You've probably seen some delicious-looking puddings and smoothies made with chia seeds popping up on your Instagram feed a lot lately.
In recent years, Chia seeds have also been dubbed a superfood. There are numerous claims about health advantages, including that they will help you lose weight. But will they really make the waistline shrink?
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds of the Chia plant (Salvia hispanica). Native to Mexico and Guatemala, it was a staple food for the ancient Aztecs and the Mayans. In reality, "chia" is the ancient Mayan word for "strength."
Chia seeds contain large quantities of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, a large amount of high-quality protein and a variety of essential minerals and antioxidants. They can boost digestive health, blood levels of heart-healthy omega-3s, and risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.
Chia seeds are thin, flat and ovoid with a glossy, smooth texture. Its color varies from white to brown or black. These seeds are very versatile. They can be soaked and added to porridge, made in pudding, used in baked goods, or simply sprinkled on top of salads or yogurt. Because of their ability to absorb liquid and form a gel, they can also be used to thicken sauces or to substitute eggs.
Does it help you lose weight?
On the internet, there are many rumors that Chia seeds suppress your appetite and facilitate weight loss. Since chia seeds are filling and high in fiber, the running theory is that they keep you fuller longer. Therefore, they could help avoid overeating.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds have a fiber content of almost 10 grams. That's about 40 percent of the daily intake recommended. Weight loss has been associated with diets rich in fiber. Eating 30 grams of fiber daily could help you lose as much weight as if you were following a more complicated diet, according to 2015 study.
Chia seeds are relatively high in fat and calories as well. There are 138 calories and 9 grams of fat in two teaspoons (1 gram saturated). Chia seeds can help you feel more satisfied and less likely to eat too much when used in moderation. Even, you can go over your daily calorie limit if you eat too much during the day.
Chia seeds and heart health
Chia seeds are also advertised as heart-healthy since they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, though they are tiny little seeds. However, in chia seeds, much of the omega-3 fatty acid is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
A 2012 study showed that the risk of metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease could be decreased by foods and supplements rich in ALA. But at least one study showed that an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest is associated with high ALA levels.
Half of the 16 reports examined accepted ALA's health advantages, while the others did not. It needs further study.
To Sum It Up
Chia seeds are a pseudo grain that is nutritious and can be part of a balanced weight loss strategy. But it isn't a fast fix to drop the size of a dress. And if you eat too many of them, they might have the reverse effect. For safe weight loss, no single food is ever responsible.
While some individuals claim to lose weight after adding chia seeds to their diet, only one portion of an overall balanced diet and exercise plan is likely to be chia seeds. And since, unless mixed with other foods or flavored liquids, chia seeds are tasteless, some people prefer to get their calories from a more satisfying source.
Chia seeds can interact with medications for blood pressure or blood thinners such as warfarin. Do not eat chia seeds if you take any of those medications.