Chia seeds might be tiny, but in terms of nutrition, these little seeds are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. These seeds are placed under the superfood category and for a good reason. For this, we shall get you acquainted with the many health benefits of chia seeds. But before that, let’s take a look at the nutritional value and calorie content of these super seeds. A spoonful of chia seeds, five pounds approximately, contains 69 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. The nutritional value of chia seeds further offers a wide range of health benefits. And the best part about these seeds is that they are versatile; there are no specific criteria of consuming these seeds. They can be added to salads, smoothies, vegetable curries and more.
Here’s a list of 8 amazing health benefits of chia seeds you simply cannot miss:
These little seeds are packed with fiber, 5 grams in just a spoonful. With one tablespoon of chia seeds, you can make up for 20% of your daily fiber requirements. Dietary fiber in these seeds helps in lowering your cholesterol levels and boosts your digestive health. It helps in keeping your bowel movements in check and reduces the frequency and occurrence of constipation.
2. Stronger bones
Besides calcium, your bones need phosphorus and magnesium to stay in a good state of health. These nutrients can be obtained from chia seeds. According to a study published in the Nutrition Journal, people who consumed phosphorus were at a 45% lower risk of developing osteoporosis as compared to others. One tablespoon of chia seeds contain 122 mg of phosphorus and 47 mg of magnesium which makes up for 17% and 15% of the daily requirement of these nutrients.
3. Source of complete protein
Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids required by the human body. These are usually found in animal-based foods. However, chia seeds are a plant-based source of complete proteins. This makes chia seeds the perfect source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. The protein content, however, is not very high. One tablespoon of chia seeds contains only 2 grams of protein. Add it to your pudding, salad, smoothies and other foods to make the most of these seeds.
4. Omega 3 fatty acids
Chia seeds are a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid. It is a type of omega 3 fatty acid which offers protection against heart diseases. This fatty acid cannot be produced by the human body, therefore, it is important to consume it from food sources.
5. Keeps you hydrated
Here’s another good reason to relish a chia drink before going out for a run. Chia seeds soak up a lot of water which is why they help athletes and runners stay hydrated during high endurance sports. One gram of chia seeds can soak up 12 grams of water.
6. Weight loss
Because of the high fiber content, chia seeds make you feel full for longer, thereby cutting down your calorie intake. A study showed that people who consumed 7 to 14 grams of chia seeds ate 25% lesser than what they usually eat. Another reason why these seeds induce satiety is their ability to absorb water. Due to the high water content, they make you feel too full to eat more. Over time, these seeds induce weight loss.
Chia seeds can be a source of calcium for vegans and lactose intolerant people. And if you are a dairy-consumer, simply add these seeds to your milk shake or yogurt to boost your calcium consumption.
8. Benefits for type 2 diabetics
One of the most important benefits of these seeds is its ability to boost the health of type 2 diabetics. It lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels of the patients considerably. Including chia seeds in the diet can be considerably beneficial for the health of diabetes patients.
Coffee compounds may help fight prostate cancer
In a first, scientists have identified compounds found in coffee which may inhibit the growth of prostate cancer. The study, published in the journal The Prostate, was carried out on drug-resistant cancer cells in cell culture and in a mouse model. Coffee is a complex mixture of compounds which has been shown to influence human health in both positive and negative ways. There is increasing evidence that drinking certain types of coffee is associated with a reduction in incidence of some cancers, including prostate cancers.
Researchers from Kanazawa University in Japan have studied the effects of two compounds found in coffee, kahweol acetate and cafestol, on prostate cancer cells and in animals, where they were able to inhibit growth in cells which are resistant to common anti-cancer drugs such as Cabazitaxel. The researchers initially tested six compounds, naturally found in coffee, on the proliferation of human prostate cancers cells in a petri-dish. They found that cells treated with kahweol acetate and cafestol grew more slowly than controls. They then tested these compounds on prostate cancer cells which had been transplanted to 16 mice.
Four mice were controls, four were treated with kahweol acetate, four with cafestol, with the remaining mice being treated with a combination of kahweol acetate and cafestol. “We found that kahweol acetate and cafestol inhibited the growth of the cancer cells in mice, but the combination seemed to work synergistically, leading to a significantly slower tumour growth than in untreated mice,” said Hiroaki Iwamoto from Kanazawa University.
“After 11 days, the untreated tumours had grown by around three and a half times the original volume, whereas the tumours in the mice treated with both compounds had grown by around just over one and a half times the original size,” said Iwamoto. This is a pilot study, so this work shows that the use of these compounds is scientifically feasible, but needs further investigation, researchers said. It does not mean that the findings can yet be applied to humans.
“What it does show is that these compounds appear to have an effect on drug resistant cells prostate cancer cells in the right circumstances, and that they too need further investigation,” said Iwamoto. “We are currently considering how we might test these findings in a larger sample, and then in humans,” he said.
Kahweol acetate and cafestol are hydrocarbons, naturally found in Arabica coffee. The coffee-making process has been found to affect whether these compounds remain in coffee after brewing (as with espresso), or whether they are stripped out (as when filtered). “These are promising findings, but they should not make people change their coffee consumption. However, if we can confirm these results, we may have candidates to treat drug-resistant prostate cancer,” said Atsushi Mizokami, professor at Kanazawa University.
Strength training may reduce fatty liver disease
Besides being beneficial for heart, strength training can also reduce accumulation of fat in liver and improve blood glucose regulation, says a study on mice. The study, led by a team from the University of Campinas in Brazil, showed strength training can reduce fat stored in liver and improve blood glucose control in obese mice, even without overall loss of body weight.
The findings suggest strength training may be a fast and effective strategy for reducing the risk of fatty liver disease and diabetes in obese people.
“That these improvements in metabolism occurred over a short time even though the overall amount of body fat was unchanged, it suggests strength training can have positive effects on health and directly affect liver’s function and metabolism,” said Pereira de Moura from the varsity.
“It may be a more effective, non-drug and low-cost strategy for improving health,” she said. During the research, published in the Journal of Endocrinology, the team investigated effects of strength-based exercise on liver fat accumulation, blood glucose regulation and markers of inflammation in obese mice.
Obese mice performed strength training over a short time, the equivalent of which in humans would not be enough to change their body fat composition.
After this short-term training, the mice had less fatty livers, reduced levels of inflammatory markers and their blood glucose regulation improved, despite no change in their overall body weight.
These health benefits would be even more effective if accompanied by reduction of body fat, she added. Based on these findings, obese individuals could be directed to increase their activities through strength training, but should always first consult their primary care physician.
More investigation is required in both animals and people to understand how liver metabolism is affected by strength training. Obesity, a growing health epidemic globally, leads to inflammation in liver and impairs its ability to regulate blood glucose. It increases the risk of Type-2 diabetes and its associated complications, including nerve and kidney damage.
Do Eggs Increase Your Cholesterol Levels? Here’s What You Should Know
Do you savour cheese omelettes? If so, think again as consuming more eggs and dietary cholesterol may up the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death from any cause, researchers have warned.
The study suggests that egg yolks are one of the richest sources of dietary cholesterol among all commonly consumed foods. One large egg has 186 milligrams of dietary cholesterol in the yolk.
“The take-home message is really about cholesterol, which happens to be high in eggs and specifically yolks,” said co-author Norrina Allen, Associate Professor at the Northwestern University.
“As part of a healthy diet, people need to consume lower amounts of cholesterol. People who consume less cholesterol have a lower risk of heart disease,” Allen added.
For the study, which will be published in the journal JAMA, the team involved 29,615 adults from six prospective cohort studies for up to 31 years of follow up.
They found eating 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day was associated with 17 per cent higher risk of incident cardiovascular disease and 18 per cent higher risk of all-cause deaths.
The cholesterol was the driving factor independent of saturated fat consumption and other dietary fat, the team said.
Eating three to four eggs per week was associated with 6 per cent higher risk of CVD and 8 per cent higher risk of any cause of death, they added.
The researchers say that eating less than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day was the guideline recommendation before 2015. However, the most recent dietary guidelines omitted a daily limit for dietary cholesterol.
The guidelines also include weekly egg consumption as part of a healthy diet. An adult in the US gets an average of 300 milligrams per day of cholesterol and eats about three or four eggs per week.
Other animal products such as red meat, processed meat and high-fat dairy products (butter or whipped cream) also have high cholesterol content, said lead author Wenze Zhong from the varsity.