12 Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds (2024)

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Rich in fiber and anti-inflammatory fats, chia seeds have many benefits for the body. Add them to smoothies, pudding, oatmeal, and more for extra nutrients.

12 Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds (1)

Table of Contents

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are the edible seeds of the chia plant, which is part of the mint family.

They’re very small, egg-shaped seeds with a black-gray color.

When mixed with liquid, the seeds absorb water and swell up. This creates a thick gel-like texture.

A popular way for using chia seeds is to make chia seed pudding. Simply combine 2 tablespoons chia seeds with ½ cup milk of choice, stir, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

You can sprinkle chia seeds into sauces, dressings, soups, or on top of salads and oatmeal. They also work well mixed into the batter for baked goods, like banana bread.

Chia seeds are used to make drinks more filling as well. Just blend a tablespoon or two of seeds into smoothies, juice, coconut water, or plain water.

RELATED: 12 Benefits of Eating Raspberries

12 Chia Seed Benefits

1. Contains Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight harmful compounds called free radicals. This is important because free radicals damage your cells and cause oxidative stress.

Over time, oxidative stress can increase the risk of chronic disease. This includes diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

Chia seeds are high in antioxidants. This means the seeds will fight oxidative stress and protect your cells.

Some of the antioxidants in chia seeds include chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and caffeic acid.

2. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal part of health. The body uses inflammatory cells to heal cell damage and destroy bad germs.

But if the inflammation continues, it can contribute to chronic disease, just like oxidative stress. High inflammation levels are linked to cancer, arthritis, heart disease, and more.

Eating chia seeds can help manage inflammation. They contain omega-3 fatty acids, or good fats with anti-inflammatory properties.

Omega-3 fatty acids work by stopping pathways, or reactions, that cause inflammation.

Even the antioxidants in chia seeds have anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants protect cells from damage, which reduces inflammation in the first place.

3. Helps Digestion

Fiber is essential for healthy digestion. It promotes regular bowel movements and makes stool easier to pass.

The recommended fiber intake for adults is 25 to 35 grams per day. However, most people only get 15 grams a day.

Not getting enough fiber can lead to digestive issues like constipation and discomfort. It also increases the risk of colon cancer and other digestive problems.

For an easy way to get more fiber, add chia seeds to your dishes and drinks. Just two tablespoons have 10 grams of fiber.

4. Decreases Hunger

Thanks to the fiber and protein in chia seeds, the ingredient will make you feel less hungry. This is helpful if you’re trying to manage weight or control cravings throughout the day.

Fiber slows down digestion, so it stays in the stomach for longer. As a result, you’ll feel full for a long time.

The fiber in chia seeds absorb water too. This causes them to swell up in your stomach, making you feel full.

Protein also increases satiety, but in a different way. It reduces hunger hormones, including glucagon-like peptide-1 and cholecystokinin.

Lower levels of these hormones will make you feel less hungry and more full.

5. Supports Energy Levels

It’s common to feel tired when you’re hungry. That’s because you’re not getting enough glucose, your body’s main source of energy.

To prevent this, be sure to eat meals at regular intervals. Focus on filling ingredients, such as chia seeds.

The seeds have protein and fiber, which promote satiety. The healthy omega-3 fats in chia seeds have a similar filling effect too.

By adding chia seeds to your drinks and dishes, they’ll be more filling and better sustain your energy throughout the day.

6. Controls Blood Cholesterol

Chia seeds have omega-3 fats, which lower HDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase LDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Fiber, which is found in chia seeds, supports healthy cholesterol levels too.

It works by helping the body remove excess cholesterol through the stool. This lowers cholesterol in the blood.

Since high cholesterol can lead to heart disease, it’s important to control it. Otherwise, extra cholesterol can block blood vessels, making it hard for blood to reach the heart.

7. Improves Blood Pressure

Long-term oxidative stress can contribute to hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension is another risk factor for heart disease.

High blood pressure happens when your blood moves with too much force. This can damage your blood vessels, causing issues with blood flow.

In turn, your heart and other organs might not get enough blood, leading to heart disease.

Since oxidative stress is involved in hypertension, eating plenty of antioxidants is key. For example, the antioxidants in chia seeds have been shown to reduce blood pressure by fighting oxidative stress.

8. Manages Blood Sugar

With their high content of fiber, chia seeds are beneficial for reducing the risk of diabetes.

The fiber slows down the absorption of sugar, especially after a meal. This prevents blood sugar spikes, which can cause diabetes if it keeps happening.

Also, the antioxidants in chia seeds help by reducing oxidative stress. Since oxidative stress can contribute to diabetes, it’s important to keep it under control.

Chia seeds can even improve the function of beta-cells. Produced by the pancreas, beta-cells make insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar.

When beta-cells are working better, they can make more insulin for better blood sugar control and lower diabetes risk.

9. Enhances Immune Function

Another chia seed benefit involves the immune system. The seeds have vitamin C and zinc, which are needed for immunity.

Vitamin C helps your immune cells destroy germs. It’s also an antioxidant, so it protects your cells.

Similarly, immune cells needs zinc to grow and work properly. The body uses it to fight viruses and bacteria.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in chia seeds, are needed by cells too. The fats control what moves in and out of your cells, ensuring they function properly.

10. Provides Bone-Friendly Nutrients

The minerals calcium and magnesium are important for healthy bones. Chia seeds contain both nutrients, making it a great food for the bones.

Calcium is needed to develop and maintain bone strength. If you don’t get enough, your body will take calcium from your bones.

This can cause bone weakness, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. So it’s important to get enough calcium in your diet.

Magnesium is essential for building bone. Plus, it’s needed for hormones that control calcium levels in the body.

11. Benefits Brain Health

For a simple way to support brain health, add chia seeds to your diet. The ingredient has so many brain-friendly nutrients.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation, which would damage the brain cells over time. They also keep cell membranes healthy.

The anti-hypertensive effects of omega-3 fats are also good for the brain, as hypertension is linked to brain disease.

Antioxidants, which are found in chia seeds, fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Both can increase the risk of neurological diseases, so eating antioxidant-rich foods is key for brain health.

12. Boosts Metabolism

Another health benefit of chia seeds is that they’re good for metabolism. This is due to their high content of vitamins, antioxidants, and omega-3 fats.

Metabolism involves all the chemical reactions in your body. It turns the food you eat into energy.

Your body uses this energy for basic bodily functions, from digestion to breathing. So it’s important to support your metabolism through food.

The protein in chia seeds also helps, as protein increases metabolic rate, or how fast your body uses energy.

RELATED: 12 Benefits of Eating Spinach

Side Effects

Adding chia seeds to your diet is a tasty way to get more fiber.

However, if you don’t already eat a lot of fiber, do it slowly. Eating too much fiber at once will cause bloating and cramps.

As you eat more chia seeds, drink a lot of water. Staying hydrated will help reduce the digestive side effects.

Chia Seed Tips

Steep chia seeds for smoothies.

Chia seeds are a great addition to smoothies. But if you don’t have a high-powered blender, soak them in liquid first.

This will make them expand so they’re easier to blend.

For high-powered blenders, you can skip the soaking step.

Add chia seeds to blenders after liquids.

When making a smoothie in a blender, add the chia seeds after the liquids. You can add nut butters or powders at the same time.

Next, add leafy greens, fresh fruit, and heavy ingredients like frozen fruit or ice, in that order.

Loading ingredients in this order will ensure a smooth and even blend.

Use a small amount.

Unless you’re making chia pudding, you only need a small amount of seeds for recipes.

For example, when making a smoothie, use 1 or 2 tablespoons. Any more will overwhelm the recipe’s flavor.

When making baked goods or dishes like pancakes, use just a few tablespoons.

Store chia seeds in a dark place.

Light can destroy the healthy fats in chia seeds, turning them rancid. So be sure to store the seeds in a dark spot, like the pantry.

You can also keep chia seeds in an air-tight jar in the refrigerator.

If the seeds are brown, clump together, or smell bad, they’ve probably gone rancid. Throw them out and avoid using them in recipes.

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Chia seeds are small, egg-shaped seeds that come from the chia plant, which is part of the mint family. When mixed with liquid, chia seeds absorb water and create a thick gel-like texture. They are rich in fiber and anti-inflammatory fats, making them beneficial for the body. Chia seeds can be added to various dishes and drinks, such as smoothies, pudding, oatmeal, sauces, dressings, soups, and baked goods like banana bread. They can also be used to make drinks more filling by blending them into smoothies, juice, coconut water, or plain water [[1]].

Chia Seed Benefits:

  1. Contains Antioxidants: Chia seeds are high in antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and caffeic acid. Antioxidants fight harmful compounds called free radicals, which can damage cells and cause oxidative stress. By consuming chia seeds, you can help protect your cells and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke [[1]].
  2. Reduces Inflammation: Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 fatty acids help stop pathways that cause inflammation, while antioxidants protect cells from damage, reducing inflammation. Managing inflammation is important as high levels of inflammation are linked to chronic diseases like cancer, arthritis, and heart disease [[1]].
  3. Helps Digestion: Chia seeds are rich in fiber, which promotes healthy digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and making stool easier to pass. The recommended fiber intake for adults is 25 to 35 grams per day, but most people only get 15 grams a day. Adding chia seeds to your dishes and drinks can be an easy way to increase your fiber intake. Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 10 grams of fiber [[1]].
  4. Decreases Hunger: The combination of fiber and protein in chia seeds can help reduce hunger and control cravings. Fiber slows down digestion and stays in the stomach for longer, making you feel full. Chia seeds also absorb water, causing them to swell up in your stomach and further contribute to a feeling of fullness. Protein reduces hunger hormones, making you feel less hungry and more full [[1]].
  5. Supports Energy Levels: Chia seeds can help sustain your energy throughout the day. They contain protein, fiber, and healthy omega-3 fats, which promote satiety and provide a steady source of energy. By adding chia seeds to your drinks and dishes, you can make them more filling and better sustain your energy levels [[1]].
  6. Controls Blood Cholesterol: Chia seeds contain omega-3 fats and fiber, which can help support healthy cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fats lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and increase HDL ("good") cholesterol. Fiber helps remove excess cholesterol from the body through the stool, reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol levels can lead to heart disease, so it's important to control it [[1]].
  7. Improves Blood Pressure: Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, which can help reduce blood pressure by fighting oxidative stress. Long-term oxidative stress can contribute to hypertension (high blood pressure), which is a risk factor for heart disease. By consuming chia seeds, you can help manage blood pressure and support heart health [[1]].
  8. Manages Blood Sugar: Chia seeds are beneficial for reducing the risk of diabetes. The high fiber content in chia seeds slows down the absorption of sugar, preventing blood sugar spikes. Additionally, the antioxidants in chia seeds help reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to diabetes. Chia seeds can also improve the function of beta-cells, which produce insulin and help control blood sugar levels [[1]].
  9. Enhances Immune Function: Chia seeds contain vitamin C, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are all beneficial for the immune system. Vitamin C helps immune cells destroy germs and acts as an antioxidant to protect cells. Zinc is needed for immune cell growth and function, helping the body fight viruses and bacteria. Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for cell function and immune health [[1]].
  10. Provides Bone-Friendly Nutrients: Chia seeds contain calcium and magnesium, which are important minerals for healthy bones. Calcium is necessary for bone strength and development, while magnesium is essential for building bones and regulating calcium levels in the body. Consuming chia seeds can support bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis [[1]].
  11. Benefits Brain Health: Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties that support brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and keep cell membranes healthy, while antioxidants fight inflammation and oxidative stress. Both inflammation and oxidative stress can increase the risk of neurological diseases, so consuming antioxidant-rich foods like chia seeds is beneficial for brain health [[1]].
  12. Boosts Metabolism: Chia seeds are good for metabolism due to their high content of vitamins, antioxidants, protein, fiber, and omega-3 fats. Metabolism involves the chemical reactions in the body that convert food into energy. Supporting your metabolism through food is important for overall energy levels and bodily functions. Protein, in particular, can increase metabolic rate [[1]].

Side Effects:

While chia seeds are generally safe to consume, it's important to introduce them gradually into your diet if you're not used to consuming a lot of fiber. Eating too much fiber at once can cause bloating and cramps. It's also important to stay hydrated when consuming chia seeds, as they absorb water. Drinking plenty of water can help reduce digestive side effects [[1]].

Chia Seed Tips:

  • When using chia seeds in smoothies, soak them in liquid first if you don't have a high-powered blender. This will make them expand and easier to blend.
  • When making a smoothie in a blender, add the chia seeds after the liquids. This will ensure a smooth and even blend.
  • Use a small amount of chia seeds in recipes, unless you're making chia pudding. Using 1 or 2 tablespoons in a smoothie is usually sufficient.
  • Store chia seeds in a dark place, as light can degrade the healthy fats in the seeds. An airtight jar in the refrigerator or a dark spot in the pantry is ideal for storage. If the seeds are brown, clump together, or smell bad, they may have gone rancid and should be discarded [[1]].
12 Benefits of Eating Chia Seeds (2024)

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