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What Are the Benefits of Chia Seeds?

1. More nutrients, Less Calories Chia Seeds are natural, organic, gluten free and a NON-GMO whole grain food. According to United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture research service, 28 grams (2 table spoons) serving of Chia Seeds contains:

  1. Fiber:11 grams.
  2. Protein:4 grams.
  3. Fat:9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
  4. Calcium:18% of the RDA.
  5. Manganese:30% of the RDA.
  6. Magnesium:30% of the RDA.
  7. Phosphorus:27% of the RDA.
They also contain a decent amount of Zinc (for healing), Vitamin B3 (for brain cells), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2. Of all these nutrients, it only supplies 101 calories (excluding fibre) and one gram of digestible carbohydrate.  

 2.  High in antioxidants

Chia Seeds has an extremely high amount of antioxidant hence slows down the ageing process and fights cancer (Pratt, Miller and Taga, 1984; Haegen, Shigenaga and Ames, 1993; Reyes-Caudillo et al, 2008). While antioxidant supplements are not very effective, getting antioxidants from foods can have positive effects on health (Gluud et al, 2007)  

3. High in Protein

Chia Seeds contain about 23.4% protein, which is very high compared to other plants (Bushway et al, 1981). Protein is the most weight loss friendly nutrient in the diet since protein reduces appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and desire for snacking by 50% (McCrory and Campbell, 2011).  

4. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chia Seeds contain 8 times more Omega-3s than salmon. However, Omega-3s are mostly Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA). ALA needs to convert into the “active” forms, EPA and DHA, before it can be used by the body. Studies have shown that Chia Seeds (especially if they are milled) can increase blood levels of ALA and EPAbut not DHA hence undermines Chia Seeds as an Omega 3 source.  

5. Reduce cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation

The most successful application of Chia Seeds to date was in a study on type 2 diabetic patients. In the study conducted by Vuksan et al in 2007, 20 diabetic patients received either 37 grams of Chia Seeds or 37 grams of wheat bran for 12 weeks. After consuming Chia Seeds, the participants’ blood pressure went down by 3-6 mm/Hg; inflammatory went down by 40% and risk factor, vWF decreased by 21% (Vuksan et al, 2007). The high percentage of soluble fibre content in the whole Chia Seed could also play a role in lowering plasma cholesterol levels (Chicco et al, 2009) Chia Seeds, soy protein, oats and nopal, has been shown to lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides, increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol and reduce inflammation (Guevara-Cruz, 2012). However, a diet with only Chia Seeds does not have conclusive results. Hence, it seems that reduction of cholesterol using Chia Seeds must be accompanied with soy and oats.  

6. Chia Seeds are good for athletes

In a study conducted by Illian, Casey and Bishop in 2011, 6 participants consumed either Gatorade (which is high in carb), or a mix of half Gatorade/half Chia Seeds. They were then measured on performance of a timed 10km run and it was found that there was no difference between the two groups. This implies that replacing half of the Gatorade with Chia Seeds did not reduce the performance of the athletes which suggests that Chia Seeds can help athletes perform while increasing their intake of nutrients and decreasing their intake of sugar.  

How can I incorporate chia seeds into my daily meals?

You can simply add Chia Seeds into water, smoothies, tea, coffee or salad. Stay tuned for our next post on Chia Seeds recipe!   What are the potential side effects? There are no known side effects for Chia Seeds except when eating large amounts of it without soaking it.    Get a bag of premium, organic, natural Chia Seeds for $10.80 (150g) and $24.40 (500g) from Superlife.co
References
  • Ames, B. N., Shigenaga, M. K., & Hagen, T. M. (1993). Oxidants, antioxidants, and the degenerative diseases of aging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 90(17), 7915-7922.
  • Bjelakovic, G., Nikolova, D., Gluud, L. L., Simonetti, R. G., & Gluud, C. (2007). Mortality in randomized trials of antioxidant supplements for primary and secondary prevention: systematic review and meta-analysis. Jama, 297(8), 842-857.
  • Bushway, A. A., Belyea, P. R., & Bushway, R. J. (1981). Chia seed as a source of oil, polysaccharide, and protein. Journal of Food Science, 46(5), 1349-1350.
  • Chicco, A. G., D’Alessandro, M. E., Hein, G. J., Oliva, M. E., & Lombardo, Y. B. (2009). Dietary chia seed (Salvia hispanica L.) rich in α-linolenic acid improves adiposity and normalises hypertriacylglycerolaemia and insulin resistance in dyslipaemic rats. British journal of nutrition, 101(01), 41-50.
  • Guevara-Cruz, M., Tovar, A. R., Aguilar-Salinas, C. A., Medina-Vera, I., Gil-Zenteno, L., Hernández-Viveros, I., … & Torres, N. (2012). A dietary pattern including Nopal, Chia seed, soy protein, and oat reduces serum triglycerides and glucose intolerance in patients with metabolic syndrome. The Journal of nutrition, 142(1), 64-69.
  • Illian, T. G., Casey, J. C., & Bishop, P. A. (2011). Omega 3 chia seed loading as a means of carbohydrate loading. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(1), 61-65.
  •  McCrory, M. A., & Campbell, W. W. (2011). Effects of eating frequency, snacking, and breakfast skipping on energy regulation: symposium overview.The Journal of nutrition, 141(1), 144-147.
  •  Reyes-Caudillo, E., Tecante, A., & Valdivia-López, M. A. (2008). Dietary fibre content and antioxidant activity of phenolic compounds present in Mexican chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds. Food Chemistry, 107(2), 656-663.
  •  Taga, M. S., Miller, E. E., & Pratt, D. E. (1984). Chia seeds as a source of natural lipid antioxidants. Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 61(5), 928-931.
  •  Vuksan, V., Whitham, D., Sievenpiper, J. L., Jenkins, A. L., Rogovik, A. L., Bazinet, R. P., … & Hanna, A. (2007). Supplementation of Conventional Therapy With the Novel Grain Salba (Salvia hispanica L.) Improves Major and Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Type 2 Diabetes Results of a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care, 30(11), 2804-2810.
  •  Weber, C. W., Gentry, H. S., Kohlhepp, E. A., & McCrohan, P. R. (1991). The nutritional and chemical evaluation of chia seeds. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 26(2), 119-125.

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