Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
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By Apollo Pharmacy, Published on - 21 December 2021, Updated on - 07 January 2022
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The growing interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle has encouraged studies on the health benefits of chia seeds. Often referred to as a ‘superfood’, chia seeds offer benefits beyond their nutritional value like lowering cholesterol levels and improving digestive health. These seeds can be eaten raw or cooked, and are often used in less nutritious foods like pastries and snacks to produce a positive health outcome. Chia seeds are also known to reduce appetite and weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose levels.
Chia seeds: a powerhouse of nutrients
Chia seeds are tiny, edible, oval-shaped seeds of the plant Salvia hispanica, native to central and southern Mexico. These seeds appear grey with black and white spots. Despite their small size, chia seeds are packed with nutrients that offer several health benefits.
Chia seeds are a rich source of:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Chia seeds are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids and are a complete protein, as they contain all the nine essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized in the body.
Health benefits of chia seeds
- Aids weight loss: Due to their high-fiber and low-calorie content, chia seeds are known to support weight loss. The fiber content makes one feel fuller, making weight management easier.
- Improves digestive health: The dietary fiber in chia seeds helps with healthier bowel movements. After consumption, chia seeds form a substance that resembles gelatin because of their soluble fiber content. This substance promotes the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut.
- Lowers the risk of heart diseases: Quercetin, an antioxidant present in Chia seeds can lower the risk of heart diseases by lowering high blood pressure.
- Supports bone health: Calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus in chia seeds contribute to better bone health. Calcium is necessary for building healthy bones and teeth. Two tablespoons of chia seeds can provide 18% of the daily calcium requirement, which is vital for maintaining bone mass and strength.
- Improves dental health: Nutrients present in chia seeds like Calcium, Zinc, Phosphorus, and Vitamin A are great for the teeth. While calcium helps to strengthen the teeth, zinc helps in preventing plaque build-up. Zinc also contains antimicrobial properties that help prevent bad breath.
- Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes: Chia seeds are a great source of fiber. Fibre is known to improve blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance, thereby lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Fights inflammation: Dietary fiber is known to regulate the immune system and control inflammation. Hence, consuming chia seeds can help reduce the risk of conditions associated with inflammation such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. Chia seeds can also lower cholesterol levels.
The worldwide popularity of chia seeds is driven by its nutritional profile that offers a wealth of health benefits. Chia seeds can contribute more to disease prevention when included as part of a well-balanced diet, and healthy lifestyle behaviors. Over-consumption of chia seeds must be avoided as it may lead to bloating, abdominal discomfort, and constipation. People on medications for diabetes or high blood pressure are advised to consult doctors before including chia seeds in their diet.
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