Haven’t you heard? Chia seeds are the new kale! A superfood for sure! They are packed with nutrients beneficial to your body and brain. Here are some benefits that are supported by human studies:
- A high amount of nutrients with very few calories – They’re now consumed by health conscious people everywhere. Despite their tiny size, they’re loaded with fiber, protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and various micronutrients.
- They are packed with antioxidants– Chia seeds are high in antioxidants that help to protect the delicate fats in the seeds, keeping them from going rancid. Getting antioxidants from food is more effective than using supplements.
- Most of the carbs in them are from fiber – Nearly all of the carbohydrates in chia seeds are fiber. This means they’re able to absorb 10-12 times their weight in water. Fiber also has various beneficial effects on health, such as feeding the friendly bacteria in the intestine, which is crucial for good health.
- They’re a high quality protein– Much higher than most plant foods. Protein is the most weight loss friendly macronutrient and can reduce cravings and appetite significantly.
- They should be able to help you lose weight due to their high fiber content – When combined with a real food based diet and a healthy lifestyle, chia seeds could help with weight loss due to their fiber content. Fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach. This should increase fullness and slow food absorption.
- Chia seeds are high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids– Know that the Omega-3s in them are mostly ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid), which is not as beneficial as animal-sourced Omega-3s. Humans are inefficient at converting ALA into the active forms, EPA and DHA.
- Chia seeds may improve certain blood markers– This should lower the risk for Type-2 Diabetes. Since chia seeds are high in fiber, protein, and Omega-3s, they should be able to improve metabolic health. It is possible that chia seeds can lower these risks, but probably won’t have a significant effect unless other beneficial changes in the diet are followed. Study results are inconclusive.
- They are high in many bone nutrients – this includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein. The calcium content is especially great at 18% of the RDA in a single ounce. This is higher than most dairy products, gram for gram.
- They can cause great improvements in Type-2 diabetics– A study in Type-2 diabetics concluded that chia seeds can significantly lower blood pressure and a marker for inflammation.
- They can improve exercise performance as much as a sports drink– It has been said that the Mayans and Aztecs used chia seeds to fuel performance. A small study shows that chia seeds can partly replace Gatorade as a way of loading carbs for endurance athletes.
- Chia seeds are easy to add to your diet– They’re bland, so you can add them to almost anything and you don’t have to grind them up like you do with flax seeds.