5 Surprising Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Ashley Festa on April 28, 2021
  • spoon of chia seeds on burlap sack
    Good Things Come in These Small Packages
    Don’t let their small size fool you: Chia seeds are packed with nutritional benefits. From fiber to protein to omega-3s, chia seeds are a great addition to a complete, healthy plant-based diet. And because chia seeds don’t have much taste, you can add them to foods without overpowering the other flavors. If you’re wondering how to eat chia seeds, try adding them to liquids where they will become gel-like, making them easier for your body to absorb. Add some to your cereal, oatmeal, a smoothie, soup, or a salad dressing. They can also be ground up, which makes them easier for your body to process if you aren’t letting them soften up in a liquid. (It’s not safe to eat dry, whole seeds, which will expand in your body after you drink something.) Find out more about why you should start eating chia seeds for good health.
  • black chia seeds are poured from spoon over wood bread board on kitchen table
    1. One serving of chia seeds contains a third of your daily fiber needs.
    Just one ounce (about two tablespoons) of chia seeds provides a ton of fiber. It’s mostly soluble fiber, which decreases cholesterol and helps keep your blood sugar under control—a great benefit if you have diabetes. If you want to incorporate chia seeds into your diet but you don’t typically eat a lot of fiber, it’s best to add them slowly so you don’t upend your digestive system all of a sudden. Once your body adjusts, the extra fiber will actually help with digestion.
  • Germinated seeds of Salvia, known as Chia
    2. Chia seeds are a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids and other key nutrients.
    If you aren’t a fan of oily fish like salmon, chia seeds are another way you can get omega-3 fatty acids and boost your cardiovascular health. Chia seeds are also a great source of calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. Because just one serving of chia seeds provides about 15% of your daily calcium needs, it may be a good choice to help you get enough of this important mineral in a dairy-free diet.
  • homemade oat crackers with chia seeds
    3. Chia seeds are a complete plant-based protein and also gluten-free.
    Chia seeds are a great source of plant-based protein—almost 5 grams per ounce. It’s also a “complete” protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that the body can’t make on its own. On top of that, none of that protein is gluten. Anyone who is sensitive to gluten or has a gluten intolerance like celiac disease can safely add chia seeds to their diet without any damage to the small intestine.
  • chia seed pudding with persimmon in glass
    4. Chia seeds may help you lose weight.
    While you can’t rely solely on chia seeds for weight loss, they may help you get started toward your goal. Because of their high protein and fiber content, chia seeds may help you feel full longer, which may help you avoid unhealthy snacking. Research has shown consuming chia seed flour helped obese people lose weight and reduce their waist circumference. Results in another study found increased satiety in people who ate yogurt with chia seeds rather than yogurt without chia seeds. (That’s another option if you’re looking for ideas on how to eat chia seeds.)
  • Healthy food (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, avocado, legumes, salmon) for lower cholesterol and heart care shot on wooden table
    5. Chia seeds offer many therapeutic benefits.
    These little seeds aren’t a cure-all, but they do offer a host of potential therapeutic benefits as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and natural antidepressant. Because of their high omega-3 content, they aid in cholesterol reduction and blood clot prevention. They’re also great for heart health, helping regulate heart rhythms and control blood pressure. Their high fiber content can help slow down digestion (in a good way), which can prevent blood sugar spikes and also help control type 2 diabetes. Don’t count on chia seeds to work alone to put you in good health—but they can definitely become an element of an overall healthy, plant-based diet.
5 Surprising Health Benefits of Chia Seeds | Chia Seeds for Weight Loss

About The Author

Ashley Festa is a Greenville, S.C.-based freelance writer and editor who has been writing professionally for nearly two decades. In addition to Healthgrades, she also has written for Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, the University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing and Health Innovation, and Fit Pregnancy magazine.
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Last Review Date: 2021 Apr 21
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