Chia seeds benefits are numerous and people of our country are currently going crazy for this newly discovered superfood, but are there really any health benefits of chia seeds?
Chia seeds are certainly skyrocketing in popularity and popping up in every mainstream supermarket. But why there is so much fuss about them?
It’s said that in the old days that the Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs used the chia seeds to sustain themselves when preparing for battles and running long distances as it provided them with energy.
But the question is, “Can chia seeds offer us the same kinds of benefits?”
Short answer? They certainly can. Not only that, but chia seeds can provide countless other health benefits.
In this informative post, we’ll uncover the top six chia seeds benefits.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia originally comes from a plant referred to as ‘Salvia Hispanica.’
It was originally cultivated by small Latin American farmers to some extent, but about half of the chia seeds now available throughout the world come from Australia.
Chia seeds can be brown, black or white, but there is no difference between them in terms of nutritional content.
Chia seeds contain high amounts of soluble fiber. They are a great source of minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese.
They are also rich in both antioxidants and protein.
Chia Seeds Benefits
There is no doubt that chia is healthy food and the benefits of chia seeds are numerous but here we are going to focus on our six favorites. Please consult with a physician before adding new or foreign food to your diet.
Our favorite chia seeds benefits are:
Chia Seeds for Skin
Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that fight the signs of aging, reduce skin acne, soothe inflammation, and keep skin healthy and radiant.
One way to benefit from chia seeds is to make a face mask.
Take two tablespoons of these seeds and mix them with one tablespoon of lemon juice and a ½ cup of coconut oil.
Allow this mask to sit on your entire face for about 10 minutes, and a gel-like layer will form on your skin. Massage your face for a couple of minutes to exfoliate the skin and wash the mask off with lukewarm water.
The chia seed mask will hydrate, moisturize, and soothe your face, leaving you with glowing and healthy skin.
Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
Many experts are of the view that chia seeds can help with weight loss.
The soluble fiber of the seeds absorbs large quantities of water in the stomach and expands, which should slow the food absorption and make you feel fuller.
Chia seeds are also rich in protein, which could help reduce your appetite and thereby, your food intake.
In fact, research has shown that eating chia seeds for breakfast increases satiety and reduces food intake.
Unfortunately, studies that examined the effectiveness of these seeds for weight loss haven’t provided promising results.
A research study comprising of 90 overweight people found that consuming 50 grams of chia seeds every day for a period of 12 weeks didn’t have any effect on health markers and body weight.
If you include chia seeds in your diet, it’s unlikely that they’ll cause weight loss on their own, but many experts believe that they can prove to be effective when used with a weight-loss diet.
Weight-loss diets aren’t just about single foods. The whole diet counts and other lifestyle behaviors like exercise also matter.
When combined with a healthy lifestyle and weight loss diet, chia seeds may help with weight loss.
Chia Seeds for Diabetes
A study from 2017 suggests that chia seeds might have the ability to convert glucose into a slow-releasing carbohydrate.
This may have a positive effect on patients with type-2 diabetes.
High-fiber diets are generally associated with a reduced risk of developing diabetes while eating high-fiber meals has been shown to help keep blood sugar levels stable.
A research study comprising of 20 type-2 diabetes patients was conducted to determine the effects of chia seeds on diabetes.
The patients showed improvement in some important health markers, including inflammatory and blood pressure.
A small decrease in the blood sugar levels was also observed.
Chia Seeds for Digestion
Eating chia seeds can improve digestive health.
Since chia seeds are rich in fiber, they can improve the feeling of satiety.
Studies have shown that eating yogurt and chia seeds together can reduce the desire of a person to snack and instead make them feel full, thereby helping them reduce their calorie intake.
About 97 percent of Americans aren’t consuming enough fiber on a regular basis.
Failure to consume enough fiber may lead to bloating, constipation, and other digestive issues. Adding chia seeds to yogurt, soups, and cereal can help these people get the right amount of fiber on a day-to-day basis.
Since chia seeds contain a high amount of fiber, they offer a simple way to consume the required nutrients without exceeding your daily calorie count.
Another short-term benefit of eating chia seeds is that you’ll get more regular bowel movements, which is proven to aid in our overall health and well-being.
Chia Seeds for Heart Disease
Since chia seeds are rich in omega-3s fatty acids, protein, and fiber, they may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Several studies have examined their benefits, but the results so far haven’t been conclusive.
In rat studies, it is found that chia seeds may lower certain risk factors such as belly fat, insulin resistance, inflammation, and triglycerides.
They may also help raise good HDL cholesterol. However, research conducted on human beings didn’t detect any improvement in any of the risk factors.
Some studies have shown that consuming chia seeds reduced blood pressure significantly in people suffering from hypertension.
It is possible for chia seeds to benefit heart health, but they won’t have a profound effect unless you accompany them with other beneficial dietary and lifestyle changes.
Chia Seeds for Bones
Chia seeds are rich in nutrients that are essential for bone health, including protein, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
The calcium content, in particular, is quite impressive – a single ounce contains 18 percent of the RDI. This is even higher than what is found in most dairy products.
Chia seeds can thus be considered a great source of calcium, especially for people who don’t consume dairy.
It is important to note that phytic acid found in chia seeds can reduce the absorption of calcium to some extent.
Chia Seed Question and Answers
Q. What are the Side Effects of Chia Seeds?
- May Cause Gastrointestinal Issues
The side effects of chia seeds range from hard stools and constipation to bloating, excessive intestinal gas and diarrhea. However, these side effects are rare and may not affect everyone.
- May Cause Low Blood Pressure
Since chia seeds contain a high amount of omega-3 fats, they may cause the blood to thin out. Therefore, your blood pressure could lower drastically from consuming chia seeds. If you have low blood pressure, ask your health practitioner whether it safe for you to eat chia seeds.
- Effects on Blood Sugar
Some research studies show that eating chia seeds can lower blood sugar. This is likely because of the high fiber content of chia seeds, which slows down the absorption of sugar.
Eating chia seeds in moderation can help people with type-2 diabetes keep their blood sugar in control.
However, eating chia seeds in excessive amounts may cause blood sugar to decrease and will require adjustments in the patient’s dosage of their diabetes medication.
- May Cause Allergies
Chia seeds, in rare cases, can cause allergies. Symptoms of allergy resulting from chia seeds may include watery eyes, hives, and rashes. Food allergies like swelling of the tongue, diarrhea, vomiting, and trouble breathing can also occur from chia seeds.
- Effects on Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
Although the effects of chia seeds on pregnant and breastfeeding women aren’t totally known, most experts advise pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid eating chia seeds. While it might be uncertain whether the use of chia seeds can adversely affect pregnant women, it is probably best to skip eating them for nine months.
Q. Can Chia Seeds Make You Gain Weight?
Chia seeds are relatively high in fat and calories. Two tablespoons of chia seeds have 9 grams of fat and 138 calories. When you use them in moderation, chia seeds can make you feel more satisfied, and you will be less likely to eat excessively.
However, if you consume too many chia seeds throughout the day, you’ll likely exceed your daily calorie limit and end up gaining weight instead of shedding those extra pounds.
Q. What Kinds of Nutrients are Found in Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are high in minerals and vitamins. They are also high in antioxidants and omega-3 fats. Chia seeds contain 37 percent dietary fiber and 20 percent protein.
Q. Is Eating Chia Seeds Every Day Good for You?
There is no evidence to suggest that eating chia seeds every day can lead to adverse effects for your body.
This means that you can consume them regularly. But, note that excess consumption of chia seeds can cause digestive issues due to the high amount of fiber in them.
Excessive intake of fiber can cause constipation, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. This may also occur when a high intake of fiber is paired with improper hydration as water helps fiber pass through our digestive system.
People with inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may have to monitor their daily intake of fiber, and during flare-ups, they must limit the use of chia seeds.
These diseases cause inflammation, which can potentially lead to symptoms like bleeding, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
For most people, the negative symptoms resulting from the high intake of fiber may be prevented by gradually increasing the intake of fiber and drinking plenty of water regularly to help it digest easily.
Q. Is It Bad to Eat Chia Seeds Dry?
Chia seeds can pose a risk if you don’t consume them properly.
Experts say that chia seeds shouldn’t be eaten in their raw, dry form. This is especially true for people with a constricted esophagus or swallowing problems. Chia seeds can absorb about 27 times their weight in water.
This is why patients who have known esophageal strictures or have had swallowing problems in the past should consume chia seeds only when they’ve fully expanded in liquid before ingestion.
Before eating chia seeds, you should mix them with liquid so that they expand.
If you eat chia seeds and they expand in the esophagus, the resulting gel that forms could cause an obstruction. Once the esophagus gets blocked with chia seeds, it is difficult to remove the clog using traditional tools.
We have also heard of a man who developed swallowing problems after eating dry chia seeds. This is described below:
A 39-year old man who had swallowing problems, seasonal allergies and asthma ate dry chia seeds and drank a glass of water.
After that, he experienced trouble swallowing. He was rushed to an emergency room and doctors who examined him found that a gel of chia seeds was stuck in his esophagus and it was blocking it.
Attempts were made to remove the blockage with an adult diagnostic upper endoscope, but they proved unsuccessful. Other traditional tools were also used, but they too failed.
Doctors ultimately decided to use a gastroscope, originally used for premature infants. They pushed small amounts of the stuck chia seed gel into the patient’s stomach until there was no blockage left.
This case shows us that consuming dry chia seeds can be dangerous.
Q. Can I Eat Chia Seeds before Bed?
It is better to eat chia seeds during the day to ensure that you aren’t causing yourself any problems like constipation and difficulty digesting food.
Q. Can Chia Seeds Kill You?
As we mentioned earlier, there has been a case where chia seeds created a choking hazard for a 39-year old man.
Chia seeds can potentially kill you if you don’t eat them properly. It is important, however, to note that there has been no reported case of anyone dying because of chia seeds.
To consume chia seeds without putting yourself at the risk of choking, add them to some water and give the seeds some time to soak.
Once they’ve absorbed the water and expand, you can eat them without any risk of choking.
You can also try out recipes that include chia seeds. These range from snacks to desserts and even dinners.
They will help you obtain the goodness of chia seeds and may also include additional ingredients that could be beneficial for you.
Q. How Can You Tell If Chia Seeds Are Bad?
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants.
This means that even though they contain lots of oil, they won’t go rancid quickly.
Nevertheless, there are some signs that your chia seed package is past its prime. You should be looking for signs of rancidity in smell and taste. But it is very often not easy to tell if chia seeds have gone bad.
Chia seeds don’t have a distinct smell.
Once the oil turns bad, it will most likely not make the chia seeds smell sour.
To fix this, crush a few seeds with a mortar and then give them a good sniff.
If the smell is rancid or stale, it means that the seeds have gone bad and cannot be used.
Taste changes are difficult to spot since people mostly use small amounts of chia seeds in their recipes. You can get around this problem by soaking the seeds in water and checking their taste.
If their taste is off, throw them away.
Q. Are There any Tips for Using Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds can be combined with smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or cereal.
You can also eat them cooked or add them to baked goods such as muffins and bread.
They can be used in place of eggs in vegan baking. If you want to use them as a substitute for eggs in baking, mix one tablespoon spoon of these seeds with three tablespoons of water and let them sit for some time.
A gel will form after a while that you can use instead of eggs in baking.
You can also make a green chia smoothie with chia seeds. To make this smoothie, blend two tablespoons of chia seeds, 1.5 cups of water and two cups of spinach.
After this, add a peeled orange, a cup of frozen blueberries and a cup of strawberries and blend again. Your delicious smoothie should be ready now.
Q. Where to Buy Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds are available in great variety on Amazon. You can also find them at major grocery stores, including Walmart.
Q. How Can You Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet?
Shake Over Salad
Pairing vegetables with healthy fats encourage great nutrient absorption.
While avocados and olive oil are salad bar favorites, you should also try chia seeds.
They are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are powerful nutrients for heart health. So if you want to consume a healthy dose of chia seeds, add them to your salad.
Pair with a Smoothie
A healthy morning shake can be great for your body.
Veggies and fruits stack the smoothies with minerals and vitamins while protein powders and nut butter will boost the protein and fat content. By adding some chia seeds into the mix, you can stoke the hydrating abilities of your shake.
Chia seeds soak up and retain a large amount of water. Keeping your body well-hydrated increases satiety and helps curb cravings.
Getting plenty of water will also keep your mind and body alert and boost your skin’s appearance.
Enjoy with Pasta
If you like pasta, you could add chia seeds into it and transform this dish as it generally lacks nutrients.
Regular pasta is a carbohydrate that will quickly digest and leave you feeling less full.
By supplementing your pasta with healthy fats and protein – via chia seeds – you can stay full for longer.
Chia seeds provide about 3 grams of protein in one tablespoon. This is a great way to add extra protein to a number of dishes, meals, or snacks.
As you now know, there are numerous health benefits of chia seeds.
They can be good for your skin, heart, and bones.
Chia seeds can also help with digestion, weight loss, and management of diabetes.
Even though the research on the benefits of chia seeds isn’t conclusive, many people have found them to be effective and have made chia seeds a part of their regular diet.
If you want to reap the benefits of chia seeds, we recommend you try adding them to your diet. You should start noticing the changes after a week or two.
As noted earlier, make sure to not consume chia seeds in their raw form as they can cause a choking hazard if consumed dry.
Instead, let them soak in water for a while before you eat them. Or add chia seeds in your pasta, smoothie or salad.
If you have any questions about chia seeds benefits, feel free to comment below or contact us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
For more health and well-being, tips click here.