Those tempting smoothies and puddings made with chia seeds are not just delicious treats for the taste buds, but are beneficial for the overall health as well. This superfood is believed to promote weight loss too. But do these tiny seeds really help to shrink the waistline? Let us learn about the effectiveness of chia seeds for weight loss.
Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
Originally from Mexico, Chia seeds are carbohydrate-rich seeds of a non-grass plant of the mint family. These pseudo grains expand and form a thick gel when mixed with liquid. Chia seeds are believed to have been a staple of Aztec and Mayan diets. Recently, these seeds have made a comeback in the market as a potential superfood. There is much discussion about the use of chia seeds for weight loss, so let us explore the role of chia seeds in lowering weight.
A lot of people are of the opinion that chia seeds curbs the appetite and promotes weight loss. This idea is based on the theory that due to their high fiber content, chia seeds make one feel satiated and fuller for longer. This causes a decrease in their food craving and appetite and thus helps to prevent overeating. 2 tbsp of chia seeds contain almost 10g of fiber, which is around 40% of the recommended intake of this nutrient. High fiber diets have been linked to loss of weight. By consuming 30 g of fiber everyday one can lose as much weight as they would have if they followed a more complicated diet. This is really impressive and explains the importance of chia seeds for weight loss.
However, very few human researches on chia seeds and weight loss have been conducted till date. In a study conducted in 2009, the effects of chia seeds on the overall weight and the risk factors for disease were reviewed. Around 85 obese or people of more than ideal weight who consumed either a placebo or a mix of 25 g of chia seeds in water before their first and last meals of the day were studied. No impact on body composition, body mass, or disease risk factors was witnessed in these people after regular consumption of these seeds. Chia seeds are also high in calories and fat. 2 tbsp of chia seeds have 138 calories and 9 gm of fat, with 1 gm saturated fat. When consumed in moderation, chia seeds can help a person feel more satisfied and help to keep them away from eating too much. But, eating too many chia seeds throughout the day can result in the individual going over their daily calorie limit.
Other Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
While chia seeds for weight loss is a popular discussion, the fact is that they are also a storehouse of nutrients. These seeds are rich in antioxidants which help to prevent cell damage caused by free radicals in the body. 2 tbsp of chia seeds contain around 4.7 grams of protein. These seeds are also gluten-free and thus are a popular protein source for people with whole grain sensitivities or celiac disease. Although chia seeds are not a great source vitamins, they are rich in calcium. Thus, they help in building strong bones and teeth and supporting healthy metabolic function. These seeds also contain several other minerals like copper, zinc, manganese and phosphorus. Chia seeds are good to lower high cholesterol too. These heart-healthy seeds are high on even omega-3 and fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which helps in reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease.
Best Ways of Using Chia Seeds
Whether you are using chia seeds for weight loss or for other health benefits, you must know the best ways to have them. Chia seeds have no taste and so they blend well with many recipes. Chia seeds can be added to oatmeal, salads, smoothies, salad dressing, gravy or soups, muffins, yogurt, chia pudding, homemade bread, and in baked goods as a supplement of eggs. They can be combined with any liquid, like water or juice. It is important that you consume only fully expanded chia seeds. These seeds should not be eaten dry, especially when having a difficulty in swallowing. This is because chia seeds tend to absorb water more than their actual weight, so dry seeds may enlarge in the esophagus resulting in a blockage.
Chia seeds can be a nutritious addition in healthy weight loss diet. While you can plan your diet to include chia seeds for weight loss, remember that losing weight is a complex process and needs boost from all sides. A single food is never responsible for healthy weight loss. Although some people feel that they might have had some weight loss after adding chia seeds in their routine diet, it is likely that chia seeds form only a part of an overall healthy and balanced diet and exercise plan. Hence, for any successful weight loss plan, in addition to superfoods like chia seeds, a healthy diet, exercise and healthy routine does play a role.
Remember, eating too many of these seeds can have a negative effect on the health, so moderation is must. Since chia seeds are tasteless unless blended with other flavored liquids or foods, some people opt to get their calories from more satisfying sources. It should however be remembered that these seeds can interact with hypertensive medications or blood thinners like warfarin, and hence should not be consumed when on any of these medications.