Chia Seeds - A Superfood

Monday, May 11, 2020

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According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, a 28-gram, or one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains:

  • 131 calories
  • 8.4 grams of fat
  • 13.07 grams of carbohydrate
  • 11.2 grams of fiber
  • 5.6 grams of protein
  • No sugar

Eating once ounce of chia seeds each day would provide 18 percent of daily calcium needs, 27 percent of phosphorus, 30 percent of manganese, and smaller amounts of potassium and copper.

Chia seeds provide more omega-3s, calcium, phosphorus, and fiber than flaxseeds. Most people do not consume enough of these essential nutrients.

Benefits of Chia Seeds

Plant-based foods have long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality. They have been shown to support a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight.

Chia and the power of fiber

The United States (U.S.) dietary guidelines for 2015 to 2020 suggest that men under the age of 50 years should consume 30.8 grams (g) of fiber per day and women under the age of 50 years should consume 25.2 g per day.

For adults over 50 years of age, the recommendation for men is 28 g per day, and for women, it is 22.4 g per day. Most people consume less than half of that recommendation.

The easiest way to increase fiber intake is to eat more plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and unprocessed grains. Just one ounce of chia seeds provides 10 grams of fiber, almost half the daily recommendation for a woman over 50 years.

Weight loss

Foods that are high in fiber help people to feel full for longer, and they are usually lower in calories. Increased fiber intake and a high fiber diet have been shown to help with weight loss.

Chia seeds contain nearly 5 grams of fiber per tablesoon, and their high levels of omega-3-fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acid may be useful for weight loss. The seed can also be consumed as a gel when mixed with water. This causes it to digest more slowly in the body, potentially preventing hunger for a longer period.

However, evidence is scant. A review, published in the Journal of Obesity, concludes that “there is limited data to suggest the use of chia seeds for weight loss.”

Another study, published in Nutrition Research, concludes that, in overweight adults, chia seeds have “no influence on body mass or composition, or various disease risk factor measures.”

Despite their small size, chia seeds are full of important nutrients.

Fast facts on chia seeds:

Here are some key points about chia seeds. More detail is in the main article.

  • Chia seeds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium.
  • A 28-gram, or 1-ounce, serving of chia seeds also contains 5.6 grams of protein.
  • Mixed with water, they can replace egg in vegan cooking.
  • Chia seeds can be eaten cooked or raw, but they should be added to another food or soaked before eating.

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