Chia For Weight Loss & Chia Nutrition

How Chia Seeds Can Help You Manage Your Weight

Written by Lily Daniels
Don't be fooled by the apparent obscurity of chia seeds – this tiny ‘super-seed’ can hold answers for you if you want to lose weight, repress hunger and maintain a healthy, nutritious lifestyle.

What are chia seeds?

Chia seeds are black and white edible seeds that come from a desert plant from the mint family – Salvia Hispanica. They are generally regarded as a whole grain and have even been described as the healthiest whole food in the world. They are thought to date back to Ancient Mayan times with the word ‘chia’ translating literally to ‘strength’.

What makes chia so healthy?

Chia seeds are made up of four main components – fiber, protein, omega-3 essential fatty acids and various antioxidants. Each of these hold key nutritional, health benefits for your body. Antioxidants can boost immunity. Protein helps to rebuild cells and keep energy levels high. Omega-3 and fiber have both been proven to help reduce heart disease.
Chia seeds contain balanced proportions of all essential amino acids needed to support your body. Balanced amino acids – protein – provide you with a steady, healthy flow of energy rather than the sort of false highs that caffeine and sugar induce.
Fiber can help slow down your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates into blood sugar. This also provides your body with gradual releases of energy which can leave you feeling energized and thus more likely to want to exercise. Fiber also acts as roughage, promoting healthy digestion leaving your body clean and toxin free.
The beauty of these super-seeds is the sheer amount of goodness that can be crammed into such a tiny seed. It is thought that a handful of chia seeds contain more antioxidants than blueberries, more fiber than flax seeds and more omega-3 than salmon. (However, the Omega-3s in chia seeds are ALA, whereas salmon contains EPA and DHA.)
One of the antioxidants in chia seeds is chlorogenic acid. This antioxidant has been found by a 2006 study to possess anti-cancer properties and could be used to prevent growth of certain brain tumors.[1]

How can chia help you lose weight?

The most unique property about the chia seed is its ability to absorb liquid. It can absorb up to ten times its own weight in water. The fibers on the outside of the seed absorb the moisture and form a filling, calorie-free gel around it. When you eat chia-seed-gel your stomach is fooled into thinking it has eaten more than it has.
In addition to feeling fuller at the time of eating chia seeds, you also feel fuller longer. Repressed hunger and regular energy are key components in weight loss.
It is thought that if you are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals then your body begins to crave them. If you aren’t eating healthily or getting all of the essential nutrients that you need, then your body will begin craving more of the food that is making you unhealthy. This is a vicious, dietary cycle.
Because chia is packed full of nutrients that can balance and maintain your essential vitamins and minerals, you will find yourself less likely to crave fatty, sugary or starchy foods. This will also aid you in weight loss.

What does it taste like?

Some say that chia has a slight nutty flavor. It is a fairly bland tasting food. The absorbent nature of the seed means that it can take on the flavor of whatever you choose to mix it with, meaning that it can be added to most meals.

How do you incorporate chia into your diet?

With great ease!
Add one to two tablespoons to a smoothie, juice, dough, cereal, jam, sauce, salad dressing – you name it. You can find some recipe ideas here.

Do chia seeds really work?

There is no doubt that chia seeds are full of nutrition, but their ability to act as a major aid in weight loss has been disputed by some studies.
While some experts class chia as the ultimate super food (with one Wayne Coates even suggesting that you could ‘literally live on [chia] because it’s everything you need’) others warn against overusing even natural ‘super foods,’ remedies and treatments. As ever, the key is for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle including a balanced diet, adequate water and frequent exercise.

How much chia should I consume daily to get results?

Two tablespoons (130 calories) of chia seeds provides 4.8 grams of Omega-3 and 1.6 grams of Omega 6. That is more than enough Omega-3 for your entire body in an entire day.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds also contains 9.2 grams of fiber, 4.4 grams of protein, and a significant array of minerals including 14% RDA of calcium (169mg).
Two tablespoons is manageable and highly beneficial. Add one tablespoon to a morning cereal or smoothie and one tablespoon to a dinner salad dressing.
—Lily Daniels
Source
[1] The chemo-preventive properties of chlorogenic acid reveal a potential new role for the microsomal glucose-6-phosphate translocase in brain tumor progression, 2006 Study

7 Comment(s)

  1. The article makes an ineresting reading. But does not mention where to get it.

    Srinivasan C V | Reply

  2. I  have read that you  have to be very careful with taking chiaseeds, when your trigliceride nummers and other livernumbers are too high! Could you please comment on that?
    Thanks, Shanti from the Netherlands.
     

    Shanti van Oers | Reply

  3. Chia seeds can be bought at most health food stores (Feel Rite, Co-Op Markets, etc) and Whole Foods and sometimes even regular supermarkets. They can also be ordered online. Just search for "chia seeds" online and you'll find many different places to buy them.

    I've never heard of there being a danger in eating too many chia seeds, but there is a danger with over-eating almost any food.

    Raederle Phoenix | Reply

  4. How does chia seeds relate to flax seeds other than chia having more fiber?  Are there any other differences relating to health benefits? And if so, what are they?

    Christine | Reply

  5. Flax seeds have a higher ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 than chia seeds. Flax seeds have trace amounts of a toxin that can build up if you consume a cup of flax seeds per day, whereas a cup of chia seeds per day is perfectly fine. Chia seeds have a more mild flavor, which can be nice for certain recipes.

    Raederle Phoenix | Reply

  6. Will definitely add chia seeds to my daily diet.

    Joan Powell | Reply

  7. Chia seeds are made up of four main components – fiber, protein, omega-3 essential fatty acids and various antioxidants. Each of these hold key nutritional, health benefits for your body. Antioxidants can boost immunity. Protein helps to rebuild cells and keep energy levels high. Omega-3 and fiber have both been proven to help reduce heart disease.

    Linda Peters | Reply

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