What Are Chia Seeds?
“Chia” means strength. These small pseudo-grains are rightly named so as they are rich in dietary fiber, protein, and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). They expand and form a thick gel-like outer layer when you put them in water. In fact, they can hold up to 10 times their weight in water or any other liquid. And you must always soak them in water before consuming them. The best part about chia seeds is that they do not have a strong flavor or taste and can hence be added to any food and consumed.
Chia Seeds For Weight Loss – How Do They Work?
Chia seeds are great for weight loss. They are rich in antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, and dietary fiber that help flush out toxins, build lean muscle mass, reduce inflammation, and keep you full for a long duration.
Rich In Dietary Fiber
From the nutrition table, you can see that 1 oz chia seeds contain 10.6 g dietary fiber. In fact, when you consume two tablespoons of chia seeds, you will consume 40% of the required amount of dietary fiber per day.
Here’s why dietary fiber is important for weight loss. Dietary fiber is a complex carb, and humans cannot digest it. It creates a gel-like layer in your stomach, thereby increasing your satiety. It also encapsulates the fat molecules and prevents their absorption. Dietary fiber also acts as nutrition to the good gut bacteria and prevents constipation.
Loaded With PUFA
Polyunsaturated fatty acids are categorized as healthy fats. Chia seeds are loaded with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and omega-3-fatty acid. If you take a look at the chia seed nutrition table, you will see that it contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be 1:1 or 3:1, but our current food habits show that this ratio is 17:1. This imbalance causes various health problems like weight gain, heart problems, etc. Since chia seeds contain a good amount of omega-3s, they can help lower inflammation in the body and inhibit inflammation-induced weight gain and other health problems.
High In Protein
One ounce of chia seeds contains 4.4 grams of protein. You need about 0.8 g per kg body weight of protein every day. If you are not a meat-eater, it is quite possible that you are not consuming enough protein. And to load up on protein, you need to look at whole foods instead of supplements. The protein in chia seeds helps in building muscle mass and aids muscle recovery.
Increase Energy Levels
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the reasons for weight gain. Chia seeds provide energy and make you more active. In fact, when you start building lean muscle, the number of mitochondria (the cell organelles that produce energy in the form of ATP) increases. This, in turn, not only increases your energy levels but also accelerates your metabolic rate.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Antioxidants help flush out toxins and lower stress and inflammation in the body. They act by scavenging the harmful free oxygen radicals, which may also lead to DNA mutation, leading to harmful/nonfunctioning protein synthesis. Chia seeds are loaded with various antioxidants – quercetin, caffeic acid, kaempferol, and chlorogenic acid. Hence, consuming these seeds will reduce the toxins in your body, help you lose weight, and reduce the risk of fatal diseases.
Increase The Production Of Leptin
Leptin is a hunger-inhibiting hormone that is produced by fat cells (adipose tissue). Scientists have found that the more protein you consume, the more the production of leptin will be (2). Chia seeds are a good source of protein (as mentioned above) and also help kick leptin into action. This, in turn, helps suppress appetite, prevents overeating, and maintains a healthy body composition.
How Much Should You Consume?
You can have 2-4 tablespoons of chia seeds per day. Make sure you do not overshoot this recommendation just to lose weight “quickly” as it can turn out to be harmful in higher doses. Also, talk to your doctor/dietitian before consuming chia.
Chia Seeds Weight Loss Diet Chart
|Meals||What to Eat|
|Early Morning (6:00 a.m.)||2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds soaked in 1 cup of water overnight|
|Breakfast (6:45 – 7:15 a.m.)||Oatmeal with chia seeds + 1 banana + 4 almonds + 1 cup green tea|
|Mid Morning (10:00 – 10:30 a.m.)||1 boiled egg/1 cup freshly pressed juice|
|Lunch (12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)||Tuna/tofu salad with light dressing + 1 cup buttermilk|
|Post Lunch (3:00 p.m.)||1 cup green tea + 1 multigrain biscuit|
|Dinner (6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)||Grilled fish/chicken/mushroom + veggies + 1 tablespoon chia seeds + ½ cup warm milk before going to bed|
Ways To Consume Chia Seeds
Here are a few other ways of adding chia seeds to your food:
- Soaked chia seeds
- Ground chia seeds
- Chia seed oil
Depending on what is convenient and appealing to you, add chia seeds in any form to your food to reap health benefits.
Chia Seeds For Weight Loss – 10 Best Recipes
1. Chia Seed Smoothie
- 1 banana
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 1 cup full-fat/soy milk
Peel and toss the banana into a blender. Add the blueberries, Greek yogurt, full-fat/soy milk, and chia seeds. Blitz it, pour it into a glass and drink.
2. Chia Seed Muffin
- ⅔ cup almond milk
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup mashed banana
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil/ ghee
- 2 ½ tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven and grease a muffin tray. Whisk the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and keep aside. In a large bowl, mix the flour, chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Add the mashed banana, both types of sugar, and oil to the apple cider vinegar and milk mixture. Mix well. Stir in the dry ingredients. Add one to two tablespoons of batter in each muffin mold in the tray and bake for 20-25 minutes.
And, it’s ready!
3. Chia Seed Pudding
- 1 cup almond milk/ full-fat milk
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons organic honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
Blend all the ingredients except the chia seeds. Stir in the chia seeds and pour into a glass jar. Refrigerate it for four hours to let it form a gel-like (pudding) texture.
4. Chia Seeds Iced Tea
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon green tea
- 1 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- ¼ teaspoon brown sugar
- Lime slices
- Ice cubes
Soak the chia seeds in water. Bring a cup of water to a boil, and just when it starts boiling, remove from the flame. Let it cool for 2 minutes. Add a teaspoon of green tea and steep it for 3-4 minutes. Strain the tea into a glass. Let it cool down for 5 more minutes and then refrigerate it for 15 minutes. Add the lime juice, brown sugar, chia seeds, some ice cubes, and lime slices. Enjoy your summer fresh chia iced tea.
5. Chia, Fruit, And Yogurt
- 1 cup blueberry yogurt
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 1 plum, sliced
- 1 peach sliced
- ½ orange sliced
- Mint leaves
Toss the sliced fruits into a bowl. Stir in the blueberry yogurt. Add the chia seeds, combine everything well, and garnish with mint leaves.
6. Quinoa Chia Salad
- ½ cup quinoa
- 2-3 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in water
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
- ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped kale
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Salt to taste
Add the quinoa and vegetable stock to a pan. Cover and cook until the quinoa is cooked. Transfer it to a plate and fluff it with a fork. In another bowl, add the chopped veggies, chia seeds, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Combine everything well and spread it on top of the quinoa. Mix lightly and eat it!
7. Homemade Chia Protein Bar
- ½ cup dates
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked in water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon melon seeds
- 1 tablespoon pepita
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Transfer the mixture to a tray. Spread and press it down and cut into squares. Refrigerate for 2 hours to give it a more chewy texture.
8. Chia Seed Banana Pancake
- 1 ripe banana
- ½ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons ground oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked
- ¼ cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Berries and maple syrup/honey for topping
Mash the banana with the back of a fork. Add the flour and ground oats. Mix well. Add the milk, cinnamon, and chia seeds. Mix well. Heat a nonstick skillet and add a dollop of the batter. Cook for two minutes on each side. Transfer the pancakes to a plate and top it with berries and maple syrup/honey.
9. Chia Strawberry Shake
- 1 cup chopped strawberries
- ⅔ cup Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons chia seeds, soaked
- 1 teaspoon dark cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon slivered almonds for garnish
- 4-5 raspberries for topping
Toss the Greek yogurt, strawberries, and dark cocoa powder into a blender. Pour the mixture into a tall glass and stir in the soaked chia seeds. Add the slivered almonds. Finish by topping it with raspberries.
10. Chia Seed Almond Milk
- 10 almonds
- 500 mL of milk
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamom powder
- A few strands of saffron
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds, soaked
- Ice cubes (optional)
Soak the almonds for 4 hours. Peel them and toss them into a blender. Blend the green cardamom powder and saffron. Bring the milk to a boil. While it’s boiling, add the almond mixture. Simmer for 2 minutes and then take the milk off the heat. Let it cool down for 10 minutes. Add chia seeds and ice cubes before serving.
So, it’s not that tough to incorporate chia seeds into your diet. Apart from eating good, you must also exercise 4-5 hours per week. You will see results in two weeks if you adhere to a good lifestyle. With that in mind, start including chia seeds in your diet.