This articles will explore whether Chia seeds really can help you lose weight, help you sleep and help you have a healthy heart.
Chia seeds are able to expand into a gelatinous mass when added to a liquid. For this reason they’re often used as a natural thickener for sauces and it seems that forms the basis of the idea that they can help you lose weight – that they will expand in your stomach and make you feel full, stopping you over-eating.
While this makes some sense, studies have been done to test the theory and unfortunately have not been able to report any weight loss among the test subjects. As for the claim that chia seeds benefit your cardiovascular health, the same studies found no benefits at all.
So are chia seeds overrated completely? No. Gram for gram they’re possibly one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet! They are well worth incorporating into your diet. Just 2 tablespoons contain:Calcium – 18% of RDAManganese – 30% of RDAMagnesium – 30% of RDAPhosphorus – 27% of RDAProtein – 4 gramsFiber – 11 grams. At around 40% fibre, chia seeds are one of the best sources around.Fat – 9 grams ( 5 of which are Omega 3 fatty acids)
In trace amounts they also contain Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2, Zinc and Potassium.2 tablespoons of chia seeds give 18% of the RDA for calcium.
Containing 14% protein, the seeds can be a good protein supplement for vegans and vegetarians.
Can Chia Seeds Help You Sleep?Amongst all the seeds chia has the highest source of tryptophan. Tryptophan is used to produce serotonin, the hormone which helps fight anxiety. Serotonin is also needed to make melatonin – the hormone which helps you get to sleep.
Your body can’t produce tryptophan on its own it has to come from your diet. It’s easy to see, then, how chia seeds can help with this.
Omega 3 Fatty AcidsWe are told to increase our intake of Omega 3’s by eating oily fish such as salmon. Now chia seeds, although gram for gram, are higher in these fatty acids than salmon, cannot be used as a substitute. Why?
The form of Omega 3 that is found in chia seeds needs to be converted into DHA and EPA before a human body can use it. Unfortunately, human bodies don’t do this conversion very well and so chia seeds cannot be substituted for oily fish.
Ways to Include Chia Seeds into your DietChai seeds are pretty tasteless so can be added to almost anything without affecting the flavor.They can be soaked in juice or soup, included in a smoothie after first softening them a little in liquid or added to baked products like bread or muffins. Don’t forget that they can also be eaten raw.
Daily recommended dose is about 1 and a half to 2 tablespoons per day. Just bear in mind that, even though chia seeds are very dense in nutrients, they cannot be used as a meal supplement for humans.