Chia Seeds Deliver a Massive Amount of Nutrients With Very Few Calories
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is related to the mint.
This plant grows natively in South America.
Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans back in the day.
They prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy… in fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Despite their ancient history as a dietary staple, only recently did chia seeds become recognized as a modern day superfood.
In the past few years, they have exploded in popularity and are now consumed by health conscious people all over the world.
Chia Seeds Are Loaded With Antioxidants
Chia Seeds in Glass Bowl
Another area where chia seeds shine is in their high amount of antioxidants (3, 4).
These antioxidants protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid (5).
Although antioxidant supplements are not very effective, getting antioxidants from foods can have positive effects on health (6).
Most importantly, antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer (7, 8).
There are some claims online about chia seeds having more antioxidants than blueberries, but I was unable find a study to verify this claim.
Almost All The Carbs in Them Are Fiber
Wooden Spoon With Chia Seeds
Looking at the nutrition profile of chia seeds, you see that an ounce has 12 grams of “carbohydrate.”
However… 11 of those grams are fiber, which isn’t digested by the body.
Fiber doesn’t raise blood sugar, doesn’t require insulin to be disposed of and therefore shouldn’t count as a carb.
The true carb content is only 1 gram per ounce, which is very low. This makes chia a low-carb friendly food.
Because of all the fiber, chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like and expanding in your stomach (9).
Theoretically, this should increase fullness, slow absorption of your food and help you automatically eat fewer calories.
Fiber also feeds the friendly bacteria in the intestine, which is important because keeping your gut bugs well fed is absolutely crucial for health (10).
Chia seeds are 40% fiber, by weight. This makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
Chia Seeds Are High in Quality Protein
A Pile of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds contain a decent amount of protein.
By weight, they are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants.
They also contain a good balance of essential amino acids, so our bodies should be able to make use of the protein in them (11, 12).
Protein has all sorts of benefits for health. It is also the most weight loss friendly nutrient in the diet, by far.
A high protein intake reduces appetite and has been shown to reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for night time snacking by 50% (13, 14).
Chia seeds really are an excellent protein source, especially for people who eat little or no animal products.