Chia seeds, botanically known as Salvia hispanica, have already gained superfood status. This is mainly because of the presence of good amounts of fiber, good fats, protein, and some essential minerals such as calcium, making it a healthy choice. But, how much chia seeds per day makes for a healthy inclusion into the diet? Let’s find out.
How Much Chia Seeds per Day help with Good Health and Weight Loss?
Ideally, you can have one to two tablespoons of dried chia seeds per day. Do not exceed that amount, especially if you are not used to eating fiber-rich foods.
If you want to begin eating chia seeds, you can start with just half a tablespoon and gradually increase it to one tablespoon. If you eat chia seeds in excess, you may experience stomach issues due to the high fiber content.
You can either grind them or soak them in water for an hour or two. You can add the powdered chia seeds to your smoothie or yogurt for your breakfast. Soaked chia seeds swell, as they absorb a lot of water. You can drink this gel-like water to make you feel full for a longer duration. This, along with the fiber content in the seeds, may help with weight loss.
You can also have whole, dried chia seeds. However, if you want to ensure proper assimilation of the nutrients, then soaking or grinding are better options.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have been known and eaten by people in most parts of South America and Mexico for centuries. It was a staple food of the Aztec community, and they supposedly had them before running or going onto a battlefield because the seeds gave them energy, which they could sustain for a long time. Here are some health benefits of chia seeds:
1. Rich in Protein:
Chia seeds contain a good amount of protein and hence help in building muscles, skin and hair health, as well as boosting immunity and metabolism.
2. Good for Heart Health:
Chia seeds have good fats or omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which increase the amount of HDL or good cholesterol in blood.
Also, the soluble fiber in chia seeds may prevent blockages in blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Helps with Better Digestion
Chia seeds are rich in fiber and hence aid in the digestion process and keeping the gut healthy. Fiber-rich foods may also help with weight loss, as they make you feel full and curb the release of insulin in excess amounts.
4. Prevents Cancer
Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds found in most plants. Thus, they may help reduce the risk of certain cancers by destroying free radicals.
They have alpha-lipolic acid, which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid. This is known to reduce the growth of cervical and breast cancer cells.
Nutrition Facts of Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds Nutrition Table
Chia seeds have a wonderful ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. A serving size of 28 g chia seeds contains 4915 mg omega-3 and 1620 mg omega-6 fatty acids.
The same serving size has 4.4 g protein, 10.6 g dietary fiber, 177 mg calcium, 265 mg phosphorus, 0.6 mg manganese, and other minerals in trace amounts.
Side Effects of Eating Too Many Chia Seeds
There are not many side effects of eating chia seeds. However, one should have them in moderation, and as mentioned, increase the intake gradually to avoid any bowel-related issues.
1. Interaction With Medications
People who are on blood thinning and blood pressure medications should consult their doctor before including chia seeds in their daily diet.
2. Allergy to Seeds
People with certain types of food allergies also should stay away or consult their doctor before consuming seeds. Normally, if you are allergic to sesame or mustard, then you should check if you are allergic to chia seeds as well.
3. May Lead to Cancer
Some research was done to establish a link between the risk of prostrate cancer and the intake of alpha linoleic acid, which is present in chia seeds. However, the results have been largely inconsistent.
But, in another study, they proved that the intake of this fatty acid actually reduced the risk of prostate cancer. Although more research is required in this area, this fatty acid does not seem to increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
Final Word on Eating Chia Seeds
So, now that you know how many chia seeds you should have per day, you can include them in your daily diet. They are absolutely healthful, and as long as you stick to the recommended quantity, you can gain all the health benefits for sure. Chia seeds are very much safe, and in fact recommended during pregnancy as well. Make sure you check with your doctor in case of any allergies and medications.
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