Health benefits of chia seeds range from skin care to heart health and many more. And what makes it even more interesting is the numerous ways you can eat chia seeds. Let's have a look!
Chia seeds are super foods. They are a rich source of antioxidants and fiber and are known to have various health benefits. Chia means ‘strength’ in the Mayan language. And it is believed that these seeds are runner’s food because runners and warriors used to eat them as fuel for strength and endurance.
10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
1. Full of fiber
Chia seeds are a rich source of fiber
. A diet rich in fiber helps in proper bowel movement, reducing inflammation, and also controlling cholesterol levels in the body. In just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, you get 10g of fiber. Foods rich in fiber also help to balance insulin level in your body. Seeds like flax
can be considered natural remedy to control blood sugar. One of the important benefits Chia seeds is that when consumed, they make you feel fuller rather quickly because they absorb a lot of water and immediately expand in the stomach. Thus, they help in suppressing appetite which leads to weight loss.
2. Rich source of antioxidants
Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants
, thus, they help protect your body against oxidative damage and free radicals. Also, the high antioxidant content helps them have a longer shelf life. It is always beneficial if your body gets antioxidants from foods rather than supplements. Just sprinkle a spoonful of chia seeds on your smoothies or salads and give them a healthy boost.
3. Good for heart health
Chia seeds are known for their ability to reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol. They are also effective in reducing oxidative stress because of the high amount of antioxidants present. Inflammation can put a strain on blood vessels and cause heart diseases. Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids
and other healthy fats that protect the heart by lowering bad cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and inflammation. Since they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, then chia seeds are a great alternative for fish. And this becomes one of the most useful benefits of chia seeds
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4. Help in blood sugar regulation
When talking about foods helpful in regulating blood sugar, we cannot miss chia seeds. They can reduce insulin resistance and are also helpful in decreasing abnormally high levels of blood sugar. Chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid and fiber, and these elements majorly help in reversing the effects of diabetes.
Chia seeds are also known for their satiating properties – the feeling of being full for a longer time. This helps you control in between meal snacking, which in turn controls blood sugar levels
and helps in weight loss.
5. Promote bone health
As we age keeping our bones healthy and strong is very important. You can include chia seeds in your diet as they promote bone health. Chia seeds are rich in calcium
, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein
. All these nutrients are essential for healthy growth of bones and muscles. Chia seeds also have boron, another essential nutrient needed for bone health.
6. Boost energy
Chia seeds are known as fuel foods. They are helpful in boosting energy and metabolism. In a study, it was concluded that chia seeds can partly replace energy drinks as a way of carb loading for endurance athletes. The seeds also fight dehydration, reduce joint inflammation, and accelerate post run recovery. By adding a serving of chia seeds to your diet
you can give your slow metabolism a push and decrease belly fat as well.
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7. Builds muscles
Protein is one of the most important nutrients needed for building muscles and chia seeds are the top rated plant based protein sources. If you are vegetarian, then you must include chia seeds in your diet to get the daily dose of protein. They also contain a healthy balance of amino acids
, so that our body can make use of proteins. If you want to put on lean muscles
and burn fat, then consuming chia seeds will be helpful.
8. Helpful in dental health
Zinc is one important nutrient that is needed for dental health, and chia seeds have a high amount of zinc. Zinc keeps plaque and tartar at bay, and its antibacterial effect helps fight bad breath. The seeds are also rich in Vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus. Vitamin A
keeps and phosphorus is essential for strong teeth. Calcium is the building block for teeth and bones and essential for dental health.
9. Fights constipation
As mentioned above, chia seeds are a rich source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Both these varieties of fiber should be included in your diet if you want to lose weight. To lose weight it is also essential that your digestive system works properly and you break the cycle of constipation.
has the ability to store more water in your stool which makes fecal matter easy to pass through the intestines. Insoluble fiber adds bulk which helps in passage through the gut and preventing constipation.
10. Beneficial during pregnancy
If you are pregnant, then these are the benefits that chia seeds have for you.
Rich source of omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids
are needed for the development of baby’s brain. A lot of pregnant women avoid eating fish because it can cause lead poisoning. Chia seeds prove to be a healthy alternative.
Replenish lost nutrients
Pregnancy can be taxing for your body and can cause loss of essential nutrients. Eating chia seeds is an effective way to replenish lost nutrients. They are high in nutrients like boron (for bone health), iron (for development of RBCs), and calcium (for strong bones). In addition, chia seeds also have a considerable amount of magnesium, phosphorus, niacin, copper, and zinc.
Feeling low on energy is a common thing in pregnancy. But when you start eating chia seeds, you’ll feel energized. They slow down the process of converting sugars and carbs to energy. This slow process in addition to a high dose of protein gives you a constant supply of energy.
How To Eat Chia Seeds
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Ways to eat chia seeds –
1. Make them into puddings
2. Use them as toppings
3. Add them to cereals and smoothies
4. Snack on them
5. Add them when you’re baking cakes, muffins, or bread
How to soak –
Chia seeds are always soaked in water in the ratio 1:10. This means 1.5 tbsp chia seeds in 1 cup water. Soak them for about 30 minutes before consuming them.
You can also munch on than raw, but beware they tend to stick to your teeth.
Healthy Chia Seed Recipes
1. Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola
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- 1 cup plain oats
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
- In a bowl combine oats and nutmeg powder. Stir in honey, cinnamon powder, canola oil and chia seeds.
- Grease a baking tray and spread the mixture on the tray.
- Bake for about 15 minutes.
- Allow them to cool before you cut them into bars.
Snack on these healthy crunchy granola bars for a guilt free experience and health benefits of chia seeds.
2. Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
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- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¾ cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- Strawberries for garnish
- Nuts for garnish
- Mix chia seeds and almond milk.
- Slowly stir in cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
- Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes at least, or overnight for it to thicken.
- Garnish with strawberries and nuts!
Enjoy this delicious yet healthy pudding and put an end to those sweet cravings.
Make sure you consult your nutritionist and doctor before including chia seeds in your daily diet. Stick to the dosage suggested by them to get the maximum benefit.