Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for overall health. It reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure as well as certain types of cancers. Some of the factors which can lead to weight gain include;
- Diet – the type, quality and quantity of food can greatly influence body weight.
- Genes – the genetic make-up can dictate the probability of gaining weight more easily.
- Physical inactivity – lack of exercise can lead to an increase in body weight.
- Sleep – not getting enough sleep has been linked with increased body weight.
Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body weight. Chia seeds are a great addition to a diet for weight management. They have a high amount of essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Chia seed also have a significant amount of proteins and fiber of up to 5 grams per tablespoon.
Chia seeds form a gel when mixed with a liquid and can hold up to 10 times their weight in liquid. When consumed, they slow down digestion and give a feeling of being fuller for longer. This prevents excessive eating and can therefore lead to weight loss. Studies have shown that taking fiber rich diet of as up to 30 grams daily can help in weight loss. Chia seeds are rich in fiber containing over 9.75 grams per ounce.
High cholesterol leads to fatty deposits in the blood vessels. If left uncontrolled, this can lead to blockages in blood vessels thus preventing the free flow of blood. The fatty deposits may also lead to a heart attack or stroke if they suddenly break and clot.Taking chia seeds can also help reduce high cholesterol while increasing the levels of good high density lipoprotein cholesterol.
Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants and essential omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and depression. Inflammatory bowel disease prevents the digestive system from absorbing enough nutrients and can lead to malnutrition and weight loss. People who suffer from depression may experience weight gain or weight loss as it is linked with overeating, poor food choices and more sedentary lifestyles.
Excessive body weight is associated with several factors that can increase the risk of many cardiovascular diseases. Being overweight can cause hypertension and ventricular hypertrophy increasing the risk of heart failure. Consuming chia seeds has been shown to promote heart health. This is particularly attributed to their high omega-3 fatty acids content. Chia seed omega-3 fatty acids are predominantly alpha linoleic acids which may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and coronary heart disease.
Chia seeds can be easily added to a diet as they have almost no taste and go well with many recipes. They can be mixed and blended with any liquid such as juice or water. It is however important to note that chia seeds should not be consumed dry. This is because the seeds absorb up to 10 times their weight in water and can thus expand in the esophagus and cause blockage when consumed dry. People looking to lose weight should consider adding chia seeds to their diets. They are rich in nutrients and fiber which may be beneficial in the pursuit of weight loss.