Nutritional Information for Chia seeds

Chia seed has gained popularity over the past decades. If you have ever seen the famous “chia pet” infomercials you’d know the stuff grows like crazy into tall blades of, what looks like, grass. This just means chia is bursting with nutrition! Instead of sprouting the seeds into “pets” it may be more advantageous to eat them directly. They can hold up to ten times their weight in water and have been used by indigenous tribes in Mexico, the Tarahumara Indians, to assist with their athletic performance. The Tarahumara are known for running long distances and attribute much of their success to the chia seed. Even if you are not running long distances, eating chia seed in the diet may help boost health. They are loaded with omega 3 essential fats, fiber and other vital nutrients. Just one tablespoon of chia seeds per day offers enough omega 3 for the entire day.

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Benefits of Chia seeds

Cancer Prevention Benefits

Clinical trials are lacking, but it seems chia seeds are safe and healthful to consume. One review shows that chia seeds may help with cancer, but not enough data has been collected and to date only 2 clinical studies have been conducted. The review found that eating chia seed may help reduce the risk of allergies, angina, cancer, coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack, hormonal/endocrine disorders, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, stroke, vasodilatation and may even help boost athletic performance. Chia seed has the potential to have anticoagulant, antioxidant and antiviral effects.

Men's Health Benefits

The two human clinical trials found benefits in those eating chia seed. Those with metabolic syndrome eating chia seeds in their diet were shown to help lower cholesterol, triglycerides, body weight and waist measurements and even help reduce inflammatory markers in the body. In the other trial, chia seed consumption was shown to help lower the blood sugar spikes that occurs after eating. For this reason, chia seeds may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and benefits those who have diabetes.

Ways to Use Chia seeds

+ Make chia pudding by soaking 2 tbsp- ¼ cup chia seed with 1 cup of unsweetened plant based milk and fresh or frozen fruit.

+ Toss chia seeds to smoothies.

+ Add to unsweetened ice tea or try a kombucha with chia seeds.

+ Use chia seeds in oatmeal or overnight oats.

+ Try using chia seeds in vegetarian chili.

+ Add chia seeds to baked goods

Resources for Chia seeds

American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org

Nutrition Facts: www.nutritionfacts.org

Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org

USDA Nutrient Database: Chia Seeds

Citations
  1. Vuksan V, Jenkins AL, Dias AG, et al. Reduction in postprandial glucose excursion and prolongation of satiety: possible explanation of the long-term effects of whole grain Salba (Salvia Hispanica L.). Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010;64(4):436-8.
  2. Valdivia-López MÁ,  Tecante A. Chia (Salvia hispanica): A Review of Native Mexican Seed and its Nutritional and Functional Properties. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2015;75:53-75.
  3. Mohd Ali N, Yeap SK, Ho WY, Beh BK, Tan SW, Tan SG. The promising future of chia, Salvia hispanica L. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2012:171956. 
  4. Guevara-Cruz M, Tovar AR, Aguilar-Salinas CA, et al. A dietary pattern including nopal, chia seed, soy protein, and oat reduces serum triglycerides and glucose intolerance in patients with metabolic syndrome. J Nutr. 2012;142(1):64-9.
  5. Ulbricht C, Chao W, Nummy K, et al. Chia (Salvia hispanica): a systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. Rev Recent Clin Trials. 2009 Sep;4(3):168-74.

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