“Risk factors favouring the development of symptomatic diverticular disease include obesity, smoking and diets low in fiber…Prior theories of the cause of diverticulosis suggested that constipation was an important cause, but new data challenge this and has provoked new ideas. Underlying mechanisms causing diverticulosis include weakening of the colonic wall and/or degenerative changes in the enteric nerves. Dietary induced changes in microbiota and the host inflammatory response may underlie the subsequent development of acute/chronic diverticulitis and its sequela.”
While there is no specific evidence for the benefits of chia for diverticulitis, only because no specific studies have been done, a couple of important things to draw from that paragraph above are that, a low fiber diet is thought to contribute to it’s development – chia has both soluble and insoluble fiber, and lots of it.
The other thing is inflammation, chia is packed with omega 3, and while it’s the alpha-linolenic version of omegas, which doesn’t convert as well as say, eating fish, it still does provide anti-inflammatory benefits, particularly with the amount of anti-oxidants it contains, which can help reduce oxidative stress.
So all and all I’d say you don’t have anything to lose by adding some chia to your diet.
8. Chia Seeds and Diabetes
In a recent study in rats, one group of rats were fed a high fat, high fructose (sugar) diet (HFF), and the other group were fed a high fat, high fructose (sugar) diet along with chia seeds and chia oil (HFFC). The rats fed the HFF diet developed glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress – much like humans would if fed a typical diet high in processed foods and sugar.
The rats fed the HFFC diet, didn’t develop the same problems, it was quite the opposite. The addition of chia seeds helped restore the bodies antioxidant system and improve glucose and insulin tolerance – which is actually quite remarkable.
This is perhaps one of the strongest and most important studies around the topic of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and chia. A2007 randomized control trial (the strongest form of study) took 2 groups of type 2 diabetics and gave them either 37 g of chia or wheat bran per day as a dietary supplement for 12 weeks.
The group taking chia seeds had a reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) by 6.3 mmHg, a reduction in hs-CRP of 40% (an inflammatory molecule that’s frequently seen in heart disease), and significant decreases in A1C. Both reductions in SBP andCRP indicate major improvements for cardiovascular risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, which is just awesome.
9. Chia Seeds and Weight Loss
Although many health experts claim that chia seeds can help with weight loss, when it comes to the science chia seeds and weight loss has turned back poor results. All I could find was a study in 2009 that showed no effect on BMI or weight. But I think that although there isn’t any direct evidence to say they contribute to weight loss directly, but included in an every day healthy diet, I don’t see how they wouldn’t help.
They have high protein and fiber levels that help you feel fuller for longer, and with all the other nutritional benefits I can only see they make the perfect ingredient for a healthy guilt free pudding.
10. Chia Seeds and Hypertension
Studies have shown that chia can help regulate peptides and hormones that regulate hypertension, aka blood pressure. Again, not a lot of research but a little to suggest some overall benefits.
And as we just mentioned, the study with type 2 diabeticsshowed the group taking chia seeds had a reduction in systolic blood pressure (SBP) by 6.3 mmHg, so you could only suppose that if more studies were done, then we’d likely hear more about the benefits for hypertension.
11. Chia Seeds and Cancer
There isn’t loads of evidence around cancer either, but there is enough to convince me it could be of great benefit.
A study published in the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry “analyzed the effect of the essential fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid (ALA) on nitric oxide release as well as induction of lipid peroxidation in breast and cervical cancer cell lines”.
What they found was that: “ALA regulated the growth of cancer cell lines through induction of lipid peroxidation and modulation of nitric oxide release resulting in apoptosis”.
Apoptosis means cell death, so the extra ALA from the chia seeds killed the cancer cells, which I’d say is pretty darn amazing.
12. Chia Seeds Can Improve Public Health
Studies have looked at including chia seed flour, which is essentially just ground chia seed, into breads. What one study did was remove the hydrogenated oils and replaced them with chia seeds or chia flour, and it resulted in a 24-27% decrease in horrible inflammatory saturated fat content from hydrogenated oil.
The researchers state that: “These new formulations might be used on an industrial scale to prepare products that could contribute to reducing the intake of saturated fatty acids and increasing that of essential fatty acids, such as ω-3 fatty acid.”
So hopefully we’ll start seeing more breads like these on the shelf, which could potentially improve population health as a whole.
13. Improves Major and Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Factors
As we showed earlier, the 2007 randomized control trial showed reduced systolic blood pressure and a reduction in hs-CRP of 40%. CRP is an inflammatory molecule that’s often seen in the early stages of cardiovascular disease, so a CRP reduction indicates major improvements for cardiovascular risk factors.
Another study in the Journal of Nutrition showed a reduction in serum triglyceride levels, and again a reduction in serum CRP, that pesky inflammatory molecule. So while we can’t say it really prevents or cures heart disease, we can definitely say it can provide benefits.
So that’s some of the powerful health benefits of chia seeds, pretty awesome hey!
How To Use Chia Seeds
According to WellnessMama, chia seeds can be used for all sorts of things from:
As a safe egg substitute – WellnessMama says, “to substitute for an egg: Use 1 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water per egg in a baked recipe”.
To make healthy pudding – see Strawberry Chia Coconut Pudding Recipe.
To thicken soup or gravies – try grinding the chia seeds in a mortar and pestle, and use the powder to thicken soups, sauces, and gravies.
To thicken meatballs instead of breadcrumbs – just throw in a couple of tablespoons per pound of meat.
How to Soak Chia Seeds
One way chia seeds are commonly used is to soak them first.
Dr Axe provides us with insight on how to soak chia seeds:
“To soak chia seeds, simply mix them in a 1:10 ratio chia to water. That’s about 1.5 tablespoons chia seeds in one cup of water. It does not have to be exact, but you do want it to gel all the way and not be too watery. Then let them sit for about 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Since chia seeds can hold up to 12 times its weight in water, they are wonderful to prevent dehydration. However, if you choose not to soak them, then they can also absorb water from you during digestion. So make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated”.
I prefer to soak them in coconut milk or almond milk with cinnamon and spices for a delicious chia pudding. Essentially you can use any liquid in the above ratios and the chia will soak up great.
So there you have it, as you can see chia really does have lots of great health benefits so I hope this convinces you to include chia seed superfood in your diet on a regular basis and gives you lots of chia inspiration too. Previous Page