Chia seeds have been touted as a “superfood” for years. While chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, claims that they cause weight loss, prevent cardiovascular disease and lower blood pressure and cholesterol are still scientifically unsubstantiated. However, early studies of chia seeds have been promising.
Why Are Chia Seeds Healthy?
Chia seeds pack a substantial amount of several key nutrients your body needs. These are just a few of the nutritional benefits you’ll get from chia seeds:
Chia seeds contain 11g of fiber, nearly half the daily recommended intake, per ounce. The insoluble fiber in chia seeds keeps bowel movements regular, prevents constipation and helps you feel fuller after eating — which could aid with weight loss when you follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
Your body needs fat to function. Dietary fats provide energy, support cell growth, protect your organs, help your body absorb nutrients and produce important hormones. Chia seeds are an excellent source of heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These essential dietary fats cannot be made in the body, so we have to get them from food.
Chia seeds contain antioxidants, which may prevent or delay cell damage and help alleviate inflammation.
You can find 4g of protein in one ounce of chia seeds. And, unlike most plant proteins, chia seeds are a complete protein. That means they contains all nine essential amino acids — which have to come from diet, because our bodies can’t make them.
Just one tablespoon of chia seeds delivers at least 7% of your daily intake of calcium, iron and magnesium. Among other functions, these minerals keep bones healthy and blood oxygenated.
Adding Chia Seeds to Your Diet
It’s easy to sprinkle chia seeds into your diet — literally! Mix them into smoothies, yogurt or oatmeal; add them to pasta dishes; or incorpore them into baking mixes. You’ll enjoy an extra boost of protein and fiber, and your body will thank you.