Chia seeds might just be the most popular superfood of this decade, and for good reason. These tiny seeds are incredibly healthful even in small portions – just a single tablespoon is bursting with essential nutrients that rival much larger servings of fruits and vegetables.
Though chia seeds seem like a relatively new invention to some people, we’ve actually been cultivating them for hundreds of years. Once upon a time, they were valued as an incredibly important crop, but then people seemed to lose interest – until, that is, scientists took a proper look at their health benefits and discovered how amazing they truly are.
Chia seeds are a natural, plant-derived ingredient that are usually sold in bags alone. They’re used for a variety of culinary purposes, from topping salads and stir fries to acting as an egg replacement in vegan dishes.
They’re most commonly used in desserts – chia pudding is a healthy breakfast or snacking option that’s particularly popular – and are also used in breakfast dishes like pancakes, porridge, and healthier muffins. Though chia seeds are pretty expensive, there’s a reason to make the investment. We’ll be covering the 14 most incredible health benefits of chia seeds in this short guide.
14 most incredible health benefits of chia seeds
1. They’re a good source of fibre
We all need fibre to maintain general health. A single tablespoon of chia seeds has 10 grams of fibre, which equates to around 40% of the daily intake.
This is seriously impressive – you won’t find many other foods that have this amount of fibre per gram. Chia seeds are a great option for people who don’t usually get enough fibre through their diets. The soluble fibre in chia seeds can also lower blood cholesterol levels.
2. They’re packed with antioxidants
The cells in our bodies are susceptible to damage by free radicals, which cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to the development of cancer and arthritis, and can also cause early aging signs like skin wrinkles and dark spots.
Chia seeds’ high antioxidant content helps to fight off free radicals and protect cells, reducing the speed of aging and the risk of disease.
3. They may support weight loss
A single serving of chia seeds contains around 100 to 120 calories. Compared to the majority of snacking foods we have access to, chia seeds are much lower in calorie content while boasting a higher nutritional value.
It’s thought that chia seeds can promote weight loss because they have a high fibre content. High-fibre foods tend to fill people up for longer, which means consuming chia seeds may suppress your appetite and make you less likely to reach for an unhealthy snack within the hour.
4. They’re great for brain health
One of the biggest benefits of chia seeds is linked to their omega 3 fatty acid content. These nutrients are vital for a healthy brain and body, and studies have found that omega 3s are capable of fighting depression and anxiety – one study even found that omega 3s may be as effective as commercial drugs in treating depression.
Omega 3s are particularly important for children’s brain health, and evidence suggests that children who consume omega 3s from chia seeds have improved eyesight, social skills and intelligence.
5. They may reduce risk of heart disease
Heart disease is incredibly common, and one of its contributing causes is poor diet. Making the right diet choices will lower your heart disease risk, and according to several studies, chia seeds can reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension, which is linked to heart disease.
This is because they’re a great source of protein, fibre and omega 3s. Though simply adding chia seeds to your diet isn’t enough to prevent heart disease entirely, you should be better protected if you combine eating chia seeds with following a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
6. They can improve bone health
Maintaining healthy bones increases in importance with age, and chia seeds are packed full of nutrients that can contribute towards healthy bones. They’re a great source of calcium, which is well-known for its bone health benefits.
Phosphorous, protein and magnesium are also found in chia seeds, and research suggests they can prevent osteoporosis, a degenerative bone disease that’s characterised by weak and brittle bones.
- NUTRIENT POWER: This omega powerhouse is full of other useful nutrients that will help men and women live a better life. In every serving of our chia seeds, you’ll find many nutrients, including omega-3, and fiber, making it a great bonus to any protein shake or juice. Because it is flavor neutral, you can add it to drinks and shakes of all flavors without them clashing.
- SIMPLY ORGANIC: Our Organic Chia Seeds are gluten-free, nut-free, low-carb, non-GMO, making them a great addition to your pantry, no matter your dietary restrictions. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, eating Keto or Paleo, or following another strict food regiment, you can easily incorporate this nutritious seed into your diet.
- WITH OMEGA-3 & MORE: Chia seeds are loaded with 5350mg of omega-3, 10g of fiber, which is 7% of the DV recommended amount for fiber! In the ancient Mayan language, the word “chia” meant strength, so the name speaks for itself. Our Organic Chia Seeds can also be used as an egg replacement in any meal! Simply mix 1 tbs. of chia seeds with 3 tbs. of water and let sit for 5 minutes.
- FLAVOR NEUTRAL FAVORITE: Chia seeds are a kitchen essential that many people don’t know about. You can add chia seeds to just about any food without having to worry about it upsetting the flavor of your dish. Because they are tasteless, you can use chia seeds to add texture to your food without drowning out the original flavor of your dish.
- NUTRIENT-DENSE SUPERFOOD - rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, iron and antioxidants
- NEUTRAL TASTE - chia seeds are virtually tasteless and can be added to your favorite foods. For added texture and protein, we recommend sprinkling chia seeds over oatmeal or adding them to smoothies, salads or yogurt for a satisfying and filling snack.
- HYDROPHILIC PROPERTIES - these mighty seeds hold up to 12x their weight offering powerful thickening abilities. Make a vegan egg substitute using 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of water.
- SUITABLE FOR ALL DIETS - this omega powerhouse supports all dietary restrictions considering they are gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, raw, low-carb and paleo-friendly.
- USDA Certified Organic Black Chia Seeds
- Batch Tested and Verified Gluten Free
- Great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, antioxidants and fiber
- Product of Latin America, Packed in California
- NUTRIENT DENSE: Rich source of protein, antioxidants, essential omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and fiber. Can be consumed and digested whole.
- PREMIUM DIET COMPATIBILITY: An ideal addition to vegetarian, vegan, whole food, paleo, ketogenic, and gluten-free diets.
- VERSATILE INGREDIENT: Add a healthful gourmet flair to salads, snacks, soups, and baked goods, or soak them for a satisfying pudding or gel.
- COMMITMENT TO QUALITY: Nutiva partners with organic farmers to source the world’s finest chia seeds and stringently adheres to USDA certified organic and non-GMO guidelines to deliver superfood that is good for you and good for the planet. We test our chia seeds beyond organic standards to deliver the best available.
7. They’re an anti-inflammatory food source
We already know that omega 3s are essential for good health – and they’re also one of the best anti-inflammatory nutrients out there. To avoid chronic inflammation, you should reduce your intake of inflammatory foods and focus on adding anti-inflammatory foods, like chia seeds, to your diet.
Some of the anti-inflammatory benefits of chia seeds are their ability to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and some autoimmune disorders.
8. They improve exercise performance
Amino acids are another healthful nutrient found in chia seeds. Research has found that these amino acids can improve muscle strength and exercise performance, which makes chia seeds a fantastic post-workout snack ingredient.
It’s thought that chia seeds can decrease exercise fatigue and muscle soreness. They’ve also been found to prevent muscle wasting in older people.
9. They support healthy digestion
When your digestion isn’t performing properly, it can throw your whole body out of whack. Poor digestion can affect health and wellbeing – on a small scale, it can cause wind, bloating and heartburn, while over a longer period of time, it can result in harmful toxins entering the blood and causing serious problems.
As a fantastic fibre source, chia seeds can keep food moving through the digestive tract as it should. They also promote the production of good gut bacteria, which is important for overall digestive health.
10. They lower type 2 diabetes risk
Chia seeds contain more omega 3s than any other grain seeds. Studies have linked omega 3s to a decreased diabetes risk in women. More research is needed before we can properly understand the benefits of chia seeds when it comes to type 2 diabetes, but what we know so far is promising.
11. They may reduce cancer risk
Again, it’s the omega 3s in chia seeds that make them a potential anti-cancer food. Researchers have looked into how omega 3 fatty acids may delay or reduce tumour development, specifically in breast and prostate cancer. We’re unable to produce omega 3s ourselves, which is why it’s so important that we add plenty of omega 3-rich foods to our diets, like chia seeds.
12. They boost skin health
If you’re into skincare, you’ll know how influential your diet can be on your skin health. Emerging studies have found that chia seeds can help to clean up acne, prevent dry, flaky skin, and give a “chia seed glow”.
Again, it’s probably the high antioxidant content of chia seeds that makes them so effective, preventing cell damage and slowing down aging.
13. They encourage hair growth
Chia seeds aren’t only beneficial for skin health – they can also encourage thick, strong, long hair. Because chia seeds are packed with plant-based protein, they can thicken and hydrate hair, preventing breakages and supporting hair growth.
The amino acids in chia seeds also promote elasticity and strengthens hair strands, and research even links them to a delay in greying. Search online for natural hair masks containing chia seeds and you’ll find many – but you’ll get bigger all-round health benefits from adding chia seeds to your diet.
14. They regulate immune function
Omega 3 fatty acids – which we know are found in chia seeds – are vital for proper immune system function. When we have good immune health, we can fight infection more effectively, reducing our susceptibility to illness and disease.
Chia seeds can help you to do this, so add them to your diet if you’re looking for a natural immunity boost.
Something to Remember
While chia seeds are both delicious and good for you, keep in mind that they absorb a lot of water, as they’re a very high fibre source. Too many chia seeds can absorb too much water in the digestive system, which may result in unpleasant symptoms like bloating, constipation and gas. Make sure to only eat the recommended amount of chia seeds per day, and drink a glass of water after consuming the seeds.
Chia seeds boast a whole range of health benefits and are incredibly easy to add to your diet. It’s easy to see why chia seeds are so popular – they’re a fantastic source of nutrients and offer a unique nutty depth to any dish. You can buy chia seeds online or from your local health store or supermarket.
The key to getting the most out of chia seeds is to moderate your intake. A little goes a long way, and you can get plenty of goodness out of just a couple of tablespoons
If you don’t already eat chia seeds, it’s definitely worth adding them to your diet. They’re one of the few superfoods that truly live up to their name.