Though small in size, chia seeds have innumerable health benefits. Tiny black seeds of the plant Salvia Hispanica, they are rich in magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Chia seeds are a part of the whole grains family and are naturally gluten-free. They have high amounts of antioxidants that fight free radicals, which damage cells and contribute to cancer and aging.[2,3,4,5]
High in fiber, chia seeds can absorb 10-12 times their weight in water. They become gel-like and expand in the stomach, making you feel full and curbing your hunger pangs. They are also a good source of essential amino acids, which the body uses to make proteins for growth, repair of body tissues and breakdown of food.[7,8]
Chia Seeds & Heart Health
Being rich in protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds help improve metabolic health. Clinical studies have shown that they reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, curb inflammation and increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lowering your risk of heart disease.[9,10] Animal studies, too, have found that chia seeds decrease insulin resistance and reduce belly fat.[11,12]
How To Take Them
- Soak 1tsp chia seeds in a cup of water. They’ll develop a gelatinous coating after 15 minutes. Strain them and add to a glass of your favorite fruit juice or milkshake. Drink twice daily to keep heart diseases at bay.
1. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2 (site accessed on 3 July 2015).
2. Martínez-Cruz O, Paredes-López O. Phytochemical profile and nutraceutical potential of chia seeds (Salvia hispanica L.) by ultra high performance liquid chromatography. J Chromatogr A. 2014 Jun 13;1346:43-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2014.04.007. Epub 2014 Apr 13. PubMed PMID: 24811150.
3. M. Silvia Taga, E. E. Miller, D. E. Pratt. Chia seeds as a source of natural lipid antioxidants.Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society
May 1984, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 928-931
4. Cutler RG. Antioxidants and aging. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991 Jan;53(1 Suppl):373S-379S. Review. PubMed PMID: 1985414.
5. Ames BN, Shigenaga MK, Hagen TM. Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1993;90(17):7915-7922.
6. Vázquez-Ovando Alfredo, Rosado-Rubio Gabriel, Chel-Guerrero Luis, Betancur-Ancona David. Physicochemical properties of a fibrous fraction from chia (Salvia hispanica L.). LWT – Food Science and Technology, Volume 42, Issue 1, 2009, Pages 168-173
7. Olivos-Lugo BL, Valdivia-López MÁ, Tecante A. Thermal and physicochemical properties and nutritional value of the protein fraction of Mexican chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.). Food Sci Technol Int. 2010 Feb;16(1):89-96. doi: 10.1177/1082013209353087. Epub 2010 Feb 5. PubMed PMID: 21339125.
8. María R. Sandoval-Oliveros and Octavio Paredes-López. Isolation and Characterization of Proteins from Chia Seeds (Salvia hispanica L.). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2013 61 (1), 193-201 DOI: 10.1021/jf3034978
9. Natalia Vazquez-Manjarrez, Martha Guevara, Armando Tovar, Adriana Flores, Brenda Ayala, Miriam Radyx, Isabel Medina, Miriam Aguilar, Edith Jimenez, Ximena Orozco, Marisol Castaño-Jameson, and Nimbe Torres. Effect of a dietary portfolio (nopal, soy, oat, chia seed and inulin) on lipoprotein subclasses and LDL-cholesterol in Mexican subjects with hypercholesterolemia (1035.8) April 2014 The FASEB Journal vol. 28 no. 1 Supplement 1035.8
10. Guevara-Cruz M, Tovar AR, Aguilar-Salinas CA, Medina-Vera I, Gil-Zenteno L, Hernández-Viveros I, López-Romero P, Ordaz-Nava G, Canizales-Quinteros S, Guillen Pineda LE, Torres N. A dietary pattern including nopal, chia seed, soy protein, and oat reduces serum triglycerides and glucose intolerance in patients with metabolic syndrome. J Nutr. 2012 Jan;142(1):64-9. doi: 10.3945/jn.111.147447.
Epub 2011 Nov 16. PubMed PMID: 22090467.
11. Ayerza R Jr, Coates W. Effect of dietary alpha-linolenic fatty acid derived from chia when fed as ground seed, whole seed and oil on lipid content and fatty acid composition of rat plasma. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007;51(1):27-34. Epub 2007 Mar 14. PubMed PMID: 17356263.
12. Chicco AG, D’Alessandro ME, Hein GJ, Oliva ME, Lombardo YB. Dietary chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) rich in alpha-linolenic acid improves adiposity and normalises hypertriacylglycerolaemia and insulin resistance in dyslipaemic rats. Br J Nutr. 2009 Jan;101(1):41-50. doi: 10.1017/S000711450899053X. Epub 2008 May 20. PubMed PMID: 18492301.