The nutritional profile of chia seeds
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant called Salvia hispanica. The superfood is full of fiber and protein that can make you feel full longer.
A one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains:
- 138 calories
- 9.75 g of fiber
- 4.69 g of protein
- 179 milligrams (mg) of calcium
- 95 mg of magnesium
- 2.19 mg of iron
- 115 mg of potassium
Chia seeds are also a good source of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming foods rich in omega-3s can help lower your risk of depression, heart disease and inflammatory bowel disease.
What are the health benefits of chia seeds?
Multiple studies suggest that chia seeds offer the following health benefits.
- Improved blood sugar control – beneficial for people with diabetes
- Healthy cholesterol levels
- Lowered blood pressure
- Reduced inflammation due to its antioxidant content
- Regular bowel habits, which addresses constipation
- Thinner blood due to omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent blood clots
In a study published in the journal Nutricion Hospitalaria, researchers looked at whether chia seeds can help promote weight loss. A total of 26 volunteers were divided into two groups: One group consumed 35 g of chia flour per day, while the other group was given a placebo. (Related: Reasons to eat chia seeds, the fiber-rich superfood.)
The scientists reported significant weight loss among those who ate chia flour. In addition, participants with abnormal cholesterol levels experienced significant improvements after taking chia flour. The team concluded that chia flour not only helps reduce overall cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (or “good” cholesterol) levels, but it also helps reduce weight.
In another study published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, scientists assessed if chia seeds can help promote weight loss in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The team worked with 77 participants who were either overweight or obese; the participants were asked to follow a calorie-restricted diet for six months.
The first group added chia seeds to their daily diet, while the second group ate an oat bran-based control food. The volunteers who ate the control food lost 0.3 kg (0.66 lb) on average. Meanwhile, the chia seed group lost an average of 1.9 kg (4.19 lb).
The participants who ate chia seeds also experienced a significant reduction in waist circumference, unlike those in the control group.
Adding chia seeds into a healthy diet
There are many ways to consume chia seeds. Here are some ways to incorporate this superfood into a healthy diet if you want to lose weight:
- Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your green smoothie.
- Add chia seeds to your homemade trail mix.
- Cook with chia flour.
- Sprinkle chia seeds on top of a veggie salad.
- Smear nut butter on sliced fruit, then sprinkle chia seeds.
- Top a cup of fruit salad with chia seeds.
- Make a low-sugar jam. Puree some berries, then add chia seeds.
- Make a chia seed pudding. Add chia seeds into milk or yogurt, then set it aside overnight to thicken. Add honey or fruit when eating chia seed pudding for a healthy and delicious breakfast.
- Make chia water. Soak one-part chia seeds in 16-parts water for 20–30 minutes. Drink chia water on its own or add honey, lemon or fruit juice to give your drink a flavor boost.
Follow a balanced, low-calorie diet and eat chia seeds to promote weight loss naturally.