Weight loss is a concern for a great many Americans (including several of my clients), and hunger (appetite) is the main enemy of weight loss. An article about chia seeds that I came across in Life Extension magazine, 1/15, got my attention. I’ve been eating chia seeds for a couple of years, more for their nutritional value than anything else. Chia has six times the calcium of milk, is the richest vegan source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and contain good amounts of protein, magnesium, phosphorous, and dietary fiber (which is great for the ‘good’ bacteria in the gut). A growing body of research points to chia’s power to help prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, cancer, and diabetes. But now, many experts are touting the weight-reducing capacity of chia seeds, which is news to me. Chia seeds quickly absorb a lot of liquid to create a gel that can keep you feeling full for hours, which is why researchers are calling chia a “dieter’s dream.”

Chia absorbs 12 times its own weight, so when it is exposed to water in the stomach, it increases in size and weight, and since the gel is almost completely made of water, it contains practically no calories. Scientists have shown that chia decreases appetite for a full two hours after consumption and reduces the sugar spikes that occur after a meal. As I stated earlier, chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, feeding not only the good bacteria in your gut, but also helping to move food through the digestive tract faster, removing toxins from the body more quickly to help prevent constipation, diarrhea, and diverticulosis. In a randomized clinical trial, those who consumed the chia has a greater decrease in body weight than the controls, as well as an increase in adiponectin-a hormone promoting satiety that plays a role in preventing obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. In addition, only the chia group experienced decreases in serum triglycerides, the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, and in the blood glucose response curve (AUC) following a blood glucose test. These studies were reported J Nutrition (Jan 2012), the European Journal of Endocrinology (March 2003), and the Journal of Molecular Medicine (November 2002). Raw chia seeds have a shelf life of four years without losing flavor, odor, or nutrients. I put chia seeds in smoothies, soups, salads, and yogurt. The amount I use is one tablespoon. Note: use a toothpick or floss after eating chia is the seeds tend to get between teeth, but the benefits are well worth this minor inconvenience.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.