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Calories in Chia Seeds | Healthcare-Online

Calories in Chia Seeds 

Chia plants are native to parts of Mexico and Guatemala and have been cultivated there since the Aztecs ruled. Archaeological evidence has found the use of chia seeds dating back to 3500 B.C. Even back then they realized the nutritional value of chia plants and seeds. Today, chia plants have gained popularity are now being grown in many parts of the world. Australia appears to be the biggest producer of chia seeds. Commercial growers are also converting their chia seeds into chia oil. Both seeds and oil contain high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants.

Calories and Basic Nutrients in Chia Seeds

Purple or white flowers grow in small clusters on chia plants and the seeds are found in these blooms. They are oval-shaped and small with a bit of a mottled appearance. Chia seeds are found in colors of white, brown, grey or black and are very small (only 1 millimeter in diameter). These tiny seeds pack quite a nutritional punch, though, and contain 34% oil, 20% protein and 25% dietary fiber. They also contain Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Vitamin E. You can eat them raw or soak them in water beforehand. They are great for baking and making puddings. Reference the chart below for a fuller list of chia seed nutrients.

This table reflects nutrients found in 1 ounce of chia seeds.

Nutrient

Quantity

Total Calories in Chia Seeds:

Calories from Carbohydrate

Calories from Fat

Calories from Protein

137 kcal

50 kcal

72.1 kcal

15.2 kcal

Total Carbohydrates

12.3 g

Protein

4.4 g

Dietary Fiber

10.6 g

Total Fat:

Saturated Fat

Monounsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated Fat

8.6 g

0.9 g

0.6 g

6.5 g

Total Omega 3 Fatty Acids

4915 mg

Total Omega 6 Fatty Acids

1620 mg

Calcium

177 mg

Phosphorus

265 mg

Potassium

44.8 mg

Sodium

5.3 mg

Zinc

1 mg

Copper

0.1 mg

Manganese

10.6 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Water

1.4 g

Ash

1.4 g

Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Chia seeds can offer you a number of health benefits. Below you will find a comprehensive list of benefits of Chia seeds:

  • provide a lot of energy to improve concentration, athletic performance and mood.
  • are gluten-free, sugar-free and cholesterol-free.
  • contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce inflammation from arthritis and heart disease, as well as improve overall cardiovascular health.
  • contain the proper omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acid ratio; this helps promote healthy brain function.
  • can help maintain normal blood pressure and control your blood sugar levels.
  • contain dietary fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive system.
  • can keep you hydrated and balance your electrolyte levels.
  • can relieve joint pain and help treat skin conditions.

Chia Seeds and Weight Loss

The theory on chia seeds and weight loss is that when you consume the seeds, they supposedly expand in your stomach. This helps you to feel fuller, eat less and lose weight more easily. However, some studies have been done on this claim, and the results were not exactly what researchers were looking for. Over a 12 week period they did not see any weight reduction in their research subjects who were eating chia seeds. Currently there has been no direct connection made between consuming chia seeds and shedding pounds.

This is not to say, however, that there are no weight loss benefits at all. Studies have shown that eating chia seeds promotes a healthier and more effective digestive system. When your digestive system is operating at its best your body can better use and store nutrients in a way that will keep your body from retaining excess sugars and unhealthy fats. Chia seeds also improve your energy levels. With higher energy you will be able to exercise more, which definitely will aid in weight loss. Even if there are no direct links between eating chia seeds and weight loss, they are still a highly nutritious addition to your daily balanced diet.

Ways to Add Chia Seeds to Your Diet

Eating chia seeds raw is the best way to get all the nutrients from them that you can, but some people may not prefer to eat them raw. There are quite a few other ways that you can incorporate chia seeds into your diet and the food you already eat.

A popular Mexican drink, called chia fresca, is a refreshing way to consume chia seeds daily. Simply add 2 teaspoons of chia seeds to 8 ounces of water. For a better taste you can add lime juice and a bit of sugar or use fruit juice in the place of water. You can add chia seeds to other drinks like tea, or even coffee if you prefer, so you do not have to always make chia fresca if you do not want to. Any hot or cold drinks can become more nutritious if you add a few teaspoons of chia seeds. They can even be added to sodas.

You can also grind chia seeds into a meal or powder and add that to foods like yogurt, cereal, salads, and oatmeal. For salads you can also use chia sprouts in your mix or toss whole chia seeds in with your lettuce or use them in a homemade dressing. You can add whole or ground chia seeds to pasta sauces, marinades and even soups. Chia seeds are great for baking and for making puddings as well.

As with everything that's good, more is not necessarily better! Be careful not to over-consume chia seeds. Too much of them can have some adverse effects like gastrointestinal issues. Adults should consume 2 tablespoons of chia seeds each day, while children under 10 should only have 1 tablespoon per day.

The nutrition and health benefits you can get from chia seeds is more than enough to convince anyone to add them to their diet. Be sure to reference the methods above for eating chia and enjoy the many benefits you will experience.