Gut Health Superfood - 4 Benefits of Chia Seeds

If you are a fan of seeds, we are sure that you stumbled across the benefits of chia seeds. These tiny black seeds are not only considered a superfood but also versatile and fun to cook with. We took a closer look on the main 4 health benefits when consuming chia seeds on a daily basis.

Chia Seeds can be used in all sorts of ways! You can sprinkle the superfood into your favorite dishes or salads, add to your morning yogurt or oatmeal or use them to make your favorite chia seed overnight pudding. As you can see, the list and options are endless and the food combinations are beyond your imagining. In other words, you will never get bored of consuming chia seeds and the health benefits are what we will focus on in todays read.

1. High nutrition profile

A ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contain 138 calories. By weight, they are 6% water, 48% carbohydrates (of which are 83% fiber), 34% fat and 19% protein. Furthermore, chia seeds are also gluten free. 

The significant high fiber content in chia seeds, makes them a great food for improving digestion and keeping you regular and the fiber amount in chia seeds helps to improve your microbiome by feeding the good bacteria in the gut. Also, due the high fiber content in chia seeds, only a single ounce can help you to feel fuller for longer and may reduce the needs to extra calories or unnecessary snacks throughout the day. 

In addition, the high fat content in chia seeds is super beneficial, since most of the fat content comes from omega 3-fatty acids. Consuming a higher ratio of omega 3's vs. omega 6-fatty acids in a daily basis, is associated with improved cardiovascular and brain health and improves inflammatory markers in the body. 

Furthermore, chia seeds contain a significant amount of protein per serving. Protein is essential for maintaining muscle size, strength, and growth in general. Think of your hair, nails, body and vitality when thinking of protein. It is a great seed to add to your protein packed meals or smoothie recipes. 

Lastly, chia seeds are a great source of many essential minerals but a poor source of vitamins. They are high in manganese, phosphorus, copper, selenium, iron, magnesium, and calcium.

2. High in antioxidants

Chia seeds also contain a high amount of antioxidants that have been associated with less chronic disease, including heart disease, inflammation in the body and even cancer. These are the main beneficial plant compounds contained in chia seeds:

  • Chlorogenic acid.¬†This antioxidant may lower blood pressure
  • Caffeic acid.¬†This substance is abundant in many plant foods and may help fight inflammation¬†in your body
  • Quercetin.¬†This powerful antioxidant may reduce your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, and certain forms of cancer
  • Kaempferol.¬†This antioxidant has been associated with a decreased risk of cancer and other chronic diseases

Note: Clean, dry chia seeds have an extended shelf life, as their antioxidants protect their fats from damage.

3. May support weight loss

Adding chia seeds to your daily meals can be extremely advantageous. As mentioned above, just an ounce of chia seeds provides a significant amount of fiber and protein. Both, are associated with increased fullness after eating as both increase the satiety factor and help to decrease or regulate appetite.

In order for weight loss to occur, a caloric deficit has to occur over time. If appetite decreases and fewer calories are consumed on a daily basis, overall weight will be dropped as a result. In other words, chia seeds by itself will not result in weight loss (there are no magic foods), however, adding them to your diet will be the first step to feeling fuller and overall consuming less food throughout the day.  

4. May help lower the risk of heart disease

Although, more human research is needed how exactly chia seeds can benefit people suffering from heart disease, it is evident that the ingredients in chia seeds are heart healthy. 

As discussed above, chia seeds are one of the highest omega 3 containing plant foods. Omega 3-fatty acids are essential for heart health and should be prioritized when dealing with or preventing heart disease.

Furthermore, the soluble fiber contained in chia seeds has shown to have many heart healthy benefits, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and keeping your arteries clear from any atherosclerosis (plaque from the arteries walls).

Overall, if you suffer from or want to avoid any cardiovascular issues in the long term, we highly recommend reading more into the benefits of chia seeds and adding a serving into your daily routine.

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About the author

Chiara Ghanem