Chia seeds, which are commonly associated with the growing of furry sprouts on various shaped terracotta planters, the little seed can be a valuable addition to the diet. While the seeds can make for some interesting animal and cartoon shapes when the seeds sprout, the small chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses, providing antioxidants, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids (1).
Chia seeds contribute to heart health in diabetics
The high fiber content as well as the Omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds lends to the heart healthy aspect that can help to reduce the increased risk of heart and cardiovascular disease that many diabetics experience (2). Chia seeds contain 10 grams of fiber per two tablespoon serving, which equates to one-third of the recommended daily allowance of fiber (3).
One study revealed that when adequate levels of fiber are consumed, the risk of developing coronary heart disease is considerably reduced (4). Omega-3 fatty acids, which is a polyunsaturated fat, have been shown to help in reducing elevated cholesterol levels (3) while the minerals such as manganese, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus contained in chia seeds have been identified as being helpful for the prevention of hypertension or high blood pressure (3).
Chia seeds help to regulate blood sugar levels and help with weight loss
Studies have indicated that one specific type of Chia seeds, known as Salba, can help diabetics control blood sugar levels when consumed with a high carbohydrate meal (5).
Chia seeds slow the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar, which can help to prevent the spikes in blood sugar that can occur after eating carbohydrates (6). Chia seeds also have a mild appetite suppression effect, which can aid in reducing caloric intake and lead to weight loss (5). Consuming 37 grams of chia seeds per day for a period of 12 weeks has been shown to help in reducing high blood pressure as well as a marker for inflammation, known as C-reactive protein (7). This dose of chia seeds also helps to keep lipid levels in a healthy range for individuals who have type 2 diabetes (7).
Sources for this article include:
(2) Chia seeds help control appetite and blood sugar. www.diabeticconnect.com
(3) Top 10 health benefits of chia seeds. healthyeating.sfgate.com
(5) The effects of Salvia hispanica L. (Salba) on postprandial glycemia and subjective appetite. tspace.library.utoronto.ca
(7) Vuksan et al. (2007). Supplementation of conventional therapy with the novel grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) improves major and emerging cardiovascular risk factors in type 2 diabetes. care.diabetesjournals.org