Can Chia Seeds Help You Lose Weight?

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weight lossChia seeds are highly nutritious. However, this is not the only reason why they are commonly sold in health food stores.

In recent years, chia seeds have gained a reputation of being highly effective for weight loss. But do these claims have any real basis in science?

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds come from a plant called Salvia Hispanica, which grows on desert plains in Mexico. The seeds are edible, and have long had a reputation for having health boosting properties. Ancient stories suggest that the Aztec and Mayan cultures used chia seeds to increase energy.

These stories may well be true, as the seeds have very high concentrations of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium, all of which have a positive impact on energy levels.

Unlike many of the other seeds being sold by health food stores, such as flax seeds, chia is very easy to digest. This means that the body can absorb the nutrients and antioxidants the seeds contain very easily.

Chia seeds are very versatile, as their slightly nutty flavor makes them ideal for adding into beverages and food for added health benefits. Two tablespoons of seeds (approximately one ounce) contains around 140 calories, 12 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein.

Do Chia Seeds Aid Weight Loss?

Because of their pleasant taste, many people add chia seeds to cereals, rice dishes, yogurt or sauces. Many people believe that by doing this, they will feel full quicker and for longer as the chia seeds will expand in their stomach.

This suppression of appetite will ultimately lead to weight loss, as the person will opt for smaller portions and will be less tempted by snacking between meals.

Weight Loss With Chia SeedsAt present, there is very little scientific evidence to back up this belief, as there are a lack of clinical trials into the consumption of chia seeds.

Of the clinical studies which have been done, most of the focus has been on the impact of chia seeds on heart health rather than weight loss. The studies did conclude that eating chia has a positive effect on cardiovascular health.

Despite a lack of scientific studies, many nutritional experts remain convinced that chia seeds can help a person to lose weight. Chia seeds are a very good alternative to processed grains, for example those found in white bread and muffins.

Not only will this excellent source of whole grain help your body become fitter and healthier, many people find that they prefer the taste too.

Chia seeds can be the perfect low-fat way to consume your body’s daily recommend dose of things like fiber, calcium and iron. They are also one of the richest plant based sources of alpha linolenic acid, one of the healthiest forms of omega-3.

However, non-vegetarians will still benefit from eating oily fish, which allows faster absorption of fatty acids.

In addition to this, chia seeds are very high in protein. At twenty percent, their protein concentration is far higher than any other grain or seed source. This would back up the claim that consuming chia seeds can help to suppress appetite and help you to lose weight, as the protein you eat plays a significant role in how full you feel after a meal.

Chia seeds are also one of the biggest sources of antioxidant. Even blueberries, which are often touted as being a “super food”, contain far less antioxidants than chia.

Although not directly linked with weight, antioxidants are important for maintaining good overall health. They are essential for counteracting the damage done to the body by free radicals, and can slow down the natural wear and tear of the aging process.

Therefore, regular consumption of chia seeds can leave you feeling fitter and healthier, and thereby more inclined to exercise and shift a few excess pounds.

weight loseThere is also reason to believe that there is some scientific basis behind the seeds “expanding in your stomach”, to make you feel fuller.

Once consumed, the seeds will absorb up to ten times their weight and form a gel like substance in the stomach.

Although not properly tested in a clinical setting, it is reasonable to suggest that this may leave you feeling full. The seeds also suppress the digestive process which breaks down carbohydrates and converts them into sugar. Therefore, they are a good dietry addition for people who are trying to cut down on carbs.

Can Everyone Have Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds should be avoided if you have allergies or sensitivities to similar food items such as mustard or sesame seeds. You should also seek advice from your family doctor if you are on medications such as blood thinners, as the seeds may interfere with the effectiveness of the medication.

In conclusion, it can be said that although there is no definitive scientific evidence that chia seeds help you to lose weight, it is reasonable to believe that they do.

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