Health Benefits of Chia Seeds - GulfToday

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Abeer Majed Al Kusayer

Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Al Qassimi Hospital – Ministry of Health and Prevention

Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Al Qassimi Hospital – Ministry of Health and Prevention

Seeds

The photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods. They are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for your body and mind, due to their high nutritional value and health benefits.

What are chia seeds?
Edible seeds, originating from a plant that lives in the desert called Salvia hispanica. It is one of the most important whole grain for the human body, and it is introduced into the diet for satiation and weight loss, as well as other benefits. Chia seeds are characterised by their high nutritional value, as they contain in their composition omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants and calcium.

Chia seeds include a long list of health benefits including:

1. High nutrients and low calories
Despite its ancient history as a staple food, chia seeds have only become known as a superfood in modern times.
One serving (28 grams) of chia seeds contains:

- Fibre: 11 grams.
- Protein: 4 grams.
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3).
- Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
- Manganese: 30% of the recommended daily amount.
- Magnesium: 30% of the recommended daily amount.
- Phosphorous: 27% of the RDI.

 
healthy food
 The photo has been used for illustrative purpose.

It also contains a decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3, niacin, potassium, vitamin B1 thiamine and vitamin B2. In about two tablespoons, it provides only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrates, making it one of the world’s best sources of nutrients.

2. Loaded with antioxidants
Chia seeds provide a high amount of antioxidants that protect the delicate fats in the seeds and fight the production of free radicals that can damage cell molecules and contribute to aging and diseases such as cancer.

3. All the carbohydrates in it are “fibre”
One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains 12 grams of carbs, yet 11 of those grams are fibre that your body doesn’t digest. Fibre does not raise blood sugar and does not require insulin to be eliminated. Although it belongs to the carbohydrate family, its health effects are fundamentally different from those of digestible carbohydrates such as starch and sugar.

The digestible carb content is just 1 gram per ounce, which is very low, making chia a very low-carb friendly food. Because of their high soluble fibre content, chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach. This increases satiety, slows down food absorption and automatically helps you eat fewer calories.

4. High quality in protein
They contain about 14% protein which is very high compared to most plants. They also have a good balance of essential amino acids, so your body is able to utilise their protein content.

5. Lose weight
Many health experts believe that chia seeds can help with weight loss, as their soluble fibre absorbs large amounts of water and expands in your stomach, increasing fullness and slowing food absorption.

6. Reduces the risk of heart disease
Because chia seeds are rich in fibre, protein, and omega-3s, they may reduce the risk of heart disease. Studies in mice have shown that chia seeds can reduce some risk factors, including triglycerides, inflammation, insulin resistance and belly fat, and may also raise HDL cholesterol.

Some studies show that chia seeds significantly reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for heart disease.

In general, chia seeds are likely to be beneficial for heart health, but they likely won’t have a significant impact unless accompanied by a beneficial lifestyle and other dietary changes.

7. Important for the bones
Chia seeds are rich in many nutrients important for bone health, and this includes calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein, they contain calcium at 18% of the recommended daily amount, in 28 grams, which is higher than most dairy products.

8. Lowering blood sugar levels
Animal studies have found that chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity, blood sugar control, and stabilise blood sugar levels after meals. Some human studies support this by showing that eating bread containing chia seeds reduces the rise in blood sugar after a meal compared to bread without any chia seeds.


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