21 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
While chia seeds have been included in Mesoamerican diets for hundreds of years, it is only recently that they have become popular in other parts of the world. While we don’t know why it took so long for the trend to spread, we know it spread for a good reason! Chia seeds are full of positive health benefits. Eating a serving a day can do a world of good for your body.
Chia seeds are easy to eat on their own or mixed into recipes. They are most commonly added to smoothies, where they can provide a bit of texture. Adding chia seeds to oatmeal, breakfast bars, or trail mix is also a great way to utilize chia seeds in your diet. Chia seeds can also be used in bakery to add some crunch and fiber
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
One of the best nutritional features chia seeds are known for is their high fiber content. One serving of chia seeds contains 40% of a adults daily fiber requirement. Taking in fiber can be helpful because it helps with a number of digestive issues. Taking in enough fiber helps to prevent constipation.
Chia seeds are loaded with helpful antioxidants. Because antioxidants help to boost the immune system, your body is better suited to fighting off infections and infections, you will be less likely to become ill. If you are already ill, then eating chia seeds may help you to become healthy again faster.
Calcium is a necessary mineral that your teeth and bones need to stay healthy. By taking in enough calcium, you can reduce your risk of getting osteoporosis later in life, as well as prevent numerous dental complications. One serving of chia seeds contains almost 20% of an adult’s daily calcium. Chia seeds can be a great alternative to milk and dairy products to people who are allergic to dairy.
Chia seeds are also high in phosphorus. One serving contains about 30% of an adult’s daily phosphorus. This mineral is great for your body for a number of reasons. Like calcium, it helps to support healthy bones and teeth. Taking in enough phosphorus can also lessen the chance that you will get muscle cramps and lower joint inflammation. This is great news for people who have arthritis and for people who exercise often. Eat chia seeds, and your symptoms could be a thing of the past!
The list of healthy minerals in chia seeds just keeps going! Magnesium works to do a number of things, including keeping your blood sugar and blood pressure levels stable. This helps to protect your arteries, which, in turn, can help keep your heart healthy. One serving of chia seeds has 30% of an adult’s daily value of magnesium, so eat up!
Manganese is another great mineral which is found in chia seeds. This mineral helps to form red blood cells and it keeps your bones and teeth healthy and strong. This makes chia seeds a great food for anemic people or people with brittle bones to eat.
There is a decent amount of iron in a serving of chia seeds– a little more than 10% of an adult’s daily value. Iron is great for your body because it helps your body to form red blood cells, which help to carry oxygen around your body.
One serving size of chia seeds contains a little more than 10% of an adult’s daily intake of copper. Copper helps to keep your nerves healthy, which impacts every part of your body. Copper also helps to keep your red blood cell number in check. Like many of the other minerals on this list, copper also works to keep the bones strong and healthy.
Selenium is another healthy mineral found in chia seeds. It helps fight free radicals and helps your body absorb vitamin E. Free radicals can cause many illnesses and diseases, including cancer! Eating a food that fights free radicals can help to prevent these problems.
Being able to better absorb vitamin E helps to treat and prevent hair, nail, and skin problems. This can make prevent wrinkles, make skin and hair look healthier, and prevent brittle nails and other fingernail and toenail issues.
Omega-3 is another heart-healthy component that can be found in chia seeds. This is usually found in seafood, so it is impressive that chia seeds are a vegan source of omega-3s. Like magnesium, omega-3 helps to keep your arteries healthy, which in turn, helps to keep your cholesterol levels down and your heart in great shape.
Chia seeds are a whole grain food. It is recommended that adults eat three to five servings of grains or whole grain a day. Whole grains are the better option. With a serving size of chia seeds only being two tablespoons, it’s simple to get in a serving of whole grains by incorporating this food into your diet.
Chia seeds are a great vegan source of protein. While they do not have much protein by weight, they do have a high volume of protein based on the percentage of protein that is in them. About 25% of the chia seed is protein. While vegetarians and vegans shouldn’t rely on chia seeds as their only source of protein, it can be useful for them to add chia seeds to their diet for supplemental protein.
While chia seeds are a whole-grain food, they are also gluten-free! This is because only wheat-based products and chia seeds are not derived from wheat. This means that people who need to have gluten-free diets can take in fiber from chia seeds, which they would not be able to get from a wheat-based source.
Low in Calories
Chia seeds are small, mighty, and low in calories. A serving size of chia seeds has less than 150 calories. This is great news for anyone on a diet. Even though they are low in calories, they can be quite filling when added to smoothies, yogurt, and oatmeal. Chia seeds can turn a little snack into a filling meal, without adding on too many extra calories.
High in Electrolytes
Chia seeds are also high in electrolytes. This makes them a great replacement for sports drinks. If you do not want to drink sports drinks, or if you are looking for a more natural alternative, then try adding chia seeds to your water. Not only will this give you energy, but it will also give you a little bit of protein too!
Chia seeds can be added to just about anything. This is because they are virtually flavorless. This is part of the reason why they go well into so many different foods. If you do not like the texture of the seeds, then you can grind the chia seeds into a powder. This powder will be flavorless and it won’t be crunchy when you eat it. It’s a win-win!
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Eating chia seeds can help to lower cholesterol levels for several reasons. Part of the reason is that it contains omega-3s, which have a positive impact on the arteries. When the arteries are healthy (not clogged) it helps to lower cholesterol levels. When cholesterol levels are lower, the chances of having other cardiovascular system problems are also lower.
Prevents Type-2 Diabetes
There are several great components of chia seeds that help them to prevent type-2 diabetes. These features include their high fiber and omega-3 contents. Eating chia seeds helps to keep blood sugar levels healthy. When blood sugar levels remain healthy, the chances of getting type-2 diabetes are lowered.
Prevents and Treats Insomnia
Chia seeds contain the amino acid tryptophan. This is the same amino acid that is attributed to making people feel sleepy after they eat turkey. Eating chia seeds before bed may make it easier for some people to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Tryptophan is not only good for helping people fall asleep, it also helps to produce serotonin. Serotonin is the brain chemical that helps to make people feel calm and happy. Having enough of this brain chemical can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This would be good to use as supplemental care, but not as a replacement for medication.
Chia seeds are also full of healthy prebiotics. Prebiotics help to improve healthy bacteria in the gut, which can help with a variety of digestion problems. Taking in enough prebiotics can help to treat and prevent abdominal pain, stomach aches, and more.
Do you know of any other health benefits of chia seeds? If so, comment below!