Recently I had an ‘accidental discovery’. I discovered that chia seeds help to move my bowels really well! I am so glad that I chanced upon this discovery when I added a teaspoon heap of chia seeds into my morning hot chocolate drink. For someone who needs laxative occasionally, I am so happy that I can now evacuate all the gunk and junk from my bowels at least twice a day. BLISS!!
My morning milk coffee with chia seeds:
Sometimes, I would drizzle a little extra virgin coconut oil into my beverage.
I also throw in 1 to 2 teaspoon full of chia seeds into my kids’ daily fruit smoothie and have it blitzed for about 20 seconds. This would come in really handy for my youngest daughter, who is also prone to constipation.
If you are constantly suffering from constipation, you may like to try adding 1-2 teaspoon of chia seeds into your diet everyday.
Food For Thought
Nutritional breakdown of chia seeds
According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one ounce of chia seeds (approximately 28 grams) contains 138 calories, 8 grams of fat, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 10 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein.
Eating one ounce of chia seeds per day would provide 18% of daily calcium needs, 27% of phosphorus, 30% of manganese and smaller amounts of potassium, zinc and copper.
When compared to flaxseed, chia seeds provide more omega-3s, calcium, phosphorus and fiber – all essential nutrients that most people are not getting enough of.
Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
1. Chia Seeds Are Loaded With Antioxidants
Another area where chia seeds shine is in their high amount of antioxidants. These antioxidants protect the sensitive fats in the seeds from going rancid. Antioxidants fight the production of free radicals, which can damage molecules in cells and contribute to ageing and diseases like cancer.
2. Almost All The Carbs in Them Are Fiber
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.
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. Chia seeds are 40% fiber, by weight. This makes them one of the best sources of fiber in the world.
3. Chia Seeds Are High in Quality Protein
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. 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%.
Chia seeds really are an excellent protein source, especially for people who eat little or no animal products.
4. Chia Seeds Can Cause Major Improvements in Type 2 Diabetics
The most successful application of chia seeds to date was in a study on type 2 diabetic patients.
In this study, 20 diabetic patients received either 37 grams of chia seeds, or 37 grams of wheat bran, for 12 weeks. When they got the chia seeds, they saw improvements in several important health markers.
Blood pressure went down by 3-6 mm/Hg and an inflammatory marker called hs-CRP went down by 40%. A risk factor called vWF also decreased by 21%. There was also a small drop in blood sugar, but it wasn’t statistically significant.
Given that chia seeds are high in fiber, it does seem plausible that they could help reduce blood sugar spikes after meals, but this needs to be confirmed in studies.
5. Due to The High Fiber and Protein Content, Chia Seeds Should be Able to Help You Lose Weight
Many health experts believe that chia seeds can help with weight loss. The fiber absorbs large amounts of water and expands in the stomach, which should increase fullness and slow the absorption of food.
6. Cardiovascular disease and cholesterol
Increased fiber intakes have also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A review of 67 separate controlled trials found that even a modest 10-gram per day increase in fiber intake reduced LDL (the harmful type cholesterol) as well as total cholesterol.
Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may even play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation, consequently decreasing the risk of inflammation-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
7. Digestion and detox
A diet with adequate fiber prevents constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Regular bowel movements are crucial for the daily excretion of toxins through the bile and stool.
Potential health risks of consuming chia seeds
Chia seeds can absorb up to 27 times their weight in water. This posed a problem for one man with a history of swallowing problems who, doctors say, developed an esophageal obstruction after eating a tablespoon of chia seeds dry and trying to wash them down with a glass of water.
The seeds formed a thick gel in his esophagus that he was unable to swallow down without medical treatment. Although this case was rare, make sure to mix chia seeds into another food or liquid before consuming, especially if you have a history of swallowing problems. Avoid giving chia seeds to small children.