Despite their ancient past as a dietary staple, chia seeds became known as a modern-day superfood only recently.
Chia seeds are prized for their potential to provide renewable resources. In reality, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength”.
In the last few years, chia seeds have become more popular. Health-conscious individuals from all over the world rave about it.
This makes them one of the best sources of many primary nutrients in the world, calorie for calorie.
In this article, we’ll discuss the health benefits of chia seeds and why you should be adding more of it to your meals.
What is chia seeds?
Chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet, considering their tiny size. They contain fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and different micronutrients.
The seeds of Chia stem from the Salvia hispanica L. plant and were once a major food crop in Mexico and Guatemala.
As early as 3500 BC, Aztecs cultivated it as a food source and used in religious ceremonies.
Others consider chia seeds, native to Central America, a superfood.
You can turn it into pudding, mixed into oatmeal or smoothies, and even baked into bread! They’re not just flexible, they’re chock full of health.
1. Is a functional food
Chia can be referred to as ‘functional food’ because, in addition to contributing to human nutrition, it boosts the index of satiety.
But that’s not all. It also prevents cardiovascular diseases, disorders of the inflammatory and nervous system, and, among others, diabetes.
Today, due to its functional components, chia seed offers a huge potential in the industries of hygiene, food, animal feed, pharmaceuticals, and nutraceuticals, among others.
Functional foods such as chia seeds provide health benefits beyond their nutritional profiling. Hence they are termed as superfoods.
They provide numerous health benefits for all individuals.
2. Improves menopausal health
A study proved that chia seeds increase Plasma ALA and EPA in postmenopausal women. Ten women age 55 and above were given 25 g/day of chia seeds for seven weeks.
The results of this study showed that there was a significant increase in Plasma ALA and EPA. There were no changes in DPA and DHA.
Women over 50 should start taking chia seeds regularly for optimum health. Ideally, eating about one tablespoon of chia seeds every day can help achieve the desired goals.
3. Helps in weight loss
A research in Nutricion Hospitalaria found the relation between chia seeds and weight loss. Researchers enrolled participants in a 12-week program. Participants consumed chia seeds for 12 weeks.
The results showed that chia seeds significantly reduce weight among all individuals. It also resulted in reducing waist circumference and improved body composition index.
4. Improves blood pressure
Supplementation of chia seeds showed that there was a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and inflammatory markers.
Regular consumption of chia seeds improved the blood pressure values of the participants of the study.
The healthy fats present in chia seeds increase the elasticity in muscles of arteries and veins and as a result, decrease the blood pressure.
5. Reduces oxidative stress
Several studies have shown the relationship between good health, a highly nutritious diet, and reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Chia seeds are a major vegetal source of essential fats such as omega 3 (n-3) fatty acids that are extremely important for human health.
A study showed that consumption of chia seeds significantly decreased oxidative stress and leads to better overall human health.
6. May have anti-cancer properties
Chia seeds can be used to prevent carcinogenesis. A study showed that chia seeds along with many other seeds are rich in a peptide called Lunasin.
This peptide works against cancer-causing agents and helps in fighting cancerous cells. Regular consumption of chia seeds by cancer patients also shows decreased severity of symptoms.
7. Improves cardiovascular health
A study showed that chia seeds help in controlling diabetes and its complications.
Regular consumption of chia seeds helps in decreasing blood glucose level especially postprandial glucose levels.
Chia seeds are also used as a means of dietary intervention when controlling the patient’s blood glucose level.
Omega 3 fatty acids in chia seeds are heart-healthy. They help in improving overall heart health.
Chia seeds are a superfood as they have numerous health benefits ranging from a decrease in postprandial glucose levels to reducing insulin sensitivity.
It also helps to decrease high blood pressure and oxidative stress in many individuals. They can also improve endothelial function, fibrinolysis, coagulation, and iron status.
If you have dysphagia, be mindful of chia seeds. Dysphagia is a disorder that causes trouble swallowing (as was the case with this patient) or other digestive health problems.