I’ve been looking at incorporating chia seeds into my diet to increase the number of beneficial nutrients I consume.
So, I was curious whether chia seeds are healthy.
I looked into the advice of medical professionals as well as the nutritional qualities of chia seeds and here’s what I found.
The nutrients in chia seeds improve digestion, regulate your metabolism, keep your blood sugar at healthy levels, are good for bone health, as well as inflammation.
They are also high in antioxidants that are known to inhibit the development of cancer.
Below, I will list the different vitamins, and minerals that are found in chia seeds, and how they compare to the recommended daily intake.
As well as, explain whether chia seeds are good for babies and whether they’re good on a low carb diet.
What Nutrients Are in Chia Seeds?
I’ve noticed that chia seeds are high in some nutrients but low in others.
Some nutrients are also in very high amounts that can be toxic if you consume a lot of chia seeds.
Here’s the nutrients found in chia seeds:
Chia seeds contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals.
But, some are more abundant than others.
Chia seeds have high amounts of manganese, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin.
They are also high in fiber.
Here’s a table that shows a nutrient breakdown of chia seeds and what percent of your recommended daily intake they contain per 100g (1 cup):
|Nutrients||% Recommended Daily intake per 100g (half a cup)|
|Fiber, total dietary||137.60%|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||1.78%|
They are high in some vitamins such as niacin and thiamin.
But, they are low in others such as vitamin A, and vitamin C.
The minerals they contain are also a bit of a mish-mash and they contain high amounts of phosphorus and manganese but low amounts of sodium and iron.
Chia seeds are usually added in small amounts to foods to give them a bit of a crunchy texture, but generally don’t have much flavor on their own.
So, they are used as a healthy food.
Chia seeds contain more than normal amounts of nutrients but some are toxic in high amounts.
A normal amount of chia seeds a person will consume is about 1 tablespoon, added to a smoothie, or a salad.
But, because they have a bland flavor that goes well with sweet and savory foods they can go in virtually any dish.
The nutrients that are potentially toxic if consumed in high amounts are:
- Copper – 66% RDI
- Phosphorus – 122% RDI
- Manganese – 136% RDI
- Zinc – 41% RDI
Thiamin and niacin don’t generally cause any health issues if you eat too much of them.
For that reason, it’s best to limit how many chia seeds you eat to under about a tablespoon.
The reason is that other foods in your diet can also contain these nutrients and therefore, you’ll get higher than the recommended amounts.
Calcium and phosphorus – good for the bones
Chia seeds are relatively rich in calcium and phosphorus. Both of which are known to be good for bone health.
However, it’s important to consume other foods that are high in these minerals.
Because a healthy amount of chia seeds to consume in a day – around 1 tablespoon only contains 25% of your recommended daily intake of phosphorus.
And significantly less calcium.
Here’s some foods that contain the most calcium and phosphorus to promote healthy bones:
- Leafy greens
Does Chia Seeds Contain Zinc?
I’ve learned that zinc is a beneficial nutrient that helps with metabolism, and your immune system.
So, I was curious whether chia seeds contain zinc, and how much zinc they contain.
Chia seeds do contain zinc.
Chia seeds contain 41.64% of your recommended daily intake per 100g.
Generally, chia seeds are consumed in small amounts such as one tablespoon a day.
High amounts of zinc are known to be toxic, therefore, it’s best not to consume more than around a tablespoon a day.
Foods that are particularly high in zinc are meat, shellfish, seeds, nuts, dairy, and eggs.
So, if you eat a lot of these kinds of foods it can be a good idea to see how much zinc you’re getting to ensure you’re not getting too much.
Can Babies Eat Chia Seeds?
Since chia seeds are a healthy food, I was wondering whether it’s ok for babies to eat them.
Since they’re quite small and easy for a baby to swallow.
I looked into what medical professionals recommend and here’s what I found.
As a general rule, it’s fine for babies to eat chia seeds once they can eat solids.
This is generally at about 6 months of age.
But, babies should not consume more than ½ a teaspoon of chia seeds as they are rich in certain nutrients which can be toxic in high amounts.
Dr. Rachel Ruiz, a pediatrician, and gastroenterologist at Solidstarts.com says to introduce chia seeds to a baby slowly.
And to monitor how they’re responding. She also recommends grinding or soaking the chia seeds as they are crunchy and hard, which can be difficult for your baby to swallow.
Chia seeds aren’t generally a choking hazard if they are soaked as the outside becomes soft and easy to swallow.
When ground they turn into a fine powder.
Can Babies Digest Chia Seeds?
I’ve noticed that certain foods baby eats go straight through undigested.
So, I wanted to know whether babies can digest chia seeds or whether they pass through the body undigested.
Overall, babies can digest chia seeds. Chia seeds should ideally be ground up first.
Otherwise, they can pass through a baby’s body undigested.
The exterior is quite rigid and chia seeds won’t break open when swallowed.
This means they will go undigested through the body.
And your baby won’t get as many of the beneficial nutrients from them.
Generally, grinding chia seeds will allow the nutrients to release more than if you eat the whole.
The body absorbs nutrients by dissolving them into bodily fluids that transport them through the body.
But, when the nutrients inside a chia seed aren’t exposed to the liquids in your digestive system they can be taken up by your body.
And a baby’s body will only absorb the nutrients found on the outer shell of the chia seeds.
Are Chia Seeds Good For Weight Loss?
I’ve been researching foods that are good for weight loss, and have been monitoring what calories I eat.
So, I looked into whether chia seeds are good for weight loss and if they help to burn fat. Here’s what I found.
Generally, chia seeds are good for weight loss.
Chia seeds are a good source of minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium which maintain your metabolism.
A healthy metabolism increases the efficiency at which your body burns fat.
Chia seeds are also quite high in fiber.
Fiber increases the health of your digestive system, which improves how many nutrients your body absorbs.
This creates a cascading effect that improves your overall health.
And maintains your body’s ability to burn fat.
Are Chia Seeds Low Carb?
I’ve been following a low-carb diet to try to burn some fat I put on over the holiday season.
So, I wanted to know whether chia seeds are low carb and if they’re good for the ketogenic diet.
Chia seeds are not low carb.
Chia seeds contain 42g of carbs per 100g which is equivalent to 42% carbs.
Low-carb food is considered to be less than 26% carbs.
Therefore, chia seeds are classified as a medium carb, but not high carb.
But, chia seeds are only safe to eat in small amounts – around 1 tablespoon a day.
So, the overall perfect of your diet that chia seeds will make up is quite small.
Therefore, in my opinion, it’s perfectly fine to eat chia seeds on a low-carb diet, because when you calculate your entire carb consumption, chia seeds will only contribute a tiny percentage.
One tablespoon of chia seeds contains about 5g to 8g of carbs.
A low-carb diet is considered to be below 130g of carbs per day.
Doing a quick calculation, a tablespoon of chia seeds will contribute 6% to the recommended amount of daily carbs you should eat on a low-carb diet.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.