Chia Seeds have been identified as a superfood and come with tons of health benefits and uses. The good thing is they are easy to incorporate into your diet and you can eat chia seeds every day. They can even be good for weight loss!
In this post, you will learn about all the different chia seed benefits for health, as well as the benefits for your skin and hair as well.
We will also look at any possible side effects of chia seeds, and when you might want to be careful. (But usually, chia seeds are perfectly fine!)
You can learn more about chia seeds overall in the Chia Seeds Ultimate Guide!)
Let’s look at some of the great benefits of chia seeds now!
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia Seeds are little black and white seeds that come from the plant salvia hispanica. Salvia Hispanica is a member of the mint family.
Chia seeds have increased in popularity in recent times as a superfood with many benefits which we will cover.
Chia seeds are believed to have first been used by the Aztecs in Central America. They were used there for natural healing, and to increase the strength and stamina of the warriors.
“Chia” actually means strength in the Mayan language and runners and warriors would use them for endurance. It has a related plant, the golden chia, that was used by Native Americans in the Southwest United States. Chia seeds are native to areas in Mexico and Guatemala and are mostly cultivated in North and South America.
Chia Seeds Benefits
Chia seeds provide benefits for your health, skin, and hair. First, let’s look at some of the top health benefits that chia seeds can provide!
What are the Health Benefits of Chia Seeds?
1) Chia Seeds Have Lots of Fiber
Chia Seeds come loaded with fiber. They are probably the highest-fiber food I’ve ever been able to find.
In fact, only two tablespoons of chia seeds provide 10 grams of fiber, or 36% of your recommended daily value.
2) Chia Seeds are High in Antioxidants
Chia seeds are a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help our bodies to fight free radicals caused by stress and the environment.
3) Chia Seeds Help with Inflammation
The antioxidants and Omega fats in chia seeds help to reduce inflammation. In fact, a study found that chia seed consumption helped to reduce inflammation markers in the bloodstream.
4) Chia Seeds Help with Constipation
Chia seeds have tons of fiber which can really help if you are constipated. They can also help to keep you regular.
5) Chia Seeds Might Improve Mood
The University of Pittsburgh found that Omega-3 fats can greatly improve mood. Some experts also say that eating chia seeds might fight anxiety and depression.
Chia seeds contain high amounts of Omega-3s ALAs. ALAs have also been linked with treatment for depression and improvement of mood.
6) Chia Seeds Can Improve Your Gut Microbiome
The healthy fiber that is found in chia seeds can help to feed the good bacteria that are found in your gut. This can help your gut microbiome to improve.
7) Chia Seeds Can Help You Lose Weight
Chia seeds can help with weight loss. This is because they are high in fiber and provide some protein. Also, chia seeds continue to expand in your stomach, making you feel more full and satiated. This helps you to not be as hungry and to eat less food.
Also, fiber increases the amount of calories that your body burns. This is because fiber has a thermic effect and takes extra calories in order to digest. Learn more at Vegan Diet for Weight Loss Shown to be Very Effective.
One study found that obese diabetes patients who took chia seeds saw increased weight loss and a reduced waist circumference.
How to Use Chia Seeds to Lose Weight
Because chia seeds provide tons of fiber and protein and help you feel full for longer while also stabilizing your blood sugar levels, they are great for weight loss. This is especially so when combined with a healthy Plant-Based Diet. You can find numerous ways to use chia seeds for weight loss at How to Use Chia Seeds to Lose Weight.
8) Chia Seeds Might Help Prevent Cancer
Chia seeds contain lots of antioxidants and fiber. These antioxidants can help in neutralizing free radicals which might lead to cancer. Study Fiber also has been shown to help in reducing certain types of cancers as well. All this means that chia seeds could help to prevent cancer and have anti-cancer properties.
9) Chia Seeds Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
The high amount of fiber in chia seeds can help to lower blood pressure levels and help those with high pressure. Also, Omega-3s thin the blood and also helps in controlling blood pressure.
A 12-week study found that taking 35 grams a day of chia seed flour lowered blood pressure in those with high blood pressure.
10) Chia Seeds Provide Plant-Based Protein
Chia seeds have a decent amount of plant-based protein. In fact, 15% of their calories come from protein. They also contain a good amino acid profile, making them highly usable in the body.
11) Chia Seeds Might Help with Sleep
The amino acid tryptophan is responsible for creating melatonin and serotonin in the body, both of which help with sleep. Chia seeds contain high amounts of this amino acid tryptophan. In this way, chia seeds might help you to relax and sleep better.
12) Chia Seeds Provide High Amounts of Omega-3 Fats
Chia seeds are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s can be hard to get in the standard American diet. Also, they are harder to find in a plant-based source as well.
Chia seeds provide a good amount of Omega-3s though. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provide 5 grams of ALAs.
Recent studies have shown that soaking chia seeds increase the levels of ALA and EPA found in the bloodstream when consuming chia seeds. And grinding chia seeds increases these levels even more.
13) Chia Seeds Can Help Poop Regularly
Since chia seeds provide a good amount of fiber, this can not only help with constipation but can also help you poop on a regular basis. This can ensure that you are flushing toxins from your body, and can help prevent you from becoming constipated in the first place.
14) Chia Seeds Can Help Blood Sugar Levels
Chia seeds are extremely low on the Glycemic Index. In fact, they have a Glycemic Index of only 1. That basically means they have no effect on blood sugar levels and can in turn help to stabilize blood sugar levels, thanks to their high amount of fiber.
Try some easy chia pudding in the morning to help with blood sugar levels or a plant-based oatmeal breakfast with chia seeds and flax seeds.
15) Chia Seeds Provide Calcium
Chia seeds provide calcium to the diet. They are a plant-based source of calcium, and two tablespoons provide 14% of the daily recommended value.
16) Chia Seeds Provide Iron
Chia seeds are a plant-based source of iron. Two tablespoons will provide 12% of the daily recommended value of iron.
17) Chia Seeds Provide Zinc
A good plant-based source of zinc is chia seeds. Two tablespoons will provide a nice 12% of the daily recommended value for zinc.
18) Chia Seeds Provide B Vitamins
Chia seeds have a couple of B vitamins (but not B12). They provide 15% of the daily values for B1 and 16% of the daily values for B3.
19) Chia Seeds Have Magnesium
Chia seeds provide a good amount of your daily magnesium needs. Two tablespoons will give you almost a fourth of your daily needs at 23% of your daily value.
20) Chia Seeds Give You Phosphorus
Chia seeds provide 20% of your daily value of phosphorus in only two tablespoons.
21) Chia Seeds May Help Protect the Heart
Chia seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease. Fiber which is found in chia seeds has been linked to lower risks of heart disease. ALAs, which are also found in chia seeds have been linked to a decreased heart disease risk as well. There have been no direct studies on humans with chia seeds and their effects on the heart, but studies done on rats involving chia seeds saw lowered markers for heart disease risk factors in the rats.
A lowering of blood pressure through the use of chia seeds can also be beneficial in preventing heart disease.
22) Chia Seeds May Strengthen Bones
Chia seeds might help to strengthen bones due to their providing calcium, as well as magnesium and phosphorous. All of these may help contribute to stronger bones.
ALA like those found in chia seeds has also been found to have a connection with increased bone density.
23) Chia Seeds Improve Exercise Performance
Chia seeds are popular with runners and were also used by the Ancient Aztec warriors as a source of energy.
The Omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds can help to give you energy and boost athletic performance. There are even recommendations to take chia seeds a couple of hours before working out or competition in order to boost performance.
24) Chia Seeds May Improve Dental Health
Chia seeds contain calcium which strengthens teeth. They also contain Phosphorus, Vitamin A and Zinc, all of which help to support the health of the mouth.
25) Chia Seeds Are Easy to Use
Chia seeds are easy to add to the diet. You can easily sprinkle them on foods, easily adding chia seeds to your existing foods. You can soak them in water or a plant-based milk or simply create chia seed water.
Chia Seeds Benefits for Skin
Chia seeds can provide benefits for the skin as well as health. Some people will even make chia seed masks to put on the skin as well. Let’s look at the benefits of chia seeds for the skin.
1) Chia Seeds Fight Free Radicals
The sun can cause free radicals and damage the skin. Chia Seeds have tons of antioxidants that can fight these free radicals.
2) Chia Seeds Strengthen the UV Barrier
Omega-3s which are found in chia seeds can help to strengthen skin against UV damage.
3) Chia Seeds Reduce Fine Lines and Wrinkles
By minimizing free radical damage, chia seeds can help to prevent future wrinkles and fine lines in the skin.
4) Chia Seeds Help Reduce Inflammation
The high levels of antioxidants present in chia seeds help to reduce inflammation, both in the body and the skin.
Chia Seeds Benefits for Hair
Chia seeds can also benefit the hair as well. Some will even put chia seeds directly on the hair. Let’s look at some of the hair benefits of chia seeds.
1) Chia Seeds Help Hair Growth
Nutrition is important for growing your hair and keeping it healthy. The protein found in chia seeds, along with the minerals such as zinc and copper help to promote hair growth.
2) Chia Seeds Strengthen Hair
Consuming foods with protein such as chia seeds helps the hair to restore keratin, hair’s main protein.
3) Chia Seeds Reduce Hair Loss
Nutrition is also important for preventing hair loss. Omega-3 deficiency has been linked to hair loss. Also, a loss of iron is tied to hair loss in women. Chia seeds provide lots of Omega-3s and iron, as well as amino acids and other nutrients.
4) Chia Seeds Reduce Thinning Hair
Copper is found in chia seeds and can help fight against thinning hair.
5) Chia Seeds Improve Scalp Health
Zinc as found in chia seeds and helps to improve scalp health, which leads to healthier hair growth.
Side Effects of Chia Seeds
Since chia seeds are just a naturally found food, there really aren’t many side effects to worry about. But like anything, they should be taken in moderation. Below is a list of some possible effects to watch out for.
Chia Seed Allergies
Although it’s extremely rare, there have been reported cases of chia seed allergies for some people.
Too much fiber when your body is not used to it can cause an upset stomach. This can include bloating and gas, diarrhea, or constipation.
Make sure that you start out slowly with chia seeds and don’t start eating too many at first. Increase the amount of chia seeds you eat every day only when you are comfortable with the amount that you are taking.
This way your body can adjust. Also, don’t eat too many chia seeds in a day, and look for other sources of fiber besides just chia seeds.
(For more on how much chia seeds to eat daily, see How Much Chia Seeds Per Day Should You Eat?)
Furthermore, make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated when eating chia seeds.
Although also rare, there is a slight risk of choking or having chia seeds stuck in the throat. Although there is only one case that has been reported of this happening, there was a man who ate dry chia seeds and then drank water, and experienced a blockage in the esophagus caused by the swelling chia seeds.
Try not to eat too many dry chia seeds at one time. And to be safe, you should soak or grind the chia seeds first.
There are some reasons to avoid chia seeds if you are on certain medications though. (Note: I am not a medical professional, and this site does not provide medical advice, so please consult your doctor with any questions or before making any changes.)
If you are on some type of blood thinner, then some medical sites will advise you not to consume chia seeds. This is because they are high in Omega-3 fats which have a thinning effect on the blood.
Blood Pressure Medication
Also, if you are on blood pressure medication, you might want to avoid chia seeds, since chia seeds can lower your blood pressure. This might lower your blood pressure too much if you are taking medication at the same time.
Finally, chia seeds are good for diabetes, but you might want to avoid them if you are on diabetic medication. This is because chia seeds can lower blood sugar levels, which might have adverse effects when taking insulin medication.
Chia Seeds Nutrition
Here is the nutritional profile for 1 ounce of chia seeds.
|Amount||% Daily Value|