Chia seeds come from a plant called Salvia Hispanica. They are tiny seeds, black in color and don’t have much of a taste. This is why they can be easily added to any dish without worrying that picky-eaters might complain. Recently, chia seeds have gained a lot of popularity and have come to be known as a “superfood.”
They might be tiny in appearance, but they are mighty in terms of nutrients. Chia seeds are rich in fiber and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous. Other than these, they also comprise of zinc, vitamin B1, B2, and B3. What’s more, chia seeds are packed with a high content of antioxidants and good quality proteins. Omega-3 fatty acids are also a part of the composition, but their quality is inferior.
Keeping in view that these tiny, black seeds are impressively dense in nutrients, they come with multiple benefits for one’s health. Here are 5 health benefits that chia seeds offer:
1 – They May Help Lose Weight
While opinions of experts are mixed on this, it is said by many that chia seeds may help reduce weight. This is because they contain soluble fiber which can make one feel fuller for longer by slowing down food absorption and expanding the stomach. Moreover, the protein in chia seeds may reduce one’s appetite too.
2 – They May Reduce Cardiovascular Risk
Chia seeds comprise of protein, fiber as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies on rats show that these seeds can lower the levels of triglycerides. They can also lower insulin resistance and inflammation. Other studies show that they can reduce high blood pressure levels. In this manner, they may be of use in taking down one’s risk of heart-related problems.
3 – They May Improve Bone Health
Rich in nutrients that are required by the bones, chia seeds can be good for your bone health as well. They contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and protein. The quantity of calcium in chia seeds is more than it is in most dairy products. However, along with these bone-healthy nutrients, chia seeds also comprise of phytic acid which can reduce calcium absorption.
4 – They Can Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal and natural response of the body to an infection or injury. However, prolonged inflammation can be severely harmful. Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease as well as cancer. Some studies show that chia seeds can reduce inflammation markers. However, more studies are needed to confirm this.
5 – They Can Improve Digestive Health
Chia seeds may also be helpful in improving digestive functionality. They contain fiber which can prevent constipation along with promoting regular bowel movements. Daily bowel movements allow for the excretion of toxins and bile.
Do chia seeds have any negative side effects?
Though they come with a bunch of health benefits, there are also some adverse side effects that accompany the excess use of chia seeds. These include:
1 – They can cause digestive discomfort
To some extent, chia seeds can be of assistance in improving digestive health. But eating too many of these may result in digestive problems such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, etc. This is because too much fiber doesn’t suit everybody. For those who have irritable bowel syndrome, they may experience flare-ups.
2 – They come with a risk of choking
For those who already have difficulty swallowing, chia seeds can increase the risk of choking. This is because chia seeds expand in liquid when with water. This can cause a blockage in the throat which can dangerous. This is why it is best to first soak the seeds for up to 10 minutes before consuming them.
3 – They share a link with prostate cancer
Some studies suggest that the ALA omega-3 fatty acid found in chia seeds is associated to prostate cancer. However, where some studies show that a link between the two other researches reveal that ALA can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Therefore, more research is needed here.
4 – Some people are allergic to chia seeds
Some individuals may be allergic to chia seeds. The allergic reaction may include symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, itching of the mouth, dizziness, shortness of breath and even anaphylaxis. If you notice these symptoms, its best to stop using them immediately.
Chia seeds boast a grand nutritional profile with fiber, minerals, and antioxidants being a part of them. This enables them to improve one’s health in a number of ways from taking the risk of cardiovascular problems down to improving digestion and bone health. The best part is that these seeds can be made a part of one’s routine easily.