Chia Seeds are naturally gluten-free, as they are not a wheat-containing food. Not only are they gluten-free, but they are packed with good fats, fiber, and antioxidants. If you are looking for other gluten-free alternatives to chia seeds, consider Kate Naturals Organic Brown Flax Seeds, Navitas Organic Hemp Seeds, or Anthony’s Organic Pumpkin Seeds.
Chia seeds may be small, but they’re incredibly rich in nutrients. A staple in the ancient Aztec and Maya diets, these seeds have been touted for their health benefits for centuries.
The antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids in chia seeds may promote heart health, support strong bones, and improve blood sugar management.
Health benefits of chia seeds
Highly nutritious Chia Seeds with Gluten-free
Despite their tiny size, chia seeds are highly nutritious. They’re packed with fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and various micronutrients.
Chia seeds are tiny black or white seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanic L. They’re believed to be native to Central America.
Historically, Aztec and Mayan civilizations used seeds in their diets and for medicinal purposes, religious rituals, and cosmetics. Today, people all over the world enjoy chia seeds.
Ancient civilizations viewed chia seeds as highly nutritious — a belief that’s backed by modern science. Just 1 ounce (28 grams or 2 tablespoons) of chia seeds contains:
- Calories: 138
- Protein: 4.7 grams
- Fat: 8.7 grams
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): 5 grams
- Carbs: 11.9 grams
- Fiber: 9.8 grams
- Calcium: 14% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Iron: 12% of the DV
- Magnesium: 23% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 20% of the DV
- Zinc: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 15% of the DV
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): 16% of the DV
This nutritional profile is particularly impressive considering that it’s for just a single serving of about two tablespoons.
Chia Seeds with Gluten-free Loaded with antioxidants
Chia seeds are high in antioxidants. These compounds help protect the seed’s delicate fats while also offering health benefits to humans.
Chia seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants not only protect the sensitive fats in chia seeds from going rancid but also benefit human health by neutralizing reactive molecules known as free radicals, which can damage cell compounds if they build up in your body.
For example, free radical damage contributes to aging and diseases like cancer.
The specific antioxidants in chia seeds include chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, and kaempferol. These may all have protective effects on your heart and liver, as well as anticancer properties.
For example, chlorogenic acid may help lower blood pressure, while caffeic acid has anti-inflammatory effects
It may support weight loss
Chia seeds are high in protein and fiber, both of which have been shown to aid weight loss. However, studies on chia seeds and weight loss have provided mixed results.
The fiber and protein in chia seeds may benefit those trying to lose weight. One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds has close to 10 grams of dietary fiber. That means they’re a whopping 35% fiber by weight.
Although research on this topic is mixed, some studies suggest that eating fiber may play a role in preventing overweight and obesity. Additionally, the protein in chia seeds could help reduce appetite and food intake. One study of 24 participants found that eating 0.33 ounces (7 grams) or 0.5 ounces (14 grams) of chia seeds mixed with yogurt for breakfast increased feelings of fullness and reduced food intake in the short term compared with eating chia-free yogurt.
Even so, studies examining the effectiveness of chia seeds for weight loss have observed mixed results.
In an older study from 2009 involving 90 people with overweight, consuming 50 grams of chia seed supplements per day for 12 weeks did not affect body weight or health markers like blood pressure and inflammation markers. In contrast, a 6-month study involving 77 people with overweight or obese and type 2 diabetes eating a reduced-calorie diet found that those who took chia seeds daily experienced significantly greater weight loss than those who received a placebo.
Though adding chia seeds to your diet is unlikely to cause weight loss on its own, it may be a helpful addition to a balanced, nutritious diet if you’re trying to lose weight.
May lower your risk of heart disease
Chia seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease, likely due to the fiber and ALA they contain. However, more human research is needed.
Given that chia seeds are high in fiber and omega-3s, consuming them may reduce your risk of heart disease.
Soluble fiber, the kind primarily found in chia seeds, can help lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood. In turn, this can reduce your risk of heart disease. Consuming ALA, the omega-3 fatty acid in chia seeds has also been linked to decreased heart disease risk.
Still, studies specifically examining the connection between chia seeds and heart health have had inconclusive results. Some rat studies have shown that chia seeds can lower certain heart disease risk factors, including high triglyceride and oxidative stress levels.
A few human studies found that chia seed supplements significantly reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension, or high blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for heart disease.
Overall, chia seeds may benefit heart health, but more research is needed.
Uses for Chia Seeds
- As a gel, chia seeds can be added to smoothies and soups to make a thicker texture and add nutrient value. Put ¼ cup of chia seeds in 1 cup of liquid, stir it together and let it sit, covered, for about 15-20 minutes until it reaches a gel-like consistency.
- You can also use this same process to make a chia seed pudding. Mix the seeds with a liquid like a nut milk or fruit juice. Allow this to sit and gel, then add nuts, fresh fruit, or cinnamon for added flavors.
- Chia sprouts are used for salads and sandwiches. Remember Chia Pets? Well, this is what those fun little terracotta gardens are really made from! Put 1 teaspoon of chia seeds in a single layer in a terracotta saucer. Spray them with water, wrap the dish with plastic, and place them in a sunny area. Spray morning and night for about a week, and you’ll have green sprouts!
- Chia seeds are a great egg replacement, making them a healthy option for the vegan diet. If you need a whole egg, mix 2 teaspoons of ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Let this sit for 5 minutes until it becomes consistent with scrambled eggs.