Chia seeds and their effects: myth or magical seeds?December 4, 2019
Chia seeds originally come from Mexico and are an ancient food that was part of the normal diet of the Aztecs and Mayans. The seeds are still widespread in Mexico and Central America and are not only eaten for breakfast as a topping. Chia is called “Chia Salvia hispanica” in the technical language and is among other things a “Novel Food”.
- What exactly are chia seeds?
- What is so healthy about chia seeds?
- What is the difference between chia seeds and flax seeds?
- What effect do chia seeds have on our body?
- Why do chia seeds help you to lose weight?
- How do I consume chia seeds? – The best preparation
- Simple chia seed recipes
- Chia seeds nutritional values
- Nutritional value table: Chia seeds (per 100 grams)
- What are the side effects of chia seeds?
What exactly are chia seeds?
The chia plant belongs to the genus of sage and is a pseudo grain. Only one part of the plant is eaten, namely the seeds, which are either dried or soaked.
In recent years, the seeds have become increasingly common here as well, as many healthy ingredients are contained in the little seeds and they are said to be beneficial for weight loss. You can put them on your muesli or porridge as a topping, you can prepare a tasty chia seed pudding or enjoy them as a drink.
What is so healthy about chia seeds?
The seeds of the chia plant are so healthy, because they contain various ingredients that are good for us. They for example contain beneficial fats, various antioxidants and phenolic acids which are said to capture free radicals.
Another beneficial effect is that chia makes us feel satiated after the intake as the seeds swell up in your stomach. That’s why you should drink a lot of liquid such as water when consuming chia seeds as they bind a lot of water.
What is the difference between chia seeds and flax seeds?
In some articles on the internet you may find the hint that linseeds are a similar superfood to chia seeds. Indeed, flax seeds also contain ingredients that are good for our digestion. However, since they are two fundamentally different plants, the two seeds differ in some nutrients:
- Flax seeds contain slightly more fat than chia seeds.
- Chia seeds have a higher calcium content than flax seeds.
- Flax seeds have a higher vitamin E content, while chia seeds contain a higher level of vitamin B1.
- Both seeds contain a high amount of fibre, which is beneficial for a good digestion.
What effect do chia seeds have on our body?
The effects of chia seeds on our body have not yet been studied in depth. However, there are indications that the seeds can help against various ailments if used moderately.
They are said to have a blood thinning effect and therefore can also lower the blood pressure. Since they contain a high amount of fibre, they increase the saturation feeling and therefore they can help against ravenous appetite- and in this way also against belly fat.
Omega-3 fatty acids also have an anti-inflammatory effect, which is why chia seeds can also help with decreasing acne. The contained acids are also the building blocks needed for young skin. Those suffering from diarrhoea can also benefit from eating chia through its water-binding effect.
The seeds can also be helpful in cases of constipation due to the higher amount of fibre that is comprised. It is therefore advisable to drink enough water when eating chia seeds. If you have flatulence, the small seeds have no positive effect. Contrariwise they can cause them if you have a sensitive stomach.
Why do chia seeds help you to lose weight?
There are several ingredients contained which can help you lose weight. These include antioxidants, minerals and especially fibre.
Stay satiated longer due to swelling characteristic
Chia seeds contain a lot of fibre, which swells up in the stomach and provides a long-lasting feeling of satiety. For this reason, it is also important to always drink enough water when having chia seeds.
Chia seeds contain high-quality proteins
Chia seeds contain many plant-based proteins, more than for example wheat. This also makes them a good dietary supplement for vegetarians and vegans. The proteins also help to build muscles, which then also consume more energy.
Effectively counteract cravings
The high fibre content ensures that the stomach is busy for a long time and therefore does not feel hungry. This way the insulin level is kept high, which is why the consumption of chia seeds effectively prevents cravings.
Fibres favour a slim figure
The amount of fibre in chia seeds is particularly high. Therefore, you can easily reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet and as a result chia seeds can contribute a lot to weight loss.
However, you should be aware that the small power seeds also contain a lot of calories – even if they contain good nutrients. A pure chia seed diet is therefore not recommendable but as a supplement they are a great enrichment to your diet.
How do I consume chia seeds? – The best preparation
If you want to fully benefit from the advantages of chia seeds, you should soak the chia seeds. The seeds are therefore suitable for mueslis, smoothies or as a refreshing drink.
The easiest way to prepare chia seeds is to just soak them in water and add a little lemon juice – it is so easy to prepare yourself a refreshing drink.
But they’re also a great addition to your muesli with yoghurt, almond milk or rice milk. Then add a few fruits and you have a balanced meal. There are also great recipes with chia seeds as a topping in salads or as chia pudding.
Simple chia seed recipes
Overnight Oats with Chia seed pudding
Here you can find our delicious chia seed pudding recipe with overnight oats. The pudding can also be eaten in the evening 😉
Including chia seeds in your diet is quite simple with our Verival Strawberry-Chia Porridge. Our warm oat breakfast without added sugar is gluten-free and fully organic and is ready to be enjoyed in just three minutes.
More delicious recipes with chia seeds such as the porridge berry slices and the Verival breakfast pizza can be found here.
Chia seeds nutritional values
As already described, the nutritional values of chia seeds are very beneficial from a nutritional point of view. However, as the seeds have only been available for a relatively short time in our latitudes, there are still few long-term studies on their side effects.
The Food Safety Authority therefore recommends a maximum of 15 grams of chia seeds per day. This amount is considered harmless as long as there are no long-term studies on the effects of chia seeds.
Nutritional value table: Chia seeds (per 100 grams)
|Energy: 580 kcal||Minerals||Vitamins|
|Fat total: 31 g||Sodium (Na): 15 mg||Vitamin C: 1.0 mg|
|Total carbohydrates: 42 g||Potassium (K): 405 mg||Thiamine: 0.62 mg|
|Protein total: 16 g||Calcium (Ca): 630 mg||Riboflavin: 0.17 mg|
|Total dietary fibres: 34 g||Magnesium (Mg): 335 mg||Vitamin E: 0.5 mg|
|Phosphorus (P): 860 mg|
|Iron (Fe): 7.7 mg|
|Zinc (Zn): 4.6 mg|
What are the side effects of chia seeds?
As chia seeds also stimulate our digestion, they can also lead to increased flatulence. Moreover, they also seem to have a blood thinning effect. Therefore, anyone who suffers from a blood coagulation disorder or takes blood thinning medication should ask a doctor for his or her approval beforehand.
The same applies to people with cardiovascular problems. You should also avoid a chia seed diet before surgery. Since the seeds also seem to lower blood pressure, people with low blood pressure should also be careful when eating chia seeds.
The seeds can cause flatulence especially if you have a sensitive stomach. As already mentioned, it is best to soak the chia seeds and to drink plenty of water- then they are most compatible and have fewer side effects.
Have you heard about the TCM diet? Learn more about our 5 Elements porridge line and the health benefits you can expect.
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