The seeds of the chia plant, which is native to Central and South America, have been used as food since ancient times. They are promoted as dietary supplements for cardiovascular health and weight reduction because they are abundant in dietary fibre, n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and alpha-linolenic acid.
When combined with water, the seeds expand and form a gel-like material, and they’re commonly found in a range of packaged meals marketed as functional foods or superfoods.
Fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and alpha-linolenic acid, an important fatty acid, are abundant in the seeds of the chia plant. They’re considered to help with weight control and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Chia seeds may be beneficial to diabetic patients or add to sensations of fullness, according to data from a few small trials, but they did not appear to influence weight reduction. Furthermore, existing evidence assessments do not properly support these statements. More large-scale, well-designed studies are required.
Chia components have been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antithrombotic properties. In vivo studies show that eating chia seeds improves the health of animals’ intestines.
Chia seeds have been shown in animal experiments to reduce dyslipidemia, reverse insulin resistance, and provide cardio- and hepatoprotective benefits. In animal tumour models, however, it did not diminish body weight growth or belly fat accumulation, nor did it have any preventative benefits.
Chia did not appear to help overweight individuals in preclinical clinical investigations, but it did appear to reduce cardiovascular and obesity-related risk factors in type 2 diabetes patients. Other small studies have found that chia supplementation increases short-term satiety, maybe more so than flax, and has beneficial effects on blood glucose levels. In both treated and untreated hypertensive patients, chia flour supplementation was shown to lower blood pressure. However, according to a systematic review, the majority of research on chia for CVD risk factors failed to show statistically meaningful outcomes. Furthermore, a meta-analysis of studies testing chia for several metabolic markers found that it was ineffective.
Essential fatty acids, flavonols, and phenolic compounds are active components in chia, and some of them have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antithrombotic properties. Chia has a greater protein level than other conventional grains. Globulins and essential amino acids, particularly methionine and cysteine models, were the predominant protein fractions recovered from chia seed flour, with globulin peptides showing similarity to sesame proteins.
Chia seed improved insulin-stimulated glycogen synthase activity, glycogen, glucose-6-phosphate, and GLUT-4 protein levels, as well as insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, in animal models.
Reduced postprandial glycemia caused by chia supplementation might explain benefits in blood pressure, coagulation, and inflammatory markers in type 2 diabetic patients.
Water- and lipo-soluble allergens such as a lectin, an elongation factor, and an 11S globulin found to trigger IgE-mediated anaphylaxis in chia seeds.
Chia seeds should never be consumed dry since they can absorb up to 27 times their weight in water. They may enlarge and become stuck in the neck as a result of this. Before consuming, chia seeds should be cooked or combined with enough liquid to allow them to expand.