Do chia seeds really help with weight loss? Health benefits, nutrition facts and ways to include them in diet  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
New Delhi: Chia seeds have been gaining popularity in recent years. In fact, most dietitians would recommend adding these tiny seeds to your diet if youre trying to shrink your waistline. It is claimed that chia seeds, which are often referred to as a superfood, have many health benefits, including weight loss. But, is eating chia seeds really one trick to losing belly fat?
Basically, chia seeds are tiny power-packed seeds that are loaded with proteins, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, and several healthful nutrients and antioxidants. Chia seeds come from the plantSalvia hispanica L, andare a native of Mexico - it does not have an Indian name.
Studies have shown that consuming 2 tablespoons of chia seeds each day can do wonders for your health. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds (28g) contain:
To understand more about chia seeds, its health benefits, and whether these tiny superseeds can actually aid weight loss, we spoke with Ms Priya Prakash, a certified nutrition coach and biotechnologist, co-founder of Naturally Yours, who also suggests ways to incorporate them into your diet.
The idea is that since chia seeds are high in fibre, which is filling and can temporarily suppress appetite, they may help you eat fewer calories, thereby promoting weight loss. Research has linked eating a high-fibre diet to weight loss and reduced belly fat. The fibre in chia seeds is mainly soluble fibre, which absorbs large amounts of water and takes up a gel-like consistency. This helps in slowing down the digestion and absorption of food. This, in turn, leads to feeling full for a longer period of time and thus avoiding unnecessary snacking in between meals. Reducing a persons desire to snack throughout the day and, therefore, helping them reduce their daily calorie intake is helpful for people who are looking to lose weight sustainably. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, another key nutrient for weight loss.
Yet, theres little evidence for the weight loss benefits of chia seeds, however, they can be a nutritious addition to your diet. For instance, a review, published in the Journal of Obesity, concluded that there is limited data to suggest the use of chia seeds for weight loss, although many obese people take supplements to shed those extra pounds. You should understand that chia seeds are also relatively high in fat and calories, hence, moderation is the key here - as with any other food.
Here are some health benefits of chia seeds:
Chia seed does not have a strong taste of its own so it can be easily included in any recipe without altering the taste of the final dish. It can be consumed raw, roasted, or in the powder form. But remember to always combine them with dishes that have some moisture content in them. Do not eat dry chia seeds by themselves.
While more extensive studies are required to test the effects of chia seeds on weight loss and overall health, you can make these nutritious pseudo grains a part of your healthy weight loss plan. So, you may include them in your daily diet to reap the benefits of this superfood. The antioxidant and omega-3 rich seeds can keep you energised and supports cardiac health, healthy digestion and sustainable weight management. But, if you want to lose weight, make sure that you follow a healthy, balanced diet and get more physical activity. Remember, there's no magic bullet or seed for weight loss.
A word of caution: Chia seeds do not typically cause side effects, however, they may interact with blood thinners such as warfarin. Therefore, people should avoid consuming chia seeds if they are using any of these drugs.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.