Chia seeds have become one of the trendiest foods that people have been incorporating into their diet, and rightfully so, as it is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. The nutrients contained in chia seeds have been found to help prevent a number of progressive diseases. A quick Google search for the nutritional facts of chia seeds yields the following:
One of the most prominent benefits of chia seeds is the large amount of fiber that is contained in one serving. One ounce of chia seeds is only 2 tablespoons worth, and 10 grams of fiber is packed into that small of an amount; making chia seeds the best source of fiber on the planet! Fiber plays a crucial role in maintaining proper body function. First and foremost, fiber has essential roles in the digestive system. Chia seeds contain a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, so you benefit from both types as a result of consuming the seeds.
Insoluble fiber serves to maintain proper digestive function by adding bulk to stool and moving things along for proper bowel movements. When you do not consume sufficient insoluble fiber, it can lead to constipation. As time goes on, and your diet does not change, more severe health risks can take place, such as the development of colorectal cancer. Proper digestive function is a vital component of preventing the development of colorectal cancer.1
Soluble fiber has been shown to help with not only digestive health, but also cardiovascular, immune, and cognitive function.
Soluble Fiber helps with digestive health through its prebiotic properties. A prebiotic is something that serves as the food for the good bacteria in our gut known as the microbiome. By providing these bacteria with food, it always them to maintain higher levels in our lower intestines so that they can carry out their functions pertaining to the breakdown of food; this allows us to absorb all of the vital nutrients.
The microbiome also serves as a key component of our immune system. It has been found that when bacteria levels are low, the responsiveness of B and T cells, two key components of our immune response to foreign pathogens that enter into our body is delayed. When their responses are lagging, our ability to prevent infection is diminished. A compromised immune system means getting sick more often and for longer periods of time.2
Soluble fiber’s third significant benefit is its ability to help with cognitive function. When our microbiome is stressed, and there are improper bacteria levels, inflammation occurs. This inflammation leads to responses in our brain, which creates inflammation in the neurons of our brain as well. This inflammation is a hallmark of both anxiety and depression, which display cognitive symptoms like difficulty concentrating. Regulating the microbiome of the gut helps to prevent the exacerbation of the symptoms.
Finally, soluble fiber helps with heart health. It helps by regulating cholesterol levels. Specifically, it has been found to reduce our bad cholesterol that can get stuck on the arterial walls blocking the flow of blood in our body known as atherosclerosis. Eventually, if the buildup is too much, it can lead to a coronary embolism, which can cause a stroke or heart attack.
Chia seeds offer more than just fiber. They are also loaded in our favorite compounds, the antioxidants. They are our favorite due to their preventative properties. Antioxidants neutralize dangerous free radicals in our cells that can permanently damage them and lead to cancer and faster aging. An antioxidant-rich diet helps to prevent cancer and prolong the onset of aging.3
Chia seeds also are an excellent source of magnesium, which has been found to help prevent diabetes.4 Magnesium is vital to our body well beyond just the prevention of diabetes. It serves to help carry out hundreds our crucial reactions necessary to survival, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.5
They are also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s have been found to improve cardiovascular health by reducing triglyceride concentration in the blood and increasing blood flow. By increasing blood flow, this improves brain function by supplying more oxygen to the brain.
Beyond all of these components, chia seeds help with weight loss. In one serving, there are only 138 calories and almost 5 grams of protein. They contain nine grams of fat, but virtually all of the fats found in chia seeds are the good unsaturated fat, and 10 of the 12 grams of carbs found in chia seeds are fiber. This means that when you consume chia seeds, it will help combat weight gain by filling you up quick due to the protein and fiber, thus preventing overeating, and you do not need to be concerned with eating too many carbs or fats as the sources of these macronutrients are actually beneficial to the body instead promoting obesity and other chronic illnesses. Weight loss is one of the most effective ways to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes; meaning chia seeds offer two ways to combat the diabetes epidemic.
A good time to eat chia seeds is in the morning, as they go great in yogurt by adding a little crunch. Eating them in the morning provides you with several key nutrients and helps keep you full longer throughout the day, allowing you to focus on the work you need to do!
To help you out in your journey to a healthier future, we at RiskAverse have built a free online risk assessment that tells you your risk factors for various diseases in just 5 minutes. After taking one of the quizzes, you’ll be sent to a personalized report page that details your risk for the disease you’ve selected and lists the factors contributing to that risk. With this information, you’ll know what changes you need to implement in your life to lower your risk of disease. That’s when you get to work. But we’re also realistic, so we understand how difficult it can be to change your habits in the long run. That’s why we’re currently working on updating our platform so we can engage you regularly (via text/email) to make sure you’re staying on track with your risk-reducing solutions.
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1. Hamilton, William, et al.
The Risk of Colorectal Cancer with Symptoms at Different Ages and between the Sexes: a Case-Control Study. BMC Medicine, BioMed Central, 17 Apr. 2009, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19374736.
2. Belkaid, Yasmine, and Timothy W Hand.
Role of the Microbiota in Immunity and Inflammation. Cell, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Mar. 2014, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4056765/.
3. Cutler, R G.
Antioxidants and Aging. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Jan. 1991, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1985414.
4. Larsson, S C, and A Wolk.
Magnesium Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: a Meta-Analysis. Journal of Internal Medicine., U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2007, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=17645588.
Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium. NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/.