can reap the many dietary benefits Chia seeds have to offer.

  • They help lower the risk of many potentially deadly diseases and top killers of adults in modern society.

  • Chia seeds are even safe for the majority of pregnant and nursing women. Anyone looking to improve their health and wellness can benefit from adding Chia seeds to their diet.

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