13 Health Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds & Its Side Effects
Chia seeds in today’s world have become one of the main parts of the superfoods in the health community. Since they are easy to digest, many people opt for having chia seeds. These are also essential ingredients that can be added to a lot of dishes. Chia seeds have been found to encourage a lot of health benefits.
The health benefits include healthy skin, reduction of signs of aging, improvement in heart and digestive health. Apart from these, chia seeds have also been absorbed to reverse the effect of diabetes. Hence, the benefits of Chia seeds are very plentiful.
What is Chia Seed?
Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) which originated in Mexico is well known for its medicinal benefits and also for the nutritional values that it provides.
In the early past, Chia seeds were also used as a currency. It is said that Aztec warriors ate chia seeds to gain endurance. Chia in the Mayan language means strength.
Being from Mexico, these chia seeds are very well known in Aztec and Mayan cultures.
Basically, chia seed is known for its omega-3 fatty acid content, fiber, protein, antioxidants and calcium. Though it is sometimes confused with basil seeds, it tastes like alfalfa sprouts.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Since chia seeds are so rich in various nutrients, it is observed that consuming chia seeds on a regular basis can be beneficial for health in a lot of ways.
Chia seeds have become popular in the past few years. Therefore, the health benefits of chia seeds are as follows:
1) Slows Down Ageing
Chia seeds are known to have a lot of health benefits. It is stated that these seeds can slow down the process of aging.
Also, chia seeds have been absorbed to maintain the natural radiance of the skin.
Chia seeds are rich in anti-oxidants which is why they help a lot in fighting the free radicals. Therefore, it helps in repairing any damage to the skin.
Since it fights free radicals, chia seeds will aid preventing premature aging. It also helps in reduction of inflammation.
2) Prevents Constipation
Chia seeds are loaded with fibers, especially insoluble fiber. Chia seeds when mixed with water, acquire a gel-like texture. This, in turn, helps in the regular movement of your bowel and stool.
Because it helps in the easy and regular movement of bowel, it relieves the individual’s problem of constipation.
Many studies have also shown that consumption of chia seeds help in the improvement of digestive health.
3) Rich in Proteins
Chia seeds are rich in proteins. It contains about 14% more proteins that most of the plants. It also contains sufficient amount of amino acids that help in the production of proteins.
Chia seeds being rich in proteins aid in weight loss. It also reduces the appetite by cutting down the intake of thoughts for food by 60%. It also reduces the urge for snacks during night time by 50%. Chia seeds are excellent ingredients for vegetarians.
4) Improves Metabolism
Chia seeds have shown to exhibit characters that aids in improved performance for exercise. Chia seeds do not contain any artificial or unhealthy sugars.
As per a study by Journal of Strength and Conditioning, athletes showed the same time for the workout in both the cases, first with the consumption of chia seed drink and then second with the consumption of sugar-laden sports drinks. The time of workout for these drinks was recorded to be 90 minutes. The only difference is that chia seed drinks contain no unhealthy or artificial sugar
In the study conducted by them, half of the group were made to drink 100% pure Gatorade juice while the other half was made to drink 50% Gatorade and 50% chia seed drink. The results showed that the time for the athletes for both the groups was same, although the half chia seed group consumed no artificial sugar compared to that of the former.
Chia seeds always help in improving the metabolism of the body. This, in turn, enhances the physical performance. Hence, based on the study it can be said that chia seed does help in enhanced physical exercise.
Chia seeds help a lot in boosting up the metabolism and burn belly fat. Addition of chia seeds in the diet also helps in reduction of visceral adipose tissue (effects metabolism of the body) and reduces obesity.
5) Ensures Strong and Healthy Bones
Calcium is the essential ingredient that is required for strong and healthy bones. Chia seeds are rich in calcium, which is why their regular intake is suggested for people suffering from the deficiency of calcium.
Chia seeds also contain boron, another important nutrient for bone health. Boron aids in metabolizing calcium, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. This, in turn, ensures healthy growth of various bones and muscles.
6) Rich in Antioxidants
Chia seeds shine in the amount of containing antioxidants. The antioxidant content of chia seeds helps in conversion of sensitive fats go rancid.
The antioxidants supplements are not very much effective, but the foods obtained from antioxidants have shown positive effects on human health. These antioxidants fight against the free radicals which in turn helps in prevention of cancer.
Free radicals also damage molecules in cells and also induces aging. Most of the sites claim that chia seeds contain more antioxidants than blueberries, but this claim has yet not been verified.
7) Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are one of those few seeds that prove to be an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acid. The exact importance of Omega-3 fatty acids is yet not known.
The University of Arizona conducted a study which showed that broiler chickens who consumed omega-3 fatty acids had increased fatty acid content. They also showed improvement in the performance. Hence, from here it can be concluded that chia seeds’ omega-3 content helps in improving performance and gaining strength.
8) Reduction of Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Chia seeds slow down digestion which in turn helps to prevent diabetes. The gelatinous cover of chia seeds also helps in preventing the development of spikes in blood sugar levels.
As per United States Department of Agriculture, chia seeds help in diabetes treatment. They also aid in improving the blood pressure level in case of diabetic people.
Chia seeds are believed to cure diabetes because of the presence of omega-3 fatty acid, which is known for its nutritional importance in the treatment of diabetes.
9) Lowers the Cholesterol Level
Again, the high omega-3 fatty acid can be credited for its ability to lower bad cholesterol level in the body. Therefore, it aids in the prevention of coronary heart diseases.
The presence of monounsaturated fats in chia seeds help in lowering cholesterol level of acid. According to Nutrition and Dietetics, chia seed addition in the diet can aid in keeping a check on the cholesterol level.
10) Improved Dental Health
Since chia seeds are rich in calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A and zinc, they aid in improving the dental health. It is also rich in calcium, which helps in building up blocks of teeth. It is very much required for improved tooth health.
Zinc also helps to prevent tartar to mineralize teeth that help in removal of plaque. It also has certain antibacterial characteristic which helps in keeping the bad breath causing germs away. Vitamin A and phosphorous also contributes towards the improvement of strong teeth and healthy mouth.
11) Aids in Fighting Breast and Cervical Cancer
Chia seeds have been known to have certain effects on cancer. They are rich in alpha lipoic acid (ALA). ALA also limits the growth of cancer cells in both breast and cervical cancers.
Chia seeds lead to the death of cancerous cells without killing the normal health. ALA seems to reduce a lot of common cancer in case of women.
Therefore, chia seeds can be called cancer-fighting foods. This is yet another great benefit that you can acquire from chia seeds.
12) Chia seeds Reduce Inflammation
Chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic, and alpha-linolenic acid can be simply transformed into omega-3 fatty acids, which work as a perfect compound to deal with inflammation.
These fatty acids handle inflammation in the arteries and joints. It is assumed that regular consumption of around 4 grams of alpha-linolenic acid is adequate to protect against arthritis.
13) Weight Loss
Chia seeds are rich in the essential compound that support you in weight loss such as dietary fiber, mild levels of carbohydrates, good protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutritional compound can support you to maintain your weight.
14) Maintains Cardio-Vascular Health
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help in enhancing the heart health and prevent any heart disease.
Omega-3 also helps in the reduction triglycerides (fat in the blood). They also contribute towards the lowering of blood pressure. It also slows down the accumulation of arterial plaque. Apart from these, these ingredients also help in reducing the risk of irregular heartbeat.
15) Used as a Workout Drink
Workouts are tiring at times, no doubt. But do not worry, chia seeds help in driving out these problems. Chia seeds contain omega-3s which is why they help in retaining the energy level in the body.
Consumption of chia seeds a few hours before exercising act as a fuel for the intense workout. They also help in burning out the carbs.
Chia seeds contain proteins that help in repairing the damaged tissues. These tissues are damaged due to excessive intense workout which is repaired by chia seeds.
Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seeds
- Chia seeds are rich in fiber and high in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, this fat is necessary for your brain health.
- Chia seeds are the good source of antioxidants which helps to reduce production of free radicals that damage molecules in cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.
- Chia seeds have Manganese as well that important for your health, it’s good for your bones and helps to use your important body nutrients like biotin and thiamin.
- Chia seeds have a good amount of phosphorus, which is used by your body to synthesize protein for cell, growth, and repair of tissue.
- Chia seeds are high in protein, calcium, carbohydrate and the good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, magnesium with zero cholesterol.
Side-Effects of Chia Seeds
There are very fewer side effects of chia seeds. Studies have shown that ALA increases the risk of prostate cancer. But later on, it was found that it had some bias. A study conducted in 2010, showed that ALA (alpha lipoic acid) does not contribute towards increasing prostate cancer and in fact reduced the threat to participants.
Also, excess consumption of chia seeds may cause stomach discomfort because of the fiber content.
It is always recommended to eat chia seed food in limited foods which ensures drinking of plenty of water.
As you read earlier, chia seeds have a lot of health benefits. Chia seed is very versatile in nature. These seeds can be eaten in raw form or soaked in water to form a gel. It is also sprouted like alfalfa sprouts. They can be consumed raw, which will give a nutlike flavor. These are also used in salads.
Chia seeds help in absorbing ten times the weight of water. Hence, it is an ideal component for providing a thick texture to soup or a smoothie.
If you wish to enjoy the health benefits of these chia seeds, make sure to make them a part of your diet. But remember, to take it in a less amount at the beginning due to high fiber content. While eating chia seeds drink plenty of water. Therefore, you know chia seeds have bountiful benefits.