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6 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

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If you’re looking for an easy way to boost the nutrient content of your diet, chia seeds are a great option. These tiny seeds are nutritional powerhouses, packed with health-boosting fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

Whether you’re already adding them to your overnight oats or have never heard of them before, here’s what you need to know about the benefits of these small but mighty seeds, plus tasty ways to add them to your diet.

Also Read: 7 Reasons to Start Your Day With Lemon Water

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds come from the herbaceous plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, and originate in Mexico and Guatemala. First cultivated by the Aztecs and Mayans for use in food and medicine preparation, chia seeds have blossomed in popularity in recent years due to their numerous health benefits.

Benefits Of Chia Seeds, Some chia seeds are brownish-black in color, while other variations can be white, says Jenna Volpe, a functional registered dietitian and founder of Whole-listic Living, LLC in Austin, Texas. They’re similar in size to sesame seeds, but chia seeds are a bit lighter in density and texture, she says, adding that they give a crunchy and gelatinous texture to puddings, overnight oats and beverages.

Benefits Of Chia Seeds

What Are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds contain an abundance of fiber and antioxidants as well as essential omega-3 fatty acids and plant-based protein, says Volpe. In fact, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contains 9.7 grams of fiber, 4.6 grams of protein and 6.7 grams of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. Their unique nutritional profile can benefit people looking to increase fiber intake, balance blood sugar levels, improve digestion, increase satiety at meals and more, says Volpe.

Here are six science-backed benefits of chia seeds.

1.May Aid With Weight Loss/Maintenance

When included in a meal, chia seeds may aid in satiety, says Kim Kulp, a registered dietitian, gut health nutrition expert and owner of the Gut Health Connection in Novato, California. Over time, this may help promote weight loss.

Benefits Of Chia Seeds, Still, research supporting chia seeds as an effective weight loss aid is limited, but one animal study found that rats fed chia seeds lost more visceral fat than those who were not. In humans, visceral fat—the kind that wraps around your organs—may increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, says Kulp.

2.May Help Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the best fats for heart health, explains Amanda Sauceda, a registered dietitian and gut health nutritionist based in Long Beach, California. In fact, research suggests that omega-3s may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and lower triglycerides[3]. What’s more, chia seeds contain a specific type of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, she says.

Benefits Of Chia Seeds, A 2022 meta-analysis in Advances in Nutrition concluded that boosting ALA intake on a regular basis can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 10% (and up to 20% for fatal coronary artery disease). This can be attributed to ALA’s anti-inflammatory effect on the body as well as its role in helping reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, explains Volpe.

3.Supports Bone Health

Chia seeds contains minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium—all of which play an important role in bone health, says Saucera. In fact, research indicates that adequate intake of these nutrients is vital for bone formation.

While human studies are lacking, a 2018 study in Nutrients found that rats who consumed a diet consisting of 10% chia seeds (total caloric intake) for 13 months led to significantly improved bone mineral content compared to a control group.

4.May Reduce Free Radicals and Inflammation

Free radicals are unstable molecules that occur as a result of chemical changes to a cell. When they build up, free radicals can cause damage to other molecules (like DNA, proteins and lipids) and increase the risk of cancer and other diseases, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Chia seeds contain a variety of antioxidants that can protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals, says Kulp. These include caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin and others.

Benefits Of Chia Seeds, Quercetin in particular is a potent antioxidant, due to its ability to fight inflammation and protect cells from damage and oxidative stress, says Volpe. In fact, quercetin-rich foods (like chia seeds) are being studied for their ability to slow down and delay the aging process on the cellular level, she says.

Benefits Of Chia Seeds

5.It May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels

The fiber, fat and protein in chia seeds serve as natural buffers to carbohydrate breakdown, explains Volpe. As a result, chia seeds can help balance blood sugar levels by curbing the glycemic index of carbohydrate-containing foods, she says.

“Because fiber, fat and protein all take longer to digest, these nutrients slow down the rate at which carbohydrates get broken down into sugars in the gut before they get absorbed into the body and converted into blood glucose (blood sugar),” Volpe explains.

6.It May Improve Gut Health

Benefits Of Chia Seeds, Chia seeds are beneficial for digestive health because they contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber that makes them a great choice for relieving constipation, according to Kulp.

What’s more, the soluble fiber and polyphenols chia seeds contain can work as prebiotics, feeding the good gut microbes which then produce substances that protect the lining of the intestines, thereby improving gut health, she adds.

Also Read: 6 Of The Best Fruits For Diabetics (Based On Sugar and Nutrients)


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