Chia seeds, the crunchy food once coveted by Aztec warriors for their medicinal properties, is now a commonly sought after superfood with many health benefits.(1) This means that not only do chia seeds add texture to smoothies or work nicely as a salad topping, but that they help improve overall health.
It’s more than a food popularity contest too. Contrary to those who were initially convinced (or who still are) that chia seeds are a trendy fad, an “it” food that is more about hype than health, increasing amounts of studies and expert opinion show otherwise.
Top Six Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Lisa Goldberg, a licensed nutritionist, explains that because chia is a high-fiber source (four grams per tablespoon) it’s beneficial when it comes to beating hunger pangs and fighting weight loss.(2,3)
“You have that feeling of fullness in your stomach because when you wet chia seeds, they form a gelatinous substance that takes longer to digest,” Goldberg says. “You’ll overeat less and tend to snack less. If you eat chia before a meal, you’ll eat less at the next meal. It packs a nutritional punch without adding a lot of food to your diet.”(2)
For many, the fact that chia seeds are linked to better sleep may come as a surprise. But next time you’re struggling to get some good shut-eye, consider incorporating chia seeds in your diet.
The reason is simple. They contain tryptophan, the amino acid associated with creating sleepiness.(4)
Boosts Heart Health
Several studies have found that chia seeds play a role in regulating blood pressure as well as reducing bad cholesterol levels.(4) Because these are factors tied in to heart health, they’re a good choice for a healthy cardiovascular system.
Bolsters Brain Function
Just two ounces of chia seeds have about 11 grams of healthy fats.(1) Their balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids aids in proper brain function, since it’s built from the same fats.(1)
Goldberg says that the seeds are also beneficial for pregnant woman who want to ensure their baby’s brain health while avoiding the issues regarding fish and mercury consumption.(2) “Women who are pregnant need omega threes for their developing babies, for the brain health,” she says.(2) She explains that chia seeds offer a great alternative for those concerned about fish oils and mercury.
Helps Manage Diabetes
Several studies published in a variety of journals ranging from Diabetes Care to the British Journal of Nutrition have concluded that chia normalizes insulin resistance and also improves cardiovascular risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes.(1)
Chia seeds are 20 percent protein, making them a very good choice for people who want to give their workouts an extra boost.(1) Once dubbed the “Indian running food,” the amino acid score for chia seeds is 91 out of 100.(1) No wonder the seeds are enjoyed by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts; they’re packed with high-quality protein that fuels a workout.
For recipes like a strawberry-rhubarb jam or a cacao powder smoothie that include chia seeds, visit FlabbyRoad.com.
Sources for this article include: