Chia seeds are one of the most popular foods among health conscious people. They have been used for centuries in various cultures around the world as a source of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Today they are widely available at any grocery store or health food shop. Chia seeds contain high amounts of soluble fiber which helps with digestion and keeps bowel movements regular. However, there is another benefit to eating chia seeds: they’re packed full of omega-3 fatty acids! Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that your body cannot produce itself. You need them in order to stay healthy. Studies show that consuming omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, depression and dementia. The reason why chia seeds are so good for you is because they contain a type of polysaccharide called beta-glucan (pronounced “buh-GOO-lan”). Beta-glucan is a type of carbohydrate that’s found naturally in some fruits and vegetables like potatoes, yams, sweet potato, corn and other starchy roots. When these plants are eaten, the beta-glucan breaks down into smaller pieces called oligosaccharides. These small fragments then get absorbed through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream where they reach your brain and other organs.
The chia seed contains about 2 grams of beta-glucan per serving. This is not a lot, so you would have to eat a considerable amount of chia seeds for it to have any effect on you. The easiest way to do this is to make chia seed pudding because it’s so easy to digest. You could also try adding chia seeds into your diet through other means but you would have to grind them up first.
Does Eating Too Many Chia Seeds Cause Side Effects?
Many people have asked if there are any chia seed side effects to worry about. If you stick to 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds per day, you can rest assured that it won’t do you any harm. Some people experience mild stomach discomfort when they eat chia seeds for the first few times. This usually goes away after a few days as your body gets used to digesting them. If you have a history of digestive problems then you should start with a small amount and build up gradually. You can also make chia seed tea instead of eating them. It has all the same benefits but is much more gentle on the stomach.
Make sure that you buy your chia seeds from a reputable manufacturer and check the packaging to see where they are sourced from. Many manufacturers in china have been found to add dangerous industrial chemicals and toxins to their products so make sure you only buy organically grown chia seeds. Chia seeds don’t keep well so buy small amounts regularly and avoid anything that’s past its expiry date. You can store chia seeds in your cupboard as long as you keep them in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight.
Many people add chia seeds to their diet because of the various health benefits. You can buy chia seeds in most health food stores and grocery shops. When you buy chia seeds, make sure you buy organic so you avoid consuming any toxic industrial chemicals or GMOs. You can also grow your own chia seeds at home with little effort or cost.
If you suffer from a health condition like obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes then it’s best to talk to your doctor before adding chia seeds to your diet. Your physician may advise you against eating them due to how fatty they are. You should also avoid buying “miracle” brands of chia seeds sold on late night infomercials as they are usually overpriced and of poor quality.
If you want to give chia seeds a try, here is a simple chia seed pudding recipe that only takes five minutes to make. The beauty of this recipe is that you can flavor it anyway you like. Try mixing in fresh fruit or adding some nuts for a more savory taste.
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
4 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons maple syrup (or preferred sweetener)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Step 1: Add the almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup and cinnamon to a medium sized bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Step 2: Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for at least one hour or until the mixture has formed a jelly-like consistency.
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