While chia seeds are not a home remedy for various ailments such as acid reflux, they are rich in nutrients that offer a number of healthy benefits. These tiny seeds are high in fiber, rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals and a good source of essential fats.
If you're having difficulty with regularity, you may want to consider adding chia seeds to your diet. One tablespoon of chia seeds contains 4.5 grams of fiber. Most of that fiber is in the form of insoluble fiber, which in your digestive tract expands and gels, adding bulk to your stool to ease bowel movements and alleviate constipation.
As an added bonus, the insoluble fiber in the chia seeds also increases feelings of satiety, which may help you eat less and aid in weight control.
Plant Source of Omega-3s
Chia seeds can also boost your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats help control blood clotting and are needed to make the membranes of the cells found in your brain. Getting more omega-3s in your diet may also protect against heart disease, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
While the omega-3s found in chia seeds are not in the same form as the omega-3s found in fatty fish such as salmon, they do seem to still have a beneficial effect, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Chia seeds are a source of a number of minerals, including calcium, potassium and zinc, but are an especially good source of iron and magnesium, meeting more than 10 percent of the daily value for both minerals in a 1-tablespoon serving.
Iron is an essential mineral necessary for overall good health. In addition to helping make hemoglobin, iron also assists with the production of various hormones, synthesis of connective tissue and normal cell function.
Magnesium supports immune and bone health and is currently being investigated for possibly playing a role in preventing heart disease and diabetes.
Tips and Warnings
Chia is a versatile seed and goes well in both sweet and savory dishes. Add it to your morning hot cereal or blend it with your smoothie. You can also sprinkle seeds in your salad or yogurt for a little nutty crunch. It also mixes well with your favorite grains such as quinoa or brown rice. Grinding the chia seeds turns them into a paste, which you can then add to muffin or quick bread dough before baking.
While chia seeds certainly add nutrition to your diet, you should not swallow the seeds dry, especially if you have difficulty swallowing or a narrowing of your esophagus. When dry chia seeds are combined with a liquid, they expand and form a gel, which can cause an obstruction in the esophagus, warns the University of Utah.