Chia seeds have been popular for the past few years. You have probably seen chia puddings or chia seed recipes pop up on your Instagram feed and maybe also read a couple of chia seed benefits on social media.
Chia seeds have been called a superfood and claimed to support many healthy benefits. And in the end, the big question came up: how to use chia seeds for weight loss?
Well, let’s find the answer to that question in this article and show you how to eat chia seeds to get the maximum benefits out of them.
Chia Seed Nutrition
2 tablespoons of chia seeds provide:
|Source: USDA, FoodData Central, 2019||Calories||Protein||Fat||Carbohydrate||Fiber|
|Chia Seeds||138kcal||4.68 g||8.7g||11.9 g||9.75g|
Moreover, they are rich in vital minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. They are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to be more specific.
Omega-3 intake helps increase HDL cholesterol (aka the good cholesterol) and reduces the risk of many diseases such as depression, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more.
Are Chia Seeds Good For You?
High in fiber and protein
The amount of fiber in 2 tablespoons of chia seeds provides almost half the daily recommendation of fibre for women over 50 years. Isn’t that amazing?
High fiber and protein content keep you full for longer and promote early satiety. It prevents the urge to snack between meals and reduces your portion sizes, which leads to a decrease in overall calorie consumption.
Takeaway: Chia seeds, being high in fiber and protein, help with the feeling of fullness, which is crucial in achieving your weight loss goals.
Improve insulin sensitivity
Although more studies are needed on chia seed benefits on glucose and insulin metabolism, one small study suggests that chia seeds may help convert glucose into a slow-release carbohydrate.
Another study shows that eating white bread with added chia seeds lowers blood glucose levels compared to eating white bread only.
Although the studies are small, we already know that adequate daily fiber intake may benefit type 2 diabetes and promote satiety. As a result, it leads to reduced energy intake during the day.
We can conclude that chia seeds show promising results in improving insulin sensitivity by adding fiber to your overall healthy diet.
Takeaway: Chia seeds may improve insulin sensitivity by adding a good amount of fiber to your balanced meal plan. But more research is necessary to make a certain decision on the subject.
Help with high cholesterol
Increased intake of fiber has been shown to help with high cholesterol levels.
A review of 67 studies found that increasing fiber intake even by as little as ten grams per day was associated with significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (aka the bad cholesterol).
As two tablespoons of chia seeds provide a satisfying amount of fiber, we can say that chia seeds may also help lower total and LDL cholesterol levels when accompanied by a healthy diet.
Takeaway: Chia seeds may help to lower cholesterol levels.
Chia Seed Benefits for Weight Loss
Unfortunately, there isn’t enough evidence to say that chia seed directly benefits weight loss.
But some small studies, like the one conducted on obese patients with type 2 diabetes, show weight loss results with a reduction in waist circumference in people who consume chia seeds.
However, many studies suggest that fiber, protein, and omega-3 benefit weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.
So, we can say that the high amount of fiber, omega-3, and protein in chia seeds may benefit weight loss when accompanied by a healthy and balanced meal plan.
So, how to use chia seeds for weight loss?
There are so many ways to include chia seeds in your daily life. The next section is about how to eat chia seeds. They are highly versatile, and the best part is that they don’t change the taste of your food.
- Chia Pudding
It is the most common way we see chia use. More on how to prepare it and our favorite recipe is below.
You can sprinkle chia seeds onto your green salad or mix it into your dressing to amp up the omega-3 content of your salad.
- Smoothies/ Beverages
Toss them into your smoothies to boost up the fiber content. This will also give a thicker texture to your smoothie since chia seeds absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquid!
You can also make a chia drink called Iskiate (or Chia Fresca) to provide your body with great energy.
You can make a delicious chia jam basically by mixing pureed berries with chia seeds (move over sugar-loaded jams!). Enjoy it in the morning with your favorite nut butter and toast, or mix it into Greek yogurt to have a protein and omega-rich breakfast on the go.
- Baked goods
Add them to your porridge, bread, muffins, pancakes, or homemade granolas for an extra fiber and protein boost.
- Sprinkle on
Fruit salads, baked vegetables like sweet potatoes, avocado toast, or buddha bowls.
- Replace egg
Yes, you heard it right. Drumrolls for the vegan chefs and anyone who doesn’t like using eggs in their baked goods!
Mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes to see the magic happen. Voilà, a gel that can replace an egg is ready!
How to make chia pudding?
Looking for a healthy meal on the go? Or craving something sweet but don’t want to overload on sugar? Then chia pudding is your answer!
The base of chia pudding is chia seeds + milk of your choice. Just mix them, put in the refrigerator, and allow to sit for at least 15-20 minutes. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!
But we suggest you make them overnight so that you get the maximum pudding consistency and chia seed benefits.
Before you eat, add spices like cinnamon or ginger and chopped nuts or fruits, and enjoy the deliciousness!
In our opinion, and also looking at the various ways you can eat them, there’s no best time to eat chia seeds.
However, if you’d like to start from somewhere to get the most benefits out of them and give your taste buds a great party, we suggest you start with one of our favorites: Chia Breakfast Pudding.
And please do not limit yourself to eating it for breakfast only. It goes well as a healthy fix to your sweet cravings.
One not enough? We have another chia pudding with almond milk recipe right here!
How many chia seeds per day?
If you are wondering how to use chia seeds for weight loss, we suggest one or two tablespoons of the seeds per day. This amount would provide its benefits and also fit perfectly into your weight loss program!
But like any other food, if you go overboard, you may end up ruining your program by going over your daily calorie intake. Portion size matters!
Conclusion: are chia seeds good for weight loss?
With all the powerful nutrients and health benefits, we can agree that chia seeds deserve a good place in a healthy meal plan.
Although research doesn’t directly link chia seeds to weight loss, these tiny black nutrient powerhouses can help promote weight loss when combined with a balanced diet and an overall healthy lifestyle.
We should always keep in mind that no single food is responsible for weight loss. But if you want to lose weight, you should consider adding chia seeds to your plan as they are high in fiber, high in protein, and a good source of omega-3.