search
Health Insiders
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds (According to a Nutritionist) & the Best Way to Eat Them

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds (According to a Nutritionist) & the Best Way to Eat Them

Are chia seeds good for you? Here are proven health benefits of chia seeds, supported by science.

chia seeds

These tiny seeds are nutritional powerhouses—and they can help with skin glow and belly fat, too. (Image/Shutterstock)

 

Chia Seeds: How Healthy are They?

I don’t know about you but whenever I hear or say chia, I think of chia pets! And yes, that little planter is indeed covered in a chia paste that is very similar to the way many of us will EAT chia seeds today!

The Aztecs ate this food as their main source of various nutrients and daily energy. Used as a thickener, egg substitute, and nutrient booster, you can’t go wrong by adding this tiny powerhouse to your plate.

 

What Benefits do Chia Seeds have?

According to Harvard T.H. CHAN | School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source report[1], it has the following benefits as mentioned below;

  • Reducing risks of obesity
  • Preventing a spike in blood sugar
  • May help increase energy
  • They can be hydrating since they absorb so much water
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Regulating heart rhythms
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Slowing digestion (which can help you feel satiated longer)
  • Promoting healthy digestion and bowel movements
  • Possibly reducing your risk of disease related mortality
  • May help you achieve a healthier complexion

 

Chia Seeds are High in Antioxidants

Chia seeds are so high in antioxidants, some researchers cite them as “potent” in antioxidant activity. Antioxidants protect the seeds from going rancid themselves and they will offer you protection as well.

They will help fight against premature aging, combat diseases, and help to keep your hair, skin, and nails beautiful and bright.

 

Chia is Full of Fiber and Protein

Providing 10g of fiber per ounce you will feel satiated, avoid constipation, and experience many other health benefits that come along with fiber.

Because of their high fiber content, they can absorb 10 times their weight in water and will expand to form a gel.

They are a good source of protein providing 4.7g per 1 ounce! As a vegan, this can be a great staple providing so much more than just a great source of protein.

 

How much Omega-3 is in Chia Seeds?

They’re rich in omega 3 fatty acids, specifically providing 5 grams in a 1 ounce serving. By the way, did you know that a 1 ounce serving is only 2 tablespoons!

Healthy fats are beneficial for heart health, neurodevelopment in infants, fighting against cancer, overall eye health, and has been shown to reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

These powerhouse seeds contain more calcium than many dairy foods providing 18% of the RDI in one ounce. So this could be a great addition if you limit dairy from your daily food intake.

Still not convinced how amazing they are? Chia seeds will also provide you with[2]:

  • Manganese – 30% of RDI in one ounce
  • Magnesium – 30% of the RDA one ounce
  • Iron – 2.2g
  • You’ll also find small amounts of zinc, vitamin B3, potassium, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2.

 

Why are Chia Seeds Bad for You?

As mentioned, they have an incredible ability to absorb liquid. In one rare, reported incident, a man had a choking episode after he ate a tablespoon of chia seeds followed by a glass of water.

You will see in many recipes containing chia seeds that they are supposed to be soaked before eating or adding them to the rest of the ingredients. Consequently, this man also had an esophageal condition which may have caused this choking incident to be even worse.

Another downside of eating chia seeds is that they may cause abdominal bloating, gas, and discomfort. If you aren’t already eating foods rich in fiber, and drinking enough water, this could likely happen.[1]

Chia seed, since containing ALA, may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Although there is little evidence to make a strong opinion, being informed is always best when it comes to your personal health history.

Not that it’s a reason to say they are bad for you, it should be noted that they have the tendency to get caught in your teeth so be sure to peek in the mirror after eating them!

 

How much Chia Seeds should you Eat Daily?

Although there isn’t a recommendation for chia seeds, there is a recommendation for the nutrients found in chia seeds.

  • Fiber RDA: men 30g; women 25g
  • Calcium RDA: 1,000mg/day women; 1200mg/day men
  • Iron RDA: men 18mg/day; women 8mg/day men[3]
  • Magnesium RDA: male 400mg female 310mg[4]
  • Omega 3 Adequate Intakes: 1.6g male; 1.1g female (listed as Adequate Intake because there is currently insufficient evidence to adapt and RDA).[5]
  • That being said, it would be beneficial to add chia seeds daily, into at least one recipe.

    chia seeds recipe

    Chia pudding with berries, healthy breakfast, vitamin snack, diet and healthy eating. (Image/Shutterstock)

     

    How do you eat chia seeds?

    Chia seeds are very versatile but are not intended to be eaten dry, all on their own.

    Some of the popular ways to eat chia seeds:

    • Blended into smoothies
    • Added to baked goods to simply increase nutrition, used as a fat replacement, or egg replacement (especially great for those who have an egg allergy)
    • Added to water mixtures such as teas
    • Mix in with oatmeal or yogurt for a boost in nutrition
    • Sprinkle on top of salads for nutrition and crunch!
    • Add to milk to make a healthy pudding

    One of my favorite ways to eat chia seeds is when they serve as a crunchy coating on energy bites.[6]

    Try this recipe: Mix ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk, 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup in a mason jar. After refrigerating for at least 4 hours, top pudding with chopped walnuts and fresh berries. Enjoy!

    There are a variety of ways this amazing food can be prepared so you’ll surely never get bored.

     

    Do Chia Seeds make your Skin Glow?

    Healthy fats, namely omega-6 and omega-3 are important in keeping skin healthy and strong.[7]

    Being an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids chia seeds could be a glowing addition to your next recipe!

    But wait! This seed isn’t just for eating. You can also mix 2 teaspoons of chia seeds, 1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and ½ cup of coconut oil together for a soothing, moisturizing, and brightening exfoliator.

    Chia seeds truly are a SUPER-food!

     

    Can Chia Seeds Reduce Belly Fat?

    It hasn’t been shown that chia seeds alone can reduce belly fat but let’s break a few components down to show how they can be part of your healthy weight loss goal.

    High fiber and protein can assist in weight loss in general. Considering chia seeds have 5g fiber and nearly 3g of protein per tablespoon, they could be a great addition to your daily intake to assist in your weight loss plan.[8]

    Being a rich source of both nutrients, chia can help fill those gaps especially when it comes to snacking. The snack recipes aforementioned, energy bites and pudding, are great ideas to start with.

    Although it does appear that fish oil may help in the reduction of waist to hip ratio when combined with lifestyle modifications, the evidence is still not strong enough to prove that other sources of omega-3, such as chia seeds, may reduce belly fat or weight overall.

    Omega-3 fatty acids may help in reducing appetite. This is surely helpful if you are looking to shed weight but find you are in the kitchen all too much, rummaging for something to eat.[9]

    Remember, the most effective way to reduce fat is by combining a healthy diet of whole grains, lean proteins, whey proteins, plenty of fruits and veggies, proper hydration, a mix of healthy fats, daily activity, plenty of rest, and relaxation.

     

    Conclusion

    Chia seeds are a great addition to many recipes, to your daily food intake and they are a great addition to your weight loss meal plan!

    They are tiny, can be used in numerous ways, and pack a large nutritional punch that everyone can benefit from.

    If you have underlying health conditions or concerns, be sure to check with your physician or a Registered Dietitian who will be able to help you in adding this superfood to your daily food intake.

Author
pinterest Twitter instagram instagram

Jackie Vega, RDN

Jackie Vega, RDN, is the owner of The Wellness Solution, a personal fitness and wellness practice in south Florida specializing in reci...

READ THIS NEXT

View All
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article changed my life! icon This article was informative. icon I have a medical question. icon Ask a Question
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article changed my life! Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X

How helpful was it?

icon This article was informative. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X
icon I have a medical question. Change

We’re unable to offer personal health advice, but we’ve partnered with JustAnswer who offers on-demand doctors to answer your medical questions 24/7. Talk online now with a doctor and get fast 1-on-1 answers from the comfort of your couch.

just answer logo
ASK A DOCTOR NOW

If you’re facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.

X

How can we improve it?

icon This article contains incorrect information. icon This article doesn’t have the information I’m looking for. icon I have a medical question. icon Ask a Question
X

How can we improve it?

icon This article contains incorrect information. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X

How can we improve it?

icon This article doesn’t have the information I’m looking for. Change
Your Rating
Note: Health Insiders isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
Your Privacy is important to us.
X
icon I have a medical question. Change

We’re unable to offer personal health advice, but we’ve partnered with JustAnswer who offers on-demand doctors to answer your medical questions 24/7. Talk online now with a doctor and get fast 1-on-1 answers from the comfort of your couch.

just answer logo
ASK A DOCTOR NOW

If you’re facing a medical emergency, call your local emergency services immediately, or visit the nearest emergency room or urgent care center.

x

Have a Question? Please Tell Us What We Are Missing Here!

Find answers in product info, Q&As, reviews
Submit Your Privacy is important to us.
X

Healthinsiders.com is intended to be used for educational and information purposes only. All Health Insiders content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a board of medical experts to ensure accuracy.

In keeping with our strict quality guidelines, we only cite academic research institutions, medical authorities, or peer-reviewed studies in our content. You will be able to find links to these sources by clicking the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) that appear throughout our content.

Medical Disclaimer: This product/supplement review is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health-related diagnosis or treatment options.

Health Insiders does not assume liability for any actions undertaken after visiting these pages and does not assume liability if one misuses supplements. Healthinsiders.com and its Editors do not ensure that unforeseen side effects will not occur even at the proper dosages, and thereby does not assume liability for any side effects from supplements or practices hosted under the domain of Healthinsiders.com.

We invite you to contact us regarding any inaccuracies, information that is out of date, or any otherwise dubious content that you find on our sites via our feedback form.