Here we’ll learn how and why to eat chia seeds every day, their amazing health benefits plus I’ve got an easy chia pudding recipe to help you out!
Bought some chia seeds, because you heard they’re good for you? Many years ago I did the same for the first time. Now chia seeds are a part of my everyday diet and you should have them too! Why? Because those tiny chia seeds come with amazing health benefits you don’t want to miss out on!
Today we’re going to break down the nutrition and health benefits of chia seeds, give you some ideas on how to enjoy them daily and share how much chia seeds you actually need and can consume on a day-to-day basis.
What Are Chia Seeds
Did you know that the name of chia seeds, comes from the Spanish word “chian” which means “oily”? Well, that’s precisely what they are. Chia seeds are small oily seeds, which are produced from the Salvia Hispanica L. plant. This plant blooms profusely for one whole season, after which it dies. I know it’s sad, but on a more positive note – we’ve got the seeds to plant again.
This plant is found most commonly in North, South and Central America, Southern Africa and South-East Asia. Currently, Mexico is thought to be the largest chia producer.
This “superfood” is not a new discovery – chia seeds were incredibly popular with the Aztecs and later on favored by the Teotihuacans and Toltecs. These tiny seeds were often used in religious rituals, and regarded as sacred seeds. Furthermore, they were pressed for oil extraction, ground in order to create flour and used for medicinal purposes.
Chia seeds come in two ‘variants’ – white and black seeds. These variants have little to no nutritional differences, with the only noticeable ones being their color and size – white chia seeds are larger than black ones.
7 Great Reasons To Eat Chia Seeds Every Day
There is a long list of benefits that come with consuming chia seeds every day! Here are just seven great reasons to eat chia seeds daily in order to improve your health.
1. Rich In Nutrients And Gluten-Free
The little seeds are free from gluten, which makes them a great choice for people suffering from Celiac disease or any other type of gluten intolerance. They are extremely rich in nutrients. Chia seeds contain a large amount of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibers, carbohydrates, vitamins (mostly B complex ones) and minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, phosphorus and others.
2. Complete Protein
Chia seeds are also considered a complete protein, as they contain all nine essential amino acids which the body cannot naturally produce – histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. So if you need more protein in your daily diet – eating chia seeds every day can help!
3. Increase Satiety And Improve Blood Sugar
The high fiber and protein levels in chia seeds help with increasing satiety (the feeling of ‘fulness’) after a meal. This happens by slowing down the body’s digestion, which also leads to improved and non-fluctuating blood sugar levels. That’s why if you’re looking to lose weight in a healthy or sustainable way, adding chia seeds to your daily diet is a no-brainer!
4. Great Source Of Healing Antioxidants
To add to their health benefits, chia seeds harbor several flavonoids, such as chlorogenic and caffeic acid, quercetin and kaempferol.
These antioxidants in chia seeds help fight the body’s free radicals. This is super important, as free radicals can cause cell damage and oxidative stress which is basically the root of aging and disease. When you’ve got antioxidants in your daily diet – you can fight disease as well as premature aging easier.
Studies also suggest that the antioxidants in chia seeds have anti-cancer, anti-hypertensive and neuroprotective properties.
5. Have A Great Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio
Chia seeds are one of the best plant-based sources of omega-3’s. More than that, unlike other plant-based omega-3 sources, they also have a lower omega-6 content. The ratio of omega-6/omega-3’s in chia seeds is 1:3, which is highly beneficial when it comes to reducing inflammation. (source)
Even if you’re eating super healthy right now, you’re probably consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids by default. They’re simply everywhere – in your morning oatmeal, in the tomatoes and hummus you had with your lunch, in the chicken you had for dinner…everywhere.
This imbalance is one of the main reasons chronic inflammation is running rampant around the world over the last 10+ years.
So, balance it out – it’s as easy as adding some chia seeds to your daily menu! You only need one ounce of chia seeds every day…that ounce provides over 5000mg of plant-based omega-3’s, which is more than enough to cover your daily needs. (source)
6. Can Reduce Chronic Inflammation & Disease
The high omega-3 content, the beneficial omega-6/omega-3 ratio, along with the high-fiber content and excellent antioxidant profile make chia seeds the perfect anti-inflammatory food. (source)
Eating chia seeds every day can result in better blood pressure and reduced inflammation, which is beneficial against heart disease, and cognitive regression and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
7. Can Improve Bone Health
Another fascinating thing about chia seeds is that when compared to dairy products, gram to gram, the results showed that the seeds contained more calcium than milk and cheeses. This, of course, with the addition of all the other minerals found in them, leads to better bone health and muscle activity.
How Much Chia Seeds Per Day
While there is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for chia seeds, experts believe 30-40 grams or about 3 tbsp per day is a perfect serving for an average adult.
How To Store Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are accessible in almost every store and supermarket and can also be purchased online. They have a shelf life of 1-2 years under the condition that they are stored in a dry and cool place. I usually pack them in airtight containers like glass jars and store them in the pantry – where it is, well, cool and dry.
How To Eat Chia Seeds
When it comes to preparing chia seeds and eating them every day, there is a large versatility as you can enjoy them both whole and ground.
- The most popular chia seed recipes include adding and soaking them in moist foods, such as yogurt, milk and smoothies. That’s how you make chia pudding too! You can top your pudding with fruits, nut butter, nuts or even chocolate chunks!
- Add some chia seeds to your smoothies for a nice boost of omega-3’s!
- You can also use chia seeds as a great egg replacement in baked goods and pancakes like these.
- Add the seeds and the chia sprouts as a topping to different salads or warm meals, such as soups.
- Last but not least, if ground, you can mix the chia seeds with spices and use them as a breading for fried foods.
Chia Seeds Side Effects
As with almost every food available, you need to consume chia seeds should in moderation. As healthy as they are, enjoying too many of them can lead to digestive issues like constipation, bloating, gas and diarrhea due to their high fiber levels.
Most importantly, avoid eating chia seeds dry, as they react with the moisture in your GI tract and expand.
When exposed to water, they swell and turn into a gelatinous substance, which can be a dangerous choking hazard. So make sure to always soak them in some kind of moisture (water, milk, yogurt) for at least 10 minutes before consumption.
In conclusion, you cannot go wrong by implementing chia seeds into your daily diet. They are extremely beneficial to your physical health in more ways than one due to their extremely high content of healthy nutrients. Moreover, they are an incredibly versatile food that you enjoy in a variety of ways!
Knez Hrnčič, M., Ivanovski, M., Cör, D., & Knez, Ž. (2019). Chia Seeds (Salvia hispanica L.): An Overview-Phytochemical Profile, Isolation Methods, and Application. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(1), 11. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25010011
WebMD Editorial Contributors, Health Benefits of Chia Seeds, reviewed by MD Baby, D. (15.09.2022), Nourish by WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chia-seeds
Chia Seeds, Harvard T.H. Chan, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/chia-seeds/
How Much Chia Seeds Should You Eat a Day?, reviewed by DO Ratini, M. (23.09.2021), MedicineNet, https://www.medicinenet.com/how_much_chia_seeds_should_you_eat_a_day/article.htm
Melo, D., Machado, T. B., & Oliveira, M. B. P. P., (2019). Chia seeds: an ancient grain trending in modern human diets. Food & function, 10(6), 3068–3089. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9fo00239a
Chia Seed History and Origin, Grand Teton Ancient Grains, https://www.ancientgrains.com/black-chia-seeds/chia-seed-history-and-origin/
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cup berries
- 1 banana
- 2 tbsp almond butter
- The night before, take a clean glass jar or another airtight container and add chia seeds, dairy-free milk and lastly the maple syrup into it. Remember to choose a bigger jar or container that allows for toppings if you’re going to eat the pudding on the go.
- Next, mix well with a fork.
- Stop for a minute to let the seeds settle before you start stirring once again. You’ll notice that stirring this way will allow the seeds to spread evenly throughout the milk. Furthermore, there won’t be any clumps of chia seeds in the jar.
- Now, if you see that the chia seeds have spread out evenly and that there are no clumps, it’s time to close the lid and put the jar in the fridge.
- Let the jar sit in the fridge overnight or for at least 3 hours. During this period the chia seeds will soak up all the milk and will reach pudding-like consistency.
- In the morning, top with fruit and nuts or nut butter and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 354Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 15gSugar: 22gProtein: 9g