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11 Benefits and Side Effects of Chia Seeds (7 Contraindications To Be Noted)[Updated Dec/2022]

Chia seeds have become the new darling of the health food industry in the past 20 years. It was once one of the staple foods of the Aztecs in South America thousands of years ago. Because of its rich variety of nutrients, Therefore, it is regarded as a super food, and it also has the characteristics of swelling after absorbing water (up to 15 times the weight of the seed) and high fiber. It can slow down the conversion of starch into sugar in the stomach and intestines. It is regarded as a holy product for weight loss.

In various cases, chia seeds are considered to have potential benefits in the control of diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation, anti-coagulation, constipation, anti-depression, anti-anxiety, analgesia, vision and immune improvement, etc. But is there any evidence from medical research? See the text analysis for details.


What are chia seeds?

Chia seeds are the seeds of Salvia officinalis of the Lamiaceae, which originate in Central and South America (Northern Mexico and Guatemala). The word Chia comes from the ancient Aztec word Chian, meaning rich Greasy (non-widely spread magical power)

Since 1500 BC, chia seeds have been used in food, folk medicine, cosmetics and part of social religious ceremonies

The seed color ranges from black, gray, black spots to white, and the shape is oval, and the size ranges from 1 mm to 2 mm.

The nutritional composition of chia seeds is mainly 31% fat, 26% carbohydrates, 18% dietary fiber and 16% gluten-free protein. The special feature is that the oil contains 68% alpha-linolenic acid (omega 3 One type), the content is much higher than other seeds. Note 1

In addition, it is also one of the sources of various vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, vitamin C and vitamin A) and minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium)

Due to these characteristics, chia seeds have become one of the most attractive crops in feed, food, medicine, nutrition and other industries recently.


What are the scientifically proven effects of chia seeds/chia seeds?

  1. Chia seeds improve inflammation

C-reactive protein (C-reactive protein) is a non-specific biomarker (originally discovered in 1930 by Tillet and Francis investigating serum pneumococcal infections). It is found in most tissue damage, infection, cardiovascular disease, self Acute inflammatory events such as immune diseases and malignant tumors will increase rapidly after occurrence.

A single-blind crossover design study (12 weeks in 20 well-controlled subjects with type 2 diabetes) found that chia seeds (37 g daily intake) It can reduce the inflammatory marker: hypersensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) by 40% . Note 1

*Conclusion: Ingestion of Shiqiya has a positive effect on reducing the inflammation marker hs-CRP, but it is limited by the small number of samples, and more research is needed to support it

  1. Chia seeds are beneficial for blood pressure regulation

Blood pressure is the pressure in the main arterial system of the human body. The unit is mmHg. It is usually divided into systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.

Systolic pressure is the maximum blood pressure during ventricle contraction, and Diastolic pressure is the minimum pressure recorded before the next contraction.

Our body can adjust blood pressure as needed. When hypertension occurs without a specific cause, it is generally called “primary” hypertension, and it is also the most common type of hypertension at present.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (12 weeks in 29 patients with stage 1 hypertension) found that eating chia flour (daily The dose is 35 g) has the effect of assisting in the regulation of blood pressure . Note 1

*Conclusion: Chia seeds may be positively helpful for blood pressure regulation, but due to the small number of samples, more large-scale trials are needed to prove it

  1. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Chia seeds contain 25% to 40% oil, 60% of which are omega-3 fatty acids (α-linolenic acid (ALA)) and 20% omega-6 fatty acids (Linoleic acid (LA))

Among them, omega-3 can regulate a variety of molecular processes and play multiple effects, including: anti-inflammatory, lowering triglycerides, protecting the heart, anti-arrhythmia, and even beneficial to cognitive function.

A 7-week study in 10 postmenopausal women found that ingestion of milled chia seeds increased plasma levels of ALA and EPA, but not DPA and DHA . Note 1

Although the human body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA through enzymes , studies have found that the conversion efficiency is extremely poor, only about 0.3% (EPA) and less than 0.01% (DHA) can be successfully converted.

*Conclusion: Although chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (ALA), the conversion efficiency to EPA and DHA may not be good

  1. Chia seeds are rich in calcium and can improve bone health

Chia seeds contain a variety of nutrients that can promote bone health, including calcium. phosphorus. Magnesium and protein.

And the calcium content in it reaches 631 mg of calcium per 100 g, which is about 6 times that of milk (110 mg of calcium in 100 g of milk). For people who are lactose intolerant or do not drink milk , chia seeds are a very good source of calcium

One animal study found that consuming chia seeds can help increase bone mineral content . Note 1

*Conclusion: Chia seeds are rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and protein. These nutrients are essential for bone health.

  1. Chia seeds enhance weight loss

According to information released by the World Health Organization, the global obesity population has doubled in the past 20 years. About 1.9 billion adults are overweight, of which 600 million are obese.

Obesity not only causes psychological stress, but also has a wide range of effects on the body, including type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension, coronary artery disease, and various forms of cancer (endometrial cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer). And cognitive dysfunction.

A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial (6 months in 77 overweight or obese diabetic patients on a calorie-restricted diet) found that eating chia seeds had significantly greater weight loss compared with a control group consuming oat bran . weight and improve obesity-related risk factors (such as C-reactive protein and adiponectin) . Note 2

The underlying mechanism may be related to the fact that chia seeds are rich in dietary fiber, which can relieve hunger and lower blood sugar after meals.

*Conclusion: The additional use of chia seeds in addition to the calorie restriction diet has the effect of improving weight loss

  1. Chia seeds are rich in many nutrients

Chia seeds are used as a staple food by the ancient Aztecs because they are rich in nutrients, which can make you full of energy after being eaten. These benefits have emerged after being discovered by modern people. Subseed boom

The following are the nutrients per 100 grams of chia seeds

Carbonized compound: 44g (contains 38g of dietary fiber)

Protein: 15.6 g

Fat: 30.8 g (contains 17.8g of Omega-3s)

Calcium: 631 mg

Iron: 7.72 g

Magnesium: 335 g

Zinc: 4.58 mg

Copper: 0.9 mg

Manganese: 2.2 mg

There are also vitamins B1, B2 and B3, so don’t underestimate this seed. The nutrient density in it is very high. It can be said to be the number one whole grain food, and it does not contain allergic gluten ( Gluten-free), it is best to confirm that the product is certified organic and not genetically modified before buying

  1. Chia seeds are low in calories and rich in fiber

Among the nutrients above, each 100g of chia seeds contains 44g of carbonized compounds, but 38g of it is dietary fiber, accounting for about 40%, which is a high-quality source of fiber. These dietary fibers do not contain calories and will not cause blood sugar to rise. It can also be used as food by good bacteria in the intestine, which can help good bacteria grow and promote gastrointestinal function. Note 3

And because of its rich fiber characteristics, it can absorb 10 times its own volume of water, and it will become like a gelatinous substance when it meets water. After eating, it can increase satiety, reduce cravings for sweets, and reduce sugar content. Absorption speed, so that you will not consume too many calories

  1. Chia seeds stabilize postprandial blood sugar and increase satiety

For diabetics and the general population, postprandial blood glucose is regarded as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, retinopathy, renal failure, and neurological complications. Note 4

The main reason is related to the oxidative stress caused by hyperglycemia, which can easily cause vascular endothelial dysfunction, increase inflammation, vasoconstriction, and increase carotid artery intima thickness.

A randomized crossover test (participants 15 healthy adults) pointed out that compared with flaxseed, chia seeds can significantly slow down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar (reduce the peak blood sugar and the time required to reach the peak) and increase the subjects Satiety. Note 5

The underlying mechanism is related to the high dietary fiber content of chia seeds and the high viscosity after soaking

*Conclusion: Chia seeds can slow down the rise of blood sugar after meals, and improve the feeling of fullness, which is beneficial to blood sugar control

  1. Chia seeds are rich in plant antioxidants

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants (Note 6), which can slow down the acidification of the fat in the seeds and make the seeds more durable. More importantly, antioxidants can fight free radicals that cause aging and diseases. Note 7

Ingesting natural antioxidants from food is an unchanging principle to maintain health and avoid the shortcomings of artificial health foods criticized by others.

  1. Chia seeds are rich in protein

Protein accounts for about 14% of chia seeds, which is very much in plants. Since the proportion is complete, it is very conducive to human body absorption.

Protein is an indispensable nutrient for the human body to maintain life, and even helps to lose weight. Studies have pointed out that supplementing adequate amounts of protein can help increase satiety and reduce cravings for snacks by 60%, which can help lose weight. Reduce the intake of starchy foods. Note 8

Therefore, chia seeds are a high-quality protein source for vegetarians and diet groups, and can be included in the daily diet.

  1. Chia seeds can lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides

Because chia seeds are rich in fiber. Protein and Omega-3, these nutrients can increase metabolism in the body. Several studies have found that if chia seeds are taken evenly in the diet. Foods such as protein and oats can reduce low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides, increase good cholesterol and reduce inflammation, and have a positive effect on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Note 1


Are there any side effects of chia seeds? Safety precautions (7 point use taboo)

After seeing the effects of chia seeds above, let’s continue to understand if there are possible side effects or contraindications. After all, there is no food that can suit everyone.

  1. May cause digestive problems:

Chia seeds are a good source of water-soluble fiber, containing 11 grams of fiber per 1 ounce (about 28 grams)

Although proper amount of fiber is good for health, excessive intake of fiber may cause problems such as abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence (especially if there is no adequate water balance)

  1. Pay attention to inflammatory bowel disease

Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, may need to follow a fiber-restricted diet, especially acute relapse (diarrhea, cramps), bowel Certain conditions such as narrowing of the tract, overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, and after surgery.

  1. Improper ingestion may risk suffocation

When dried chia seeds are exposed to water, they absorb 10 to 12 times their weight in liquid and expand rapidly

Before eating chia seeds, be sure to soak them for at least 5 to 10 minutes. There was a dangerous case of a man who ate a tablespoon of dried seeds and then drank a glass of water. The seeds swelled in the esophagus and caused blockage.

In addition, people with dysphagia (Dysphagia) patients may need to be extra careful when eating.

  1. May cause allergies

Since chia seeds are rich in protein, they may also cause allergies (although this is not common)

Symptoms may occur from skin rash, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy swelling of the face/lips/tongue

There was a case of a woman experiencing dizziness, shortness of breath, hives and swelling of the face after ingesting chia seeds

If you have ever been allergic to Mustard Seeds, don’t eat chia seeds because they belong to the same family

  1. Do not use it with blood sugar or blood pressure lowering drugs, because chia seeds may have the effect of regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, which may affect the efficacy of the drug

  1. Avoid using with anticoagulants:

Because chia seeds are rich in Omega-3, and Omega-3 has anticoagulant effect, if you take anticoagulants, you should pay attention to avoid using them together. In theory, it may increase the risk of bleeding, and 2 weeks before the operation Should stop eating.

  1. May be linked to prostate cancer

Because chia seeds are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid

Some studies have shown that a large amount of ALA in the diet may be associated with a higher incidence of prostate cancer, but recent studies have suggested that a higher intake of ALA is associated with a lower risk of prostate cancer. Note 1, Note 3

Therefore, research in this area is currently contradictory, but if you have prostate cancer or a high-risk group of prostate cancer, it is best to avoid excessive consumption of chia seeds.


Can chia seeds be eaten dry? Do I have to soak in water?

Do I have to soak in water to eat chia seeds? There has been no correct answer to this question for a long time. In fact, it’s okay to eat dry without any harm.

However, after soaking in water, chia seeds will produce a seed germination effect, reducing enzyme inhibitors (enzymes that prevent seeds from germinating). First, you can absorb them more easily after you eat them, and second, they can convert the nutrients in the seeds into Nutrients such as amino acids can absorb more nutrients

Therefore, eating after soaking is the most efficient way to eat, and it is most often recommended.


How to Soak Chia Seeds?

When soaking chia seeds, please remember that the ratio of seeds to water is about 1:10, that is, 1 spoonful of 15 grams of seeds is placed in about 150 cc of water, and soaked for about 15 to 30 minutes (the seeds will absorb water and swell to about 12 times) , the amount and thickness can be adjusted according to preference.

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