Chia seeds provide several nutrients that have great potential as nutraceutical compounds, which benefit human health. The most important compounds of the seeds include soluble and insoluble fiber, oil with high amounts of ω-3 and -6 fatty acids, proteins with a high level of essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals with high antioxidant activities including phenolics and isoflavones.Chia seeds may prevent constipation, promote heart health, reduce risk of cancer
Aids Diabetes Management
The high fiber and omega-3 fatty acid content of chia seeds is a winning combination for long-term diabetes care. Chia seeds help lower blood sugar levels after meals, along with blood levels of c-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation). The positive effects of chia seeds on diabetes management have been observed in both human and animal studies.4
Promotes Heart Health
Human studies on chia seeds have shown them to effectively lower triglyceride and blood pressure levels in healthy subjects. Although the sample size was small, 12 volunteers were given 50 grams of chia seeds for one month. As a result, diastolic blood pressure went down about 5 points and triglycerides were reduced by 20 points.4 An independent risk factor for heart disease also appears, to improve with increased intake of chia seeds.
Supports Immune System Function
Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3s, which provide well-established benefits for the immune system, including various types of T-cells and B-cells.5 Omega-3s support the function of macrophages in innate immunity. By increasing the phagocytic activity of macrophages, omega-3s help the body dispose of damaged cells.
Omega-3s also become embedded in the cell walls of neutrophils (white blood cells) making them more flexible and faster at migrating to areas where they’re needed. If you’re not getting enough omega-3s in your diet (and most people don’t), eating more chia seeds can help strengthen your immune system.
Chia seeds provide 50% of the average dietary fiber requirement in just a 1/4 cup serving. Fiber offers a host of health benefits, especially when it comes to digestive health.6 Two forms of fiber are found in chia seeds, the type that mixes with water (soluble fiber) and roughage, or insoluble fiber.
This combination means that chia seeds help soften stool and also add bulk, making it easier and faster to pass. Just be sure to increase your intake of fiber slowly and drink plenty of water as your body adjusts to this positive change.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
Chia seeds contain a beneficial flavonol, kaempferol. Food sources of kaempferol demonstrate anticancer potential through their ability to affect several cellular mechanisms including apoptosis and signaling.7 For instance, kaempferol blocks the action of bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine-disrupting chemical found in plastics and processed foods.
Kaempferol is proactive against several forms of cancer, including breast cancer, liver cancer, brain cancer, colon cancer, and more. As a whole food, chia seeds offer several additional cancer-fighting compounds, like quercetin and dietary fiber. With few negative side effects and lots of potential benefits, chia seeds help supply your body with free radical protection.