Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds & Side-Effects You Should Know
Loaded with fiber and high in quality protein, the many health benefits of chia seeds are responsible for its ever-growing popularity as a superfood in recent years.
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Super nutritious, super healthy, and superfood, Chia Seeds are tiny, oval-shaped seeds that have a considerable demand amongst those who like to lead a healthy and fit life. Packed with nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, chia seeds have many health benefits to their credit, and when consumed regularly can have a positive impact on your health.
Chia seeds can help you lose weight, they are loaded with dietary fibre and are recommended to people who suffer from chronic constipation too. Not to forget that these small, black seeds are also loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids and essential minerals.
Chia seeds originated in Central America and their cultivation dates back to the Aztecs, a civilization that flourished in central Mexico during the 14th century. Today, chia seeds have become an important part of a healthy diet. Chia seeds can be consumed in a variety of ways like adding them to smoothies, making them a part of your granola bars, adding them to your breakfast cereals, or even adding them to desserts and baked goodies.
Being small in size (1mm in diameter), chia seeds are easy to ingest; in fact, they are commonly consumed as a secondary ingredient that is added to a meal.
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Watch: Amazing Benefits of Chia Seeds For Health, Skin, And Hair
Nutritional Values Of Chia Seeds
Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds | Why You Should Eat Chia Seeds
The list of benefits that are associated with the consumption of chia seeds cannot be small, as these fiber-rich, omega-3s-filled, and mineral-loaded seeds have a pretty long list of tasks to perform in our body.
8 Important Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
1. Chia Seeds For Weight Loss
As mentioned before, chia seeds are loaded with fiber. Thus, adding chia seeds into your diet results in the consumption of a high fibre diet. And one of the basic features of dietary fiber is that they take a long time to be absorbed by our body, keeping us full for a longer time and preventing us from overeating or binging between meals.
The best time for the consumption of chia seeds is said to be in the morning alongside your bowl of cereal or glass of juice.
2. Chia Seeds Are A Good Source Of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds, being rich in omega-3 fatty acids, are responsible for maintaining blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Consumption of these tiny little seeds may improve your cardiovascular health.
3. Chia Seeds Are Loaded With Minerals
Apart from the omega-3 fatty acids present in chia seeds, the other set of nutrients that help to control our blood pressure are minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. The work of these minerals is to adversely impact the work of salt in our bloodstream.
Due to a high intake of salt, the excess water finds it hard to escape the cell walls, which makes our blood pressure rise. But a diet rich in minerals such as iron and magnesium, which are soluble in water, balances the sodium content in our blood, which makes it easier for the excess water to reach the bladder. Chia seeds have a healthy dose of iron, calcium, and magnesium, making them apt for consumption by people who suffer from high blood pressure.
4. Beneficial For Our Immune System
Antioxidants are beneficial for our immune system, and chia seeds have high antioxidant value. Daily consumption of chia seeds can protect our cell walls from the attack of external pathogens, as the antioxidants present in chia seeds form a protective layer over the cell walls.
These seeds are the natural medicine to build our immunity.
5. Improves Bone Health – Good Source of Calcium
Our body removes calcium, a mineral required for development, through the release of excess water. However, if the amount of calcium that is present for replacement is less than the amount of calcium removed, it can cause the bones to become weak and brittle. The high quantity of calcium present in chia seeds helps in balancing the calcium content of our bones and keeps them strong.
6. Chia Seeds For Healthy Skin
Since chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants, they can help us maintain healthy skin by preventing free radical damage and oxidative stress. This helps to promote tissue repair aggressively, thus protecting our skin from getting damaged.
7. Chia Seeds Improve Heart Health
Since chia seeds help in maintaining blood pressure, consuming chia seeds help promote overall heart health. A healthy blood pressure, among other reasons, can also decrease the risk of any cardiovascular disease which might affect your health.
8. Chia Seeds Improve Oral Health
As mentioned before, chia seeds are rich in minerals such as calcium and zinc, which are also beneficial for oral health. Calcium is one of the basic building blocks of your teeth, thus regular consumption of chia seeds could ensure a sufficient amount of calcium intake resulting in a stronger set of teeth.
9. Chia Seeds Are Rich In Antioxidants
Chia seeds are rich in many nutrients. But another area in which chia seeds excel is their antioxidant content. Even though there is not enough evidence to prove the benefits of antioxidants, researchers agree that providing the body with antioxidants from healthy foods can positively affect health.
Antioxidants present in chia seeds ensure no new free radicals are produced, which are a major cause of aging and diseases such as cancer.
10. Reduction Of Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation occurs due to some infection or injury, like red or swollen skin. Even though inflammation aids in the body’s healing and fighting against bacteria, infection agents, and viruses. But sometimes, inflammation can even harm your body. In fact, chronic inflammation increases the risk of heart diseases and cancer.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits may lead to chronic inflammation. There are no fixed symptoms of chronic inflammation, it is measured by the inflammatory markers in the blood. In a 3- month study, 20 diabetic people consumed chia seeds, and their inflammatory markers reduced by 40%.
11. Easy Incorporation In Diet
Chia seeds can be easily added to your diet. They can be consumed raw, can be added to your breakfast cereals, etc. Adding chia seeds to any dish will boost up their nutritional value. If you wish to know more ways in which you can consume chia seeds, also read:
Side-Effects Of Chia Seeds
The benefits of chia seeds are many, from heart health to aiding in weight loss. However, even the healthiest foods have some side-effects associated with them.
These should be especially considered when the said food is not consumed in moderation or consumed by someone who has an already existing health issue that could be counterproductive. Chia seeds are no exception to this generally healthy eating principle.
If consumed in excess or without proper care, chia seeds can have some notable side effects on your health too.
Some of the side-effects associated with chia seeds are listed below:
1. Low Blood Pressure
Since the high content of omega-3 fatty acid in chia seeds is responsible for maintaining our blood pressure, higher consumption of the omega-3 rich chia seeds would further decrease the blood pressure below the desired point. This is especially important to note for those who may already be suffering from low blood pressure.
2. Causes Discomfort In The Stomach
Due to the high fiber content present in chia seeds, a higher intake of chia seeds can result in high fiber consumption, which can further slow down your digestion as fiber itself is hard to digest and can cause indigestion bloating.
Always exercise moderation.
Though allergic reaction caused by the consumption of chia seeds is quite uncommon, however, it is important to consult someone before including them in your diet, as many such cases have been reported.
4. Not To Be Taken With Medication
Since chia seeds are also responsible for lowering the blood sugar level, it is essential to note that chia seeds should be avoided if taken alongside diabetes medication. Consult your doctor before including chia seeds in your diet.
5. Risks Of Choking
Chia seeds must be consumed with the utmost care, as they are still in a solid form while being consumed. So, make sure that you regulate your chia seed intake, and are careful about it.
Though there might be a lot of side-effects associated with an unregulated consumption of chia seeds, it is important to note that none of these side-effects would appear if consumption is in a more moderate fashion.
As the demand for chia seeds goes through the roof, many new and creative ways of eating chia seeds have become popular.
Ways to add Chia Seeds
Some of the ways in which you can make the most out of your daily diet of chia seeds are:
1. In Fruit Juices
One of the most common ways of chia seeds consumption is by mixing it with some water-containing liquid. One of the properties of chia seeds is that they can absorb about 8 times their weight, and it also develops a jelly-like covering when immersed in water, due to which it becomes easier for it to go down your throat.
2. Best Type Of Breakfast
Since chia seeds are loaded with fiber and rich in protein, it is advised to eat them first thing in the morning in order to start your day in an energized way. So, adding chia seeds to your bowl of cereals will only increase its nutritional value, making your diet healthier than before.
3. Sprinkle on Salads And Soups
Another common way of chia seeds consumption is to use it as a topping. The bland taste of chia seeds gives them the ability to add to the nutrient value of your meal without dampening its taste. Chia seeds can be used on top of salads and soups for a healthy crunch.
4. Use As An Ingredient In Energy Bars
Due to the recent rise in the demand for healthy food items, many manufacturers have innovated ways of providing their customers with healthier ingredients in energy and granola bars.
One such item you can find in the supermarket near you is the energy bar filled with chia seeds and granola, a protein-rich and fiber-loaded item that one can eat while satisfying one’s sweet tooth. Watch out for added sugar in the nutrition labels.
5. Used In Baked Goodies
Just like other raw ingredients such as oats, chia seeds can also be used in baked goodies. A handful of chia seeds are first mixed with the bread dough before baking it, thus increasing its nutritional value and giving it an interesting texture. However, it is also important to note that excessive and unregulated consumption of chia seed-based bread may not be beneficial in the long run.
Other recipes such as pastas and smoothies can also have chia seeds as their secondary ingredient. Chia seed pudding is not a common recipe for consumption, but it sure does put a dessert-twist on those black and white fiber-rich dots.
Chia Seeds: What’s the need?
Chia seeds have been cultivated for centuries and are also believed to be one of the main plants cultivated by the Aztecs (a pre-colonial civilization of central Mexico). In short, the bottom line is that chia seeds have been eaten for its beneficial nature by many people across the world.
Though the benefits of its consumption outweigh its side-effects, it is also important to note that a healthy diet is easily achieved if we are responsible for our choices.
1. How to eat chia seeds?
Chia seeds can be added whole or ground to smoothies, milkshakes, puddings, juices, milk, etc. It can also be sprinkled on salads for that extra crunch. If you love baking, you could add chia seeds in your bakes like breads and cakes. You can also add chia seeds in tea!
2. Is it mandatory to soak chia seeds in water ?
It is not mandatory to soak chia seeds in water, but hydrated chia seeds generally makes you feel fuller for long and tend to digest a little slower than usual. So, you can have it by soaking it in the water or just as it is.
3. Is it okay to consume chia seeds daily?
Chia seeds are said to be highly nutritious; however it is best to first consult your nutrition expert or doctor for any bad effects. Best is to consume these seeds in moderate quantity. No matter how healthy a food item is, anything excess is bad. Take small quantities of chia seeds in the beginning to check for your tolerance and gradually increase it.