Chia seeds have been exploding with popularity. You can find people in grocery stores who are buying these seeds in order to prepare chia pudding. Perhaps even you have hopped on board and have already bought them to make chia pudding. But wait, before you do that, have you considered the benefits of chia pudding? Do you know whether this pudding will help or compromise your fitness goals? These questions are among those you need to ask yourself before you make this pudding.
Have you already started looking for recipes on how to make a chocolate chia pudding? Slow down a bit so you can have time to analyze the health benefits of chocolate chia pudding. You should be confident that the pudding is not only tasty but also offers some health gains.
This article will discuss solid reasons why you need to prepare chia pudding based on the chia pudding benefits. We will also look at the dangers of such a pudding and other simple ways to consume these tiny oval-shaped seeds. Take a look!
What Are Chia Seeds?
As the name implies, chia seeds are examples of seeds that are consumed for various health benefits. They are the edible seeds of a particular flowering plant belonging to the mint family. Some people refer to them as Mexican chia or Salba chia (7).
These seeds have a long history. They are native to Guatemala and Mexico but have, over time, become widespread to various countries around the globe. For example, today, they are grown in the United States, Peru, Australia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Argentina (7).
They are widely recognized due to their countless health benefits. If you prefer consuming these seeds in a pudding, keep reading to determine the chia pudding benefits.
How To Eat Chia Seeds?
People often wonder if they should consume chia seeds as they are or if there are other ways of preparing them. It is perfectly fine if you choose to snack on raw chia seeds. However, over time, numerous chia seed recipes have been designed. Here are some ways in which you can enjoy them (7):
- Adding them to your homemade energy bars
- Mixing them into muffin batter
- Sprinkling them on a salad
- Adding them to your soups or pasta dishes
- Adding them to your oatmeal or porridge
- Soaking them to prepare chia sprouts
- Adding them to pancakes, French toast, or a baking mix
- Mixing them with spices and almond flour when making a breading for fried chicken
- Grinding them into a paste and then adding the paste to your dough or other mixes before baking or cooking
- Adding a spoonful to your morning smoothie
- Making chia water by soaking one-part chia seeds in 16-parts water for twenty or thirty minutes. You can drink the water on its own or add some honey or fruit juice for more flavor.
If you are struggling to determine the best ways to add chia seeds to your diet, you can consider any of the options above. However, nothing beats a chia seed pudding. Different recipes can guide you into making a chia seed pudding. Take a look at some of these recipes:
- Mixing the seeds with fruit juice or milk to make a chia pudding that you can top with fresh fruit or cacao nibs
- Mixing the seeds into either yogurt or milk and leaving it overnight to thicken. In the morning, you can choose to add either honey or fresh, dried fruit for more tasty flavors.
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Chia Pudding Health Benefits
Some people tend to be fooled by the size of chia seeds. As such, they may ignore using them. On the other hand, some may not know how to incorporate these seeds into a pudding. So, of all the puddings they prepare, chia seeds tend to be the last ingredient they use.
Believe it or not, adding these seeds in your pudding for dessert or main course helps you reap various health gains. Some of these include:
Better Weight Management
Chia seeds are packed with insoluble fiber. According to Medical News Today, a one-ounce serving of chia seeds has 9.75 g of fiber and 4.69 g of protein (1). These two nutrients are vital when it comes to dropping pounds.
Both protein and fiber help in suppressing your appetite and increasing your satiety levels. Consequently, they prevent you from either overeating or over-snacking. It helps you stick to a calorie deficit for weight loss.
Protein can also help you build muscle which can increase your metabolism, helping you burn extra calories at rest and during activity. This means that if you are exercising and have this pudding, you will get to burn more calories, further helping you shed pounds.
Even more, chia seeds are relatively low on calories. One serving of these seeds in your pudding contains 138 calories (1). With weight loss, you need to focus on consuming fewer calories than your body burns.
Since chia seeds have low calories, they rank among the best low-calorie snack options. You can choose to have them in a pudding if you want a more nutrient-dense and filling snack.
Increased Nutritional Value
The nutritional benefits of chia pudding stem from the nutritional benefits of chia seeds. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) acknowledges that a one-ounce serving of these seeds in your pudding contains the following (4):
- Calories – 131
- Total fat – 8.4 g
- Fiber – 11.2 g
- Protein – 5.6 g
- Total carbohydrate – 13.07 g
- Sugar – none
- Calcium – 18% of your daily calcium needs
- Phosphorus – 27% of your daily phosphorus needs
- Manganese – 30% of your daily manganese needs
- These seeds also contain decent amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, niacin, thiamine, and vitamin B-2
The nutritional profile of these seeds is pretty impressive, considering that this is just a one-ounce serving. Again, the profile is exceptional as all these nutrients help in various body processes and roles. For example:
- Manganese helps in promoting strong and dense bones when it is combined with other nutrients such as calcium. This is also vital for diabetic people as it helps in lowering blood sugar levels (11).
- Phosphorus is one of the crucial minerals required for bone health. It helps in keeping your bones both healthy and strong. It also helps with removing waste and repairing damaged tissues in your body (13).
- Calcium plays vital body roles, including regulating muscle contraction, promoting bone health, helping with blood clotting, and lowering blood pressure (2).
Better Heart Health
A chia pudding can also help with improving your heart health as the used chia seeds contain antioxidants. One of the antioxidants present in these seeds is quercetin. The antioxidant properties of quercetin protect your body from free radicals (12).
Free radicals refer to unstable molecules that may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and tumor growth. They may also quicken aging (12). Consuming chia seed pudding can provide you with this antioxidant and possibly help prevent heart diseases.
Again, chia seeds are exceptionally rich in fiber. Increased fiber intake can help in lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. These are two of the most common risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. With such a reduced risk of heart disease, you get to benefit from better heart health.
Inflammation refers to the part of your body’s defense mechanism that also plays a vital role in the healing process (5). When your body detects any threat, it launches a biological response in a bid to try to remove it.
Chronic inflammation, however, may be associated with several diseases, including some cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Luckily, chia seeds contain another antioxidant known as caffeic acid. Caffeic acid may help in reducing inflammation, possibly helping to prevent diseases like cancer (14). Research shows that the anti-inflammatory properties of caffeic acid can target a single inflammation source and suppress inflammatory enzymes in the lab (3, 8).
Increased Healthy Fats Intake
Chia seeds are also rich in healthy fats, such as monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Health experts recommend consuming these fats over less healthy fats, such as trans fats and saturated fats.
These monounsaturated fats help in lowering your heart diseases risk by improving your risk factors. For example, they may lower your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol levels and maintain the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) “good” cholesterol levels (10).
LDL cholesterol levels are one of the many risk factors of cardiovascular diseases. Likewise, these healthy fats may improve the functioning of your blood vessels. Mayo Clinic acknowledges that they may also help control blood and sugar levels (10). This could be pretty beneficial to anyone who has type 2 diabetes.
Increased Omega-3 Intake
Another one of the many benefits of chia pudding is increased omega-3 fatty acids intake. Omega-3 fatty acids have various health benefits. For a start, they may reduce your chances of having a heart attack.
Medical News Today states that this is possible due to these acids’ possible ability to reduce your triglyceride levels (15). Triglycerides are the fats that increase your cardiovascular disease risk if they are in excess in your blood.
They may also help with reducing inflammation, which, as mentioned earlier, is linked to heart diseases. Similarly, omega-3 fatty acids may help with combating obesity as they may promote weight loss. However, it is still not clear how this occurs (15).
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Detoxification And Improved Digestion
As mentioned earlier, chia seeds contain insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber tends to remain intact when passing through the digestive system. The ability to stay intact makes it valuable for easing or preventing constipation (6).
It also helps in promoting the regularity of a healthy digestive tract. It is essential maintaining these regular bowel movements as they help in excreting toxins through the stool and bile (6).
Potential Dangers Of Chia Pudding
Before you are soaked into the chia pudding craze, you must know that it may come with several health risks. It is indisputable that consuming chia seeds, regardless of whether in a pudding or smoothie, has numerous health benefits. However, these seeds may also pose various health risks if they are not consumed properly. Some of these risks include:
Worsened Swallowing Problems
According to WebMD, you should not consume these tiny seeds in dry or raw form, especially if you have swallowing problems or a constricted esophagus (9). These experts acknowledge that the small seeds can absorb up to twenty-seven times their weight in water.
So, when consumed, these seeds may expand in the esophagus and form a gel that may lead to obstruction (9). Such an obstruction can be fatal and may lead to other catastrophic consequences. For this reason, you are advised to never consume raw or dry chia seeds in your pudding if you have swallowing problems. Talk to your dietitian for recommendations on the best way to add these seeds to your pudding if you have such conditions.
Increased Risk Of Choking
You may also increase your choking risk if you have these chia seeds in either dry or raw in water. Remember that they can absorb plenty of water, leaving you dehydrated. So make sure you use the right chia pudding recipe that reduces this risk, and always drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Again, consult with your nutritionist before adding them to your diet if you have difficulty swallowing.
The Bottom Line
Chia pudding benefits include better heart health, better weight management, reduced inflammation, improved digestion and detoxification, and better nutrient intake. The list of benefits also entails increased omega-3 fatty acids and healthy fats intake.
However, you have to be cautious on chia seeds consumption if you have swallowing difficulties. A pudding with dry or raw chia seeds may make swallowing even harder, increasing your risk of choking and acquiring an esophagus obstruction.
To prevent this, it is better if you ask your dietitian or nutritionist for more suitable chia pudding recipes. Remember to also enquire on how much of these seeds you should use in your pudding. The right amount will allow you to reap any or all of these chia seeds pudding benefits.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Are chia seeds effective for losing weight? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Benefits and sources of calcium (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Caffeic acid phenethyl ester is a potent and specific inhibitor of activation of nuclear transcription factor NF-kappa B (1996, www.pnas.org)
- Chia Seeds Nutritional Value (2021, fsda.gov)
- Everything you need to know about inflammation (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Fiber and Digestion Problems (2010, webmd.com)
- Health Benefits of Chia Seeds (2020, webmd.com)
- IRAK1/4-Targeted Anti-Inflammatory Action of Caffeic Acid (2013, hindawi.com)
- Use Chia Seeds With Caution, Researcher Warns (2014, webmd.com)
- What are MUFAs, and should I include them in my diet? (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- What are the benefits and effects of manganese? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What are the benefits of quercetin? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What are the health benefits of phosphorus? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about caffeic acid (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to know about omega-3 fatty acids (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)