HomeblogsHealth-and-wellnessTop 7 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds & Their Side Effects

Top 7 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds & Their Side Effects

Nature has gifted us with plenty of edible things in the form of useful herbs, shrubs, and seeds to gorge upon. Amongst such foods that are trending all across the world as a superfood is chia seed. Chia seeds are small edible seeds of the Salvia hispanica plant belonging to the mint family. They are tiny oval grey seeds spotting black and white spots. Counted as one of the healthiest superfoods available to mankind, these seeds are small in size but high in nutritional value. The world is basking under the countless chia seeds benefits and many people have gained better health with a regular dose of omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients found in just 2 tablespoons of these seeds.  

Let us dig deeper to understand whether chia seeds for weight loss are of any use or we better try other health benefits of chia seeds?

Chia Seeds Nutrition

Although small in size, these tiny seeds are power-packed with nutrition. Here is a list of nutrition found in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds as mentioned below:-

Nutritional compounds found in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds

Quantity

Carbohydrates

12 grams

Fibre

10 grams

Fat

9 grams

ALA or Alpha-Linolenic Acid

5 grams

Protein

4.7 grams

Calcium

14% of the Dailey recommended value (DV)

Iron

12% of the DV

Magnesium

23% of the DV

Niacin or vitamin B3

16% of the DV

Phosphorus

20% of the DV

Thiamine or vitamin B1

15% of the DV

Zinc

12% of the DV

Calories

140

 

Besides, chia seeds carry an ample amount of minerals and vitamins like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, and vitamin C. These seeds are also rich in antioxidants like myricetin, quercetin, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, and kaempferol. 

These antioxidants are quite beneficial for human health; they may protect the liver and heart from free radical damage and provide anticancer properties to the body. The amount of nutrients one can get from consuming just two tablespoons of chia seeds is astonishing.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds

  1. Good for Gut Health:
    The topmost health benefits of chia seeds are due to their high fibre content. These small seeds of power are water-soluble and capable of delivering good bacteria to your intestines. This helps in regulating bowel movement and therefore aids digestion. Hence, we can say that consuming chia seeds is good for your overall gut health.
  2. Promotes Weight Loss:
    Experts these days are recommending Chia seeds for weight loss. The reason is that they help you feel fuller for longer and as a result curb your appetite. However, make sure to consume just a moderate amount of these seeds because they are otherwise rich in calories and fats. Overeating them may result in obesity.
    The high content of proteins in chia seeds can help one feel full for long. A study conducted on 24 participants revealed that eating yogurt mixed with chia seeds for breakfast increased the feeling of fullness and reduced food intake in the short term. Studies conducted on the effectiveness of chia seeds in reducing weight have revealed mixed results. A 2009 study involving about 90 people who fell under the overweight category evaluated the effects of consuming 50 g of chia seed supplements every day for 12 weeks. The results of this study showed no effect on the participants’ body weight, blood pressure, or inflammation markers. Whereas another study involving about 77 people who were either overweight or obese with type 2 diabetes found that people who ate a reduced-calorie dietary with chia seeds exhibited greater weight loss than people who consumed placebo instead of chia seeds with the same diet; the study took place over a span of 6 months. One can presume from these results that eating chia seeds with changes in their diet or lifestyle can yield good results in terms of losing excess weight.
    Chia seeds are not a meal replacement; you must consume a variety of food items to avoid nutritional deficiencies and an upset stomach.
  3. Good for Heart Health:
    These tiny grey seeds are indeed a superfood for your heart health. With a high content of Omega 3 fatty acids, including ALA or Alpha-Linolenic Acid, chia seeds are good for your heart health. As per a recent study, the high content of ALA helps to prevent cardiac diseases. However, make sure not to indulge in high amounts of these seeds, else they may even contradict what we just mentioned.
    Many studies that have established the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fibre, and ALA, but they have not tested the efficiency of chia seeds directly. However, there are certain animal-studies that show the beneficial effects of chia seeds in reducing high triglycerides and oxidative stress levels (risk factors of heart ailments). A few human studies have found that chia seed supplements can significantly reduce blood pressure in people who have hypertension.
  4. Prevents Ageing:
    When we disclosed the Chia seeds nutrition value, we did mention that these seeds are rich in antioxidants. Besides the antioxidants, chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which make them an ideal anti-ageing ingredient. Perhaps, this is the reason that nowadays, several skin products are trying to include these seeds in their formula for more effectiveness.
    Due to their anti-oxidative properties, chia seeds can heal the damage caused by free radicals and reverse and prevent the signs of aging. Thus, people who are worried about their current or future skin health can consider including chia seeds in their diet.(9)
  5. Promotes Bone Health:
    Being a rich source of calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, chia seeds are a blessing in disguise for your bone health. Regular but moderate consumption of these seeds will help in increasing the overall bone mineral density. However, don’t just rely on these seeds for your bone health, do continue taking other foods good for your bone health like milk, and other dairy products.
    Several observational studies suggest that the nutrient-dense composition of chia seeds is beneficial for maintaining good bone health. The nutrients present in chia seeds enrich the bone and increase mineral density, which is an indicator of bone strength. Another animal-study found that rats who were given chia seeds daily for 13 months showed increased bone mineral density in comparison to a control group.
  6. Soothes Inflammation:
    When talking about chia seeds health benefits, another remarkable benefit worth mentioning is its effect on soothing inflammation. The rich ALA or Alpha-Linolenic Acid in this superfood is found to provide relief from inflammatory symptoms in the body, especially in the blood. A small amount of just 35 grams of these seeds per day is good to deal with inflammation issues in the body.
  7. Skin Radiance and Hydration
    For radiant and bright skin, you need to keep your skin hydrated. Chia seeds being water-soluble and capable of holding a good amount of water in them are therefore considered to be a skin-friendly ingredient. You can rely on these seeds for skin hydration. Moreover, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and other minerals, these seeds help to give your skin a good elasticity and radiation.
  8. Reduce blood sugar levels
    These tiny but nutrient-packed seeds may help in regulating blood sugars in people with diabetes mellitus or type 2 diabetes. Some animal studies indicate that consuming chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity, which may ultimately stabilise blood sugar levels after consuming meals.
    Blood sugar levels that are consistently high are associated with an increased risk of complications, including cardiovascular diseases, which can be avoided. Consuming chia seeds may help with this because of the presence of fibre and other beneficial nutrients in them. Thus, it is important for people with type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels. Consuming chia seeds can help you manage your blood sugar levels and avoid any complications resulting from a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes.

Top 3 Side Effects of Eating Chia Seeds

Like every coin has two sides, we do have some side effects of chia seeds. After going through the list of chia seeds benefits, make sure you are aware of some of its side effects too.
Here are some common side effects of excessive consumption of chia seed as mentioned below:

  1. Risky for Blood Pressure:
    It is perfectly fine to consume a few chia seeds, rich in omega 3 fatty acids to prevent cardiac issues. However, if you overdo that, you may soon experience issues like low blood pressure. It may also contradict your body if you are already taking some blood thinners.
  2. Gastrointestinal Problems:
    By now you must be aware that one of the best health benefits of chia seeds is their rich fibre content. However, excessive intake of these tiny seeds may upset your stomach and you may soon experience gastrointestinal issues. Some symptoms you may then encounter are abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, and diarrhoea.
  3. Harmful for Mint Allergic People:
    Since chia seeds belong to the mind family of herbs, people allergic to mint, should stay away from chia seeds. If anyone who is allergic to the mint family herbs and shrubs consumes chia seeds, he/she may experience itching on the tongue or lips, diarrhoea, and vomiting.

How to enjoy chia seeds benefits?

With a mild taste profile, chia seeds can be easily incorporated into any food item of your liking. They swell in size by several times and form a jelly like coating all around them. You can add them to food items with water in them directly or soak them beforehand in water to add to numerous dishes. Here is a list of ways one can consume chia seeds:

  • Smoothies
    One of most popular ways of enjoying chia seeds health benefits is to incorporate them in smoothies. One to two tablespoons of soaked chia seeds can add texture to the smoothie and increase its nutrition content.
  • Salad dressings
    You can make chia sprouts and add them on top of your salad to enjoy the crunchy texture and up the nutrition.
  • Pudding
    Soaked chia seeds can be incorporated in puddings; chia pudding flavoured with chocolate and/or coconuts is becoming quite popular.
  • Bakery items
    Including chia seeds into baked goods, such as a muffin, banana bread, and cake, can enhance the nutritional composition of them while blending perfectly with the flavours of any dish.
  • Granola bars
    A homemade granola bar with chia seeds and other nuts and seeds can be a great way to enjoy chia seeds health benefits.
  • Flavoured water with chia seeds
    One of the easiest ways to enjoy the benefits of chia seeds is to add them to a bottle of water along with chopped/sliced pieces of your favourite fruits (such as oranges).
  • Substitute of breadcrumbs
    Grinding chia seeds into a fine powder and using them as a binder in place of breadcrumbs in certain recipes is a great way of getting chia seeds benefits.

Conclusion

You can add these crunchy nutty seeds to almost any dish, be it a smoothie, dessert, or salad. In case, your chia seeds taste bitter, better discard them because chances are that they have gone rancid and may not yield the above-mentioned chia seeds benefits. Always, try to buy pure and organic chia seeds to get the best benefits for your health.

FAQs

What are the main benefits of chia seeds?

Chia seeds are known around the world for their numerous health benefits; some of the most prominent benefits are listed below:
• These seeds help in maintaining a healthy gut.
• They promote healthy weight loss.
• They are beneficial for heart health.
• These seeds prevent aging.
• They improve bone health.
• They help with skin hydration and radiance.
• They aid in managing blood sugar levels.

Are chia seeds good for you?

Yes, chia seeds are considered a superfood all around the world. They are gaining traction rapidly in the fitness industry and are often used as supplement to maintain optimum health.

Can you eat chia sprouts?

Yes; chia sprouts are not only easy to grow, but also beneficial for you. One can grow chia seeds in the following way:
• Start by sprinkling a thin layer of chia seeds on the base of a terra-cotta dish or an earthen pot.
• Place the dish upside down in a plate of water to let the utensil absorb water.
• Cover it with another dish or a cloth.
• Spray the seeds with fresh, clean water after 1 to 2 days.
• Harvest the sprouts in 2 to 3 days.

One can grow chia sprouts on any highly absorbent surface in place of an earthen pot, which can be enjoyed as a salad topping or other ways.

What is the nutritional value of chia seeds?

Chia seeds are an excellent source of fibre and protein that can help you feel full for long. Listed below is the nutritional composition of about 100 g chia seeds:(16)
• Protein: 18.29 g
• Total fat: 42.16 g
• Fibre: 27.3 g
• Total sugar: 1.55 g
• Calcium: 255 mg
• Iron: 5.73 mg
• Potassium: 813 mg
• Phosphorus: 642 mg
• Zinc: 4.34 mg
• Copper: 1.22 mg
• Thiamine: 1.64 mg
• Niacin: 3.08 mg
• Folate: 87 µg
• Choline: 78.7 µg

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Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

Dr.William Lewis Aliquam sit amet dignissim ligula, eget sodales orci. Etiam vehicula est ligula, laoreet porttitor diam congue eget. Cras vestibulum id nisl eu luctus. In malesuada tortor magna, vel tincidunt augue fringilla eget. Fusce ac lectus nec tellus malesuada pretium.

MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) Gold Medalist (2009-2015) M.D In General Medicine (2016-2019), CCID (Infectious Diseases)

PG Diploma In Clinical Endocrinology v& Diabetes, Clinical Associate in Non-Invasive Cardiology

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