15 Scientifically Backed Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

15 Scientifically Backed Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds have been called a superfood for many generations, and the research shows that our ancestors were right!

These tiny seeds are from the plant Salvia hispanica L. (commonly known as chia), which is a typically from Central and South America.

Chia seeds are growing in popularity since they are an excellent source of high quality protein and fiber that is low on calories. They have been shown to be beneficial for those with diabetes and hypertension, and helps contribute better colon health.

Here are 15 health benefits of chia seeds:

The Biggest Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

1. Chia Seeds Are Nutrient Dense

The chia seed is extremely nutrient dense and contains protein (15–25%), fats (30–33%), carbohydrates (26–41%), high dietary fiber (18–30%), and rich in antioxidants [1].

Chia seed also contains 25% to 40% oil with 60% of it comprising (omega) ω-3 alpha-linolenic acid and 20% of (omega) ω-6 linoleic acid which are required to be consumed since they cannot be synthesized by the body [2].

A serving of 100g of chia seeds contains [3]:

  • 486 calories
  • 42g carbohydrates (of which 34.4g of that is fiber)
  • 30.7g is fat (of which 23g is omega fatty acids)
  • 16.5g protein

The minerals breakdown is [4]:

  • Calcium (63.1% rda): Essential for bones, muscles and nerves [5]
  • Phosphorus (86% rda): Contributes to bone health and tissue maintenance [6]
  • Magnesium (83.8%): Critical for numerous important roles in the body [7]
  • Iron (42.9%): Important for red blood cell production

This whole grain food is a great source of fiber especially for those with gluten allergy. The increased fiber has been shown to be helpful to reduce diabetes risk and improve colon health [8, 9, 10].

The omega fatty acids have been shown to help decrease chronic disease of heart disease and inflammatory disease [11, 12].

2. Chia Seeds Can Help You Lose Weight

Numerous studies have shown that high fiber and protein diets contribute to weight loss since they can increase your metabolic rate to burn more calories and lose fat [13, 14, 15, 16, 17].

Furthermore, the fiber and protein helps suppress appetite further contributing to healthy weight loss [18, 19, and 20].

However, the studies regarding chia seeds on weight loss have been disappointing showing that increase consumption of chia seeds has no significant effect on body weight [21, 22, 23].

Readers should be reminded that weight loss requires a sustained and combined effort of both exercise and proper caloric deficit along with high protein and fiber. Simply adding just chia seeds to your diet will not alone lead to weight loss.

Thus, if you do incorporate chia seeds in your diet, it is best to add this along with other lifestyle changes for best results such as calorie restriction and exercise.

3. Chia Seeds Are A Great Fiber Source

Based on the chart above a serving of 100g of chia seeds contains 42g of carbohydrates and 35g of fiber. Keep in mind that fiber is not digested by the body and will not raise the sugar; thus, it is not counted towards your carb count.

Fiber has been shown to help with weight loss and keeps your gut healthy [24, 25, 26]. Interestingly, the fiber in chia seeds is shown to be higher than quinoa, flaxseed, and amaranth, even greater compared with other dried products [27].

4. Chia Seeds Help Fight Constipation

Numerous studies have shown that increased dietary fiber intake leads to more consistent stool frequency in patients with constipation, and also leads to healthier gut flora [28, 29, 30].

As discussed, chia seeds are rich in fiber which will contribute to better gastrointestinal health.

5. Chia Seeds Are A Quality Protein Source

Given the high protein in chia seeds this can help build muscle and reduce appetite and food cravings by 60% [31, 32, 33]. But how much protein should you eat a day?

It is safe to say that if you consume the rda recommendations 0.8-1.3g of protein per kg of your bodyweight per day you would meet most of the guidelines.

However, if you do serious weightlifting, consider aiming to eat 1.5g of protein per kg of your bodyweight per day. Fortunately, chia seeds are a great source of protein to add to your diet to meet many of your protein goals.

6. Chia Seeds Are A High Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have shown numerous benefits such as improving cardiovascular disease [34, 35], reducing risk of metabolic syndrome [36] and inflammation [37], and improve joint pain and movement [38].

Interestingly, gram-for-gram chia seeds contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon!

However, they contain mostly alpha linolenic acid (ala) which humans are inefficient at converting to active forms.

It turns out that omega-3s from plants are inferior to animal sources for this reason. Also, it should be noted that chia seeds do not contain Docosahexaenoic Acid (dha) which can be found in fish or fish oil [39].

7. Chia Seeds Can Lower Risk of Heart Disease

It is interesting to note that although chia seeds have high protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, the studies are inconclusive in regards to how they reduce cardiovascular risk.

A systemic review was recently done which assess seven studies and showed that the studies did not demonstrate statistically significant results in relation to cardiovascular disease (cvd) risk factors [40].

Another study showed that consuming 50g a day of chia seed vs placebo for 12 weeks by overweight/obese men and women had no influence on body mass or composition, or various disease risk factor measure [41]. Further studies will need to be done to see if there is an effect.

8. Chia Seeds Contain Bone Nutrients

Chia seeds contain calcium, phosphorus which is important for bone health [42]. The calcium content is great for those who do not consume dairy.

9. Chia Seeds Improve Your Teeth

Since chia seeds contain calcium and phosphorus, they can help contribute to stronger teeth as well as bone health.

In addition, the zinc in chia seeds prevents tartar by keeping plaque from mineralizing onto your teeth and has an antibacterial effect to keep bad breath at bay [43]!

10. Chia Seeds Help Fight Cancer

A recent study published in the renowned Journal of Molecular Biology in 2013 showed that the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha lipoic acid (or ala) limited the growth of cancer cells in both breast and cervical cancers [44].

Chia seeds are rich in ala, however, at this time more studies need to be done to better assess how the chia seeds can be used for prevention and treatment of cancer.

11. Chia Seeds Boost Your Mood

Chia seeds may play an important part in elevating your happiness due to the amino acid tryptophan found in them.

Tryptophan plays a key role in producing the neurotransmitters serotonin which contributes to your happiness [45].

12. Chia Seeds Help With Diabetes

A recent study showed that diabetics who consume chia seeds reduces both cardiovascular risk factors while maintaining good glycemic and lipid control in people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes [47].

Another study showed that overweight type 2 diabetics who supplemented with chia seed may help reduce weight loss and decrease inflammation [48, 49].

13. Chia Seeds Are Rich In Antioxidants

The chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants which protect the sensitive fats in the seed itself from going bad [50].

Studies also report that antioxidants from foods may help fight of free radicals which contribute to damage to molecules and cancer progression [51, 52, 53].

14. Chia Seeds Boost Athletic Performance

A recent study showed that during an hour long treadmill run, a group that consumed chia seeds had similar performance times to those that consumed a carbohydrate energy drink [54].

This is interesting since it suggests that we can substitute chia seeds for carbohydrate heavy energy drinks to get similar results.

Given the omega-3 fatty acid component of chia seeds, this study shows that increased intake of chia seeds for endurance events lasting more than 90 minutes can help athletes decrease their sugar intake while increasing their intake of Omega 3 fatty acids, but offered no performance advantages [55].

However, other studies also showed no significant improvement on athletic performance [56]. More randomized control trials need to be done to get a conclusive result.

15. Chia Seeds Are Easy To Add To Your Diet

Chia seeds are a versatile food that can be eaten mixed in pudding, oatmeal, or smoothies, or even added to salad dressing.

You can even make your own protein bars, waffles, and muffins. Chia seeds are a delicious way to add more fiber to your diet!

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In summary…

The Best Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

  1. Chia seeds are nutrient dense
  2. Chia seeds can help you lose weight
  3. Chia seeds are a great fiber source
  4. Chia seeds help fight constipation
  5. Chia seeds are a quality protein source
  6. Chia seeds are a high source of omega-3 fatty acids
  7. Chia seeds can lower risk of heart disease
  8. Chia seeds contain bone nutrients
  9. Chia seeds improve your teeth
  10. Chia seeds help fight cancer
  11. Chia seeds boost your mood
  12. Chia seeds help with diabetes
  13. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants
  14. Chia seeds boost athletic performance
  15. Chia seeds are easy to add to your diet

 health benefits of chia seeds

Rajiv M Mallipudi, md, mhs is an internal medicine resident physician, personal trainer, athlete and author. He has over a decade of personal training experience and helped hundreds of clients of all levels achieve their weight loss and fitness goals. This inspired him to work as a clinical researcher at the nationally recognized Johns Hopkins Hospital Weight Management Center. During medical school he and his classmates created the health and wellness organization, med fit, which provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the medical student body. In his spare time, Dr. Mallipudi enjoys playing ice hockey, dancing, and training for his next bodybuilding and powerlifting competitions.

disclaimer: Fast Proven Health and its authors may offer health, fitness, nutritional advice but this is designed for educational and informational purposes only. All the information contained on Fast Proven Health and its articles is not intended to constitute the practice of medicine. The information provided in articles on Fast Proven Health should never be relied on, or used as a substitute or replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Fast Proven Health and its authors are not responsible for any actions or inaction, safety or liability on a User’s part based on the information that is presented in the Site. If you seek medical advice, speak to a health professional in person about your particular issues.

30 comments… add one
  • abby May 16, 2018, 7:15 pm

    i love chia seeds, i have them everyday. ever since i read about the benefits, i had them in the morning, in the afternoon and anytime of the day!

  • matilda May 17, 2018, 8:20 pm

    wow! chia seeds are one of my favorite foods! i am happy to know that it has lots of health benefits. i didn’t know that i can add it to oatmeal. now i can make my kids eat them too.

  • kaela May 18, 2018, 7:43 pm

    i’ve been suffering from constipation since the last trip i had overseas. i will try chia seed on my diet and definitely lots of water to fight it. i hope this helps.

  • primrose May 21, 2018, 9:55 pm

    i want to lose weight and since chia seeds can be easily added to my diet, i can eat them everyday and reach my goal!

  • shannon May 22, 2018, 4:23 pm

    i love chia seeds because of their fiber content. of course, i don’t need to mention their weight loss benefits, they’re just really rich in so many nutrient that the body needs.

  • zoey May 24, 2018, 2:31 am

    i love chia seeds so much! this powerful super food truly deserves the top rank! if you are looking for a healthy food that you can eat to improve your overall health and well being, go for chia seeds.

  • ruffa May 24, 2018, 11:10 pm

    rich in antioxidants and can boost my mood? well, sign me up please!

  • phoebe May 25, 2018, 6:55 pm

    chia sees are small but they have lots of health benefits! that is why i love them! i always put them on top of a salad! yummy!

  • karla May 29, 2018, 9:06 pm

    i love chia seeds! i have them on my smoothie, lemonade and even coffee. it has great benefits which makes me love it more,

  • elsie May 30, 2018, 6:13 pm

    this post answered my question about what eating chia seeds is good for. now i will make it a part of my daily routine.

  • wilma May 31, 2018, 7:32 pm

    my friend introduced chia seeds to me and i love it! i even liked it more when i read this article because i discovered its health benefits!

  • liliana June 4, 2018, 10:36 pm

    i enjoy reading your articles. i am learning a lot about health and nutrition and it is really a big help for moms like me.

  • iowa June 6, 2018, 8:35 pm

    for me, number 2 is the best benefit of eating chia seeds! why? because every girl wants a slim and healthy body, right?

  • grace June 7, 2018, 8:02 pm

    chia seeds are a great source of fiber. They are good for me since i am allergic to gluten. My friends love them too!

  • erin June 8, 2018, 9:04 pm

    chia seeds are my mood booster! definitely my favorite snack! i am always happy so my friends don’t see wrinkles on my face. haha

  • izzy June 11, 2018, 9:23 pm

    i am diabetic and i am happy to know that chia seeds can help me deal with it. chia seeds is actually one of my favorites!

  • regina June 12, 2018, 10:02 pm

    chia seeds are loaded with nutrients that can have important benefits for our body and brain.it is called superfood and i agree that it is worthy of that term.

  • samille June 14, 2018, 3:25 am

    these are great chia seed benefits anyone would want to know! but are there any side effects of eating chia seeds? just curious.

  • sidney June 15, 2018, 6:12 am

    this food is my source of fiber! I add them to my muffins and bread! Very delicious!

  • mira June 16, 2018, 5:28 am

    impressive! now i have reasons to stock up on this superfood. so happy i came across this post!

  • amy June 19, 2018, 9:51 am

    thank you for breaking down the minerals and nutritients that chia seeds provide. this is a good write that is worth sharing.

  • jacinta June 20, 2018, 2:50 am

    nice article! now I don’t have to wonder what other food i could try to help me lose weight. i will definitely go for chia seeds!

  • beatrice June 21, 2018, 4:09 am

    i told my husband about the health benefits of chia seeds and he wanted to try them! now i am looking for easy recipes to try so i can add chia seeds to our diet!

  • athena June 22, 2018, 4:15 am

    what i like more about chia seeds is that they are versatile and easy to use. you can easily add it to many foods and drinks. i also use them as an egg substitute in recipes.

  • brigette June 22, 2018, 2:19 pm

    chia seeds are the best! i make lemon water everyday and i add them for a healthier drink. i love them on other drinks and food too!

  • willow June 22, 2018, 6:51 pm

    chia seeds can really do a lot of good things for our bodies! just imagine all these benefits! there is actually no excuse to not include these powerful seeds in our daily diet!

  • amelie June 27, 2018, 3:49 am

    these are astounding benefits! this post made me believe that chia seeds are really beneficial for our health!

  • nadine July 3, 2018, 5:52 am

    it is no wonder that these seeds are so popular. not many foods are this rich in nutrients!

  • gemma July 4, 2018, 2:25 am

    this food is just to good to pass up! look at its amazing benefits! i also love the flavor. i can incorporate it into my daily diet easily.

  • estelle July 4, 2018, 10:52 pm

    wow! i really need this! i will start eating chia seeds for better life and health! will share this wonderful news to my friends too!

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