You must have heard a lot about chia seeds but do you know why its so popular? Here are 12 health benefits of chia seeds and how you can include them in your diet.
Chia seeds are like little health superheroes among all the different types of seeds. They’ve become really popular because they’re a nutritional powerhouse that offers a plethora of health benefits. Not only are they super nutritious, but they also taste really good! People love adding them to things like chia seed pudding or smoothies. If you’re a health-conscious person, trying out chia seeds in your diet would be a wise idea. But before you do that, it’s good to know all the health benefits of chia seeds.
In recent years, chia seeds have gained popularity as a superfood. Health Shots spoke to Nutritionist, and Dietitian Deepti Lokeshappa, to know why you should also incorporate chia seeds into your diet. Lokeshappa says that thanks to their nutrient-rich profile, chia seeds improve overall health and contribute to the well-being of an individual.
12 health benefits of chia seeds you should know
1. Packed with essential nutrients
Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They are an excellent source of fibre, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants. Consuming chia seeds regularly can contribute to overall nutrient intake, supporting various bodily functions.
2. Contains antioxidant properties
Chia seeds contain antioxidants such as quercetin, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid, which helps protect the body from oxidative stress. Lokeshappa says, “Antioxidants neutralise free radicals and unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to various chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.”
3. Rich in anti-inflammatory properties
Chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues, including heart disease and arthritis. Chia seeds contain antioxidants that possess anti-inflammatory properties, helping to combat inflammation in the body. Including chia seeds in your diet may reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with inflammation.
4. Promotes heart health
The omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), play a crucial role in maintaining heart health. According to a study published in Food Science and Nutrition, ALA has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases. It helps reduce blood pressure, inflammation, and improve cholesterol levels.
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5. Good for bone health
Chia seeds are high in nutrients that are essential for bone health, such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. According to Lokeshappa, “These nutrients are crucial for maintaining strong and healthy bones and reducing the risk of conditions like osteoporosis.”
6. Maintains healthy digestion
The high fiber content in chia seeds supports a healthy digestive system. Fiber promotes regular bowel movements, prevents constipation, and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. A healthy digestive system is essential for nutrient absorption and overall well-being.
7. Supoorts weight loss
“Chia seeds are an excellent source of dietary fibre. This soluble fibre aids in the formation of a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Moreover, it induces a feeling of fullness, which may support weight loss efforts by curbing excessive calorie intake,” explains Lokeshappa.
8. Regulates blood sugar
The soluble fibre in chia seeds plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels. The fibre, fat, and protein break down carbohydrates. As a result, it curbs the glycemic index of carbohydrate-containing foods and prevents rapid spikes and crashes in blood glucose levels.
9. Improves brain health
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are essential for brain health. While chia seeds contain ALA, which the body can convert to DHA to some extent, they may still contribute to cognitive function and support overall brain health.
10. Gluten-free alternative
Chia seeds are naturally gluten-free, making them an excellent alternative for individuals with gluten sensitivity or those following a gluten-free diet. They can be incorporated into various recipes, providing a nutritious option for those with specific dietary requirements.
11. Increases sexual desire
Chia seeds are incredibly nutrient-dense because they contain a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, dietary fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals, according to research released by IMR Press. Chia seeds can enhance your sex desire because of their fatty acids. These tiny seeds help to raise testosterone naturally, and testosterone is linked to sex drive, energy, and feelings of power.
12. Controls hair loss
Chia seeds are a great source of minerals, dietary fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which can slow down hair loss. Additionally, the zinc and copper found in chia seeds help prevent scalp infections and hair thinning.
How to consume chia seeds?
1. Chia seed pudding: Mix chia seeds with your favorite milk (dairy or plant-based), add a sweetener like honey or maple syrup, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Wake up to a delicious and nutritious chia seed pudding.
2. Smoothies: Boost the nutritional value of your smoothies by sprinkling in a tablespoon or two of chia seeds. They add a subtle crunch and provide an extra dose of fiber and protein.
3. Yogurt toppings: Sprinkle chia seeds on top of your yogurt or Greek yogurt for an easy way to incorporate them into your breakfast or snack. It adds texture and a nutritional boost.
4. Add in salad: Sprinkle chia seeds on your salads or mix them into salad dressings. They add a nutty flavor and contribute healthy fats, fiber, and protein to your greens.
5. Chia seed oatmeal: If you consume oatmeal for breakfast, you can also add chia seeds to it.
Follow these easy ways to consume chia seeds and enjoy!