Packed with essential nutrients and very little calories, chances are you have never even heard of chia seeds. It’s hard to believe these tiny dark seeds native to South America can have such a wide array of health benefits. Chia seeds health benefits have recently come into focus for most of us. However, it is considered to be one of the staple food items part of the ancient Mayan and Aztec diets. Even the word ‘chia’ means strength in the Mayan language. While few of our ancestors may have known its secret for a long time, it’s only now, that it’s slowly and steadily gaining popularity.
More and more fitness experts and enthusiasts have come to understand its amazing health benefits and started to include it in their regular diet. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, chia seeds are also great for vegetarians who often have to settle for food with lesser nutritional value. Thanks to its almost endless array benefits, it has even been featured in the Dr. Oz Show. To give you an idea why these tiny seeds are being considered to be the next big thing in health, here’s our list of 13 chia seeds health benefits.
Chia seeds can help fight insulin resistance and can help lower blood sugar level. This property can be highly beneficial for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. In a recent comparative study, a group of 20 diabetic patients was divided into two groups. One group received chia seeds while other group got equal amount of wheat bran for a period of 12 weeks. At the conclusion of the study the group the received chia seeds had significantly lower blood sugar level and displayed improvement in several health markers.
Packed with fiber
The importance and adding fiber to the diets continues to be strongly advocated by doctors and fitness experts throughout the world. Having fiber keeps the digestive system healthy, lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammations, and keeps several diseases at bay. Chia seeds are rich in fiber. It approximately contains 11 grams of dietary fiber in a serving of 28 grams. That means just a few tablespoons of chia seeds can help you meet the daily requirement.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Apart from being fiber rich, chia seeds are also rich in healthy omega 3 fatty acids. It’s one of the richest plant sources for omega 3 fat, making it a vital ingredient for vegetarians. Omega 3 fatty acids are known for keeping the heart and brain healthy. Some studies even suggest these vital fats can even help you lose weight.
Loaded with essential minerals
All of the chia seeds health benefits comes from its nutrients. Chia seeds are packed with vital minerals that have several vital functions in the body. It’s a good source of calcium, manganese,copper, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and zinc. This amazing mineral profile makes it one of the healthiest food you can ever have.
Great source of protein
Almost 14 percent of chia seed is protein. That’s a great percentage compared to other plant sources. It also contains a good amount of essential amino acids, the type of amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own and is dependent on external sources. Due to its high protein and low calorie ratio, chia seeds is quickly becoming popular among dieters and bodybuilders.
Lower bad cholesterol levels
An ingredient that’s loaded with omega 3 fatty acid, fiber and protein is bound to be heart healthy. Chia seeds helps increase healthy cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. It has also been proven to improve blood pressure in diabetic patients. These combined benefits make it great for maintaining proper heart health.
Keep bones healthy and strong
Being a great source of calcium and other essential nutrients, chia seeds are great for bones and teeth. The importance of calcium for ensuring bone health is well known. However, most people tend to overlook magnesium and it’s role in keeping the bones healthy. Chia seeds are rich source of both calcium and magnesium making it great for people with a family history of arthritis.
Great for carb-loading
According to a recent study, chia seeds provide similar carb loading effect as of Gatorade. Athletes divided into two groups were given chia seeds and Gatorade. By the end of the study both group showed no difference in performance level.
Help combat obesity
The effect of high fiber and protein content couple with very low amount of calorie, it’s no surprise that chia seeds health benefits promote fat loss. Chia seed also helps reduce insulin resistance, which is known to be one of the reason for increased belly fat. Chia seeds are often recommended by fitness experts for clients suffering from obesity.
Chia seeds health benefits seems endless, as it’s also a great source for antioxidants. These antioxidants have a wide array of health benefits from preventing cancer to fighting the effects of aging. The high antioxidant level also increases the shelf life of chia seeds as they can kept for a long periods of time without the need of refrigeration. Although there are plenty of antioxidant supplements available in the market, naturally sourced antioxidants are significantly more beneficial.
Completely gluten free
For people who are suffering for celiac disease a gluten free diet is an absolute necessity. In search for gluten free food items, they often end up having food with a low nutrient profile. Chia seed is naturally gluten free and can provide people suffering from celiac disease the nutrient boost they require.
Improve brain function
Two tablespoon of chia seeds provides 12 percent of the daily requirement of thiamine and niacin. These essential vitamins are known to improve brain function and to keep the nervous system healthy. Apart from these essential vitamins chia seed is also loaded with essential fatty acids. EFAs are known to improve nerve transmission, which in turn improves concentration levels and memory.
Combat unhealthy cravings
Having chia seeds keeps you fuller for a longer period of time compared to other food sources. Apart from being high in protein and fiber, it also has gelling effect when combined with liquid. All of these properties together eliminate unhealthy cravings in between meals.