Chia seeds have been around since 3500 BC, when they were discovered and introduced into the Aztec diet. Over time, they have gained traction and are now known for their various health benefits. Recently, they have become quite popular on social media, being touted as the internal shower drink.
Chia seeds are high in fiber and extremely absorptive, making them perfect for those looking to eat less and stay fuller longer.
Individuals introducing chia seeds to their diet for the first time should be aware that it may cause some digestive issues due to the dramatic increase in fiber.
While chia water is a popular beverage and social media trend, chia seeds can be utilized in many other food dishes for those who don’t prefer the gelatinous mixture.
When mixed with water and lemon, chia seeds transform into a gelatinous mixture and can help relieve constipation and bloating. With all these health benefits, chia seed water is quickly becoming the go-to health drink for many.
Health benefits of chia water
If you wonder why you should drink chia water, below we provide a list of reasons why it's beneficial.
Improves overall heart health
Chia seeds offer a variety of health benefits, with heart health being one of the most important. This is due to their high alpha-linolenic fatty acids (ALA) and fiber, which are known to help lower cholesterol, regulate heart rhythms and blood pressure and prevent blood clots. Additionally, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which comprise sixty percent of the oil in chia seeds, can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality. For instance, a Chinese cohort of over 63,000 individuals showed that those with the highest intakes of omega-3 fatty acids had a 17% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality. The Cardiovascular Health Study cohort also showed a 50% lower risk of fatal ischemic heart disease for those over 65 with higher intakes of ALA.
Manages blood sugar levels
Chia seeds are an excellent dietary supplement for those with type 2 diabetes. Rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and magnesium, chia seeds can help to manage blood sugar levels effectively. This is due to the seeds’ high fiber content, which slows digestion and helps prevent blood sugar spikes. This has been demonstrated in a study involving 42 adults with type 2 diabetes who were randomly assigned to a chia seed group or a control group. The chia seed group, who consumed 40g/day of chia seeds for 12 weeks, had a reduction in their systolic blood pressure compared to the control group. Therefore, adding chia seeds to your diet may be beneficial in helping to manage your blood sugar levels successfully.
Helps provide flawless skin
Chia seeds are a superfood with a multitude of benefits for the skin, containing essential Vitamin-B complex (thiamine, niacin), vitamin A, and vitamin E. These nutrient-dense seeds are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that help with anti-aging, hydrating skin, glowing skin, and more. For example, the high levels of antioxidants in chia seeds have been known to fight free radical damage caused by UV exposure, providing an extra layer of protection for your skin. With these powerful skin-supporting benefits, it’s no wonder why chia seeds are such a popular choice among those looking to maintain a healthy and youthful complexion.
Promotes satiety and prevents overeating
The recent trend of consuming chia seed and water mixtures is becoming increasingly popular as a weight loss tactic. The combination is created by combining chia seeds and water, and it quickly turns gelatinous, creating a thick concoction that helps to reduce overeating and promote satiety. Although there have been few studies on the direct effects of chia seeds mixed with water, research has shown that chia seeds can effectively lead to weight loss. In addition, when consumed before a meal, the chia seed mixture can reduce appetite and keep individuals feeling fuller for longer. Therefore, the combination is not only helpful for digestion and bloating, but also for those looking to lose weight.
Chia – dosage and nutrition:
To prepare chia seed water, start by mixing one to two tablespoons of chia seeds with eight ounces of water.
Those with digestion issues may want to start slowly, as chia seeds are highly fibrous, and your body may not be used to the sudden increase. Just two tablespoons (1 ounce (ca. 38 g) or 28 grams) of chia seeds contain 140 calories, 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of unsaturated fat. They also include calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. Furthermore, chia seeds are highly versatile and can be easily added to your favorite meals or snacks.
For those who aren’t a fan of the gelatinous texture chia seeds provide when mixed with water, there is an endless list of alternative options for benefiting from the fibrous seeds. Chia seeds can be added to several foods, including:
- Baked goods;
- Stir fries;
- Asian-inspired dishes;
Side effects of chia water
When consumed in moderation, chia seeds can be a great addition to any diet. However, it’s important to remember that excessive fiber intake, like that found in chia seeds, can lead to digestive issues. Too much fiber can cause abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas. Those with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, should also be cautious when consuming chia seeds. They may need to monitor their fiber intake and limit their chia seed consumption. Lastly, always remember to increase your hydration when increasing your fiber intake, such as with chia seeds, as this will help keep your digestive system running smoothly and prevent constipation.
Chia seeds are incredibly versatile and offer a wide range of benefits throughout the body. They are rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Drinking chia seed water is a great way to reap these benefits and can also help prevent, treat, and stop other health issues. So it’s no wonder chia seeds are becoming a staple in the health-conscious diet.
- Current Atherosclerosis Reports. Alpha-Linolenic Acid: Is It Essential to Cardiovascular Health?
- European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. The Association between Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Death: the Singapore Chinese Health Study.
- Nutrition and Health. Chia seed ( Salvia hispanica L.) supplementation to the diet of adults with type 2 diabetes improved systolic blood pressure: A randomized controlled trial.
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Chia Seeds.
- Experimental Dermatology. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: photoprotective macronutrients.
- Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases. Salba-chia (Salvia hispanica L.) in the treatment of overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes: A double-blind randomized controlled trial.