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Chia Seeds – Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects

Chia seeds the recent tiny superstars. Chia seeds have recently transitioned from trendy to mainstream superfoods.

These tiny oval seeds are packed with essential nutrients like calcium, manganese, proteins, potassium, omega-3’s, magnesium, etc.

Chia seeds are derived from Salvia hispanica plant and are members of the mint family. They were cultivated by the Aztecs and Mayans and were an important food source. Now they are readily grown in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.

These black seeds are now readily consumed by people who have become more conscious about their health. They are small nutrient powerhouses that offer many advantages with proper use.

The most interesting fact of these seeds is that only two tablespoons provide several essential nutrients. This makes it the world’s best source, with only 137 calories.

Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds

Many health benefits of chia seeds are talked about. The tiny seeds are known to be one of the most nutrient-rich foods on the planet. They are boasted about as providing many potential health benefits, and some are proven by science. Some of these benefits and uses are:

High in fiber

According to research, most people don’t consume enough fiber. Most consume less than half of the recommended dietary values. Increasing the intake of plant-based foods like vegetables and fruits is the easiest way to increase fiber. Chia seeds are an excellent source as one ounce (2 tablespoons) provides almost half the daily recommended value.

The fiber content of chia seeds makes it healthy for many purposes like:

  • Weight loss

As chia seeds are high in fiber content, they promote the feeling of fullness. They are also low in calories

As it’s established that chia seeds have high fiber content, fiber is one of the elements that promote weight loss. Each tablespoon of chia seeds contains 5 grams of fiber, and it also has alpha-linolenic acid and omega-three fatty acids that help weight loss.

Although according to research, the scientific data provided is inconclusive. It is difficult to prove if there are any positive attributes of chia seeds in promoting weight loss.

  • Treating diverticulosis

The fiber plays another critical role. High-fiber diets have proven to decrease flare-ups of diverticulitis. The fiber absorbs water in the colon and makes bowel movement easier. It also reduces inflammation.

Although it’s not sure what causes diverticular disease, mostly low fiber diets have been associated with it. Thus, chia seeds are healthy due to the high fiber content.

  • Cardiovascular diseases

Fiber is also beneficial in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases as it helps in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Recent researches have shown that fiber helps with the regulation of the immune system and inflammation. They are thus decreasing the risk of inflammation-related diseases.

  • Diabetes

High fiber diets have helped with reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. It was found from many types of research that high fiber diets reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes significantly.

Also, chia seeds have been reported to be beneficial for type 2 diabetes patients. It has been suggested that they may have the capacity to convert glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate. Thus they have been associated as beneficial for diabetic people.

  • Detoxification

Fibre has been known as a detoxifying agent. It helps in removing toxins from the body by preventing constipation and promoting regular bowel movement.

Uses of Chia Seeds:

Chia seeds are much beneficial and can be used in multiple forms. Some of the common usages of chia seeds are as follows;

  • High in fatty acids

Chia seeds are high in healthy fats. It has omega-3 fatty acids that help in preventing inflammation. Chia seeds work as an anti-inflammatory that helps in promoting good skin and also protects the heart.

  • Use as an antioxidants

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants that help in reducing oxidative stress. The antioxidants help in getting rid of the free radicals in the body to counter their harmful effects. The antioxidants help in fighting against aging and brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

  • High in calcium

One of the critical nutrients of chia seeds is calcium, which promotes healthy bones. It also contains other minerals that help healthy bones like magnesium, manganese, and phosphorous. Chia seeds are a good source of calcium and so can be used as an alternative to dairy products.

Side Effects of Chia Seeds

Although these tiny nutrient-packed superfoods can prove to be beneficial, it can cause a few side effects if proper care is not taken. The possible side effects that are caused by chia seeds are:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues

If chia seeds are consumed in large quantities, it may lead to constipation, hard stools, or cause bloating and diarrhea. It is better if you consume chia seeds in a way that helps you avoid any gastrointestinal issues.

  • Thinning blood

The high source of omega-3 fatty acids present in chia seeds can lead to the thinning of the blood. People who suffer from low blood pressure can elevate their problem as it can lower your blood pressure drastically, leading to serious health issues. It is necessary that the people who are already taking blood thinners first consult with their doctor before consuming chia seeds.

  • Blood Sugar

They can cause an over stimulus of drugs that control your blood sugar levels. People who have diabetes should consult a doctor before consumption.

  • Allergies

It is better if you try chia seeds before starting consuming it as some might be allergic to it, although it is uncommon, it is better to be careful. Some symptoms that may be experienced are rashes, hives, and watery eyes.

  • Potential Effects

Pregnant women should be careful before consuming chia seeds as it can cause issues. Although more research is required regarding chia seeds, pregnant, and breastfeeding, women should avoid it.

The side effects of chia seeds do not outweigh their benefits. But as it’s a relatively new introduction to the diets of many health-conscious people, it is better to be safe. Chia seeds have potential benefits and side effects, and both require more research to prove if they are correct.

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