Was losing weight one of your New Year’s Resolutions? Mine too! You would think that as a nutritionist, I have it all figured out, but I don’t. I am an emotional eater and my life has been fraught with a lot of turmoil over the past three years. I had my first child, my husband got laid off from his job, and he had to count them … seven different jobs over the past year! That is enough to make someone gain an extra 50 pounds.
So, I need to lose the weight I regained and heard that chia seeds may help me lose the weight. So, I set out to see if chia seeds can actually help me and you lose weight.
Here are the facts, but first an intro to chia seeds….
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seed is an ancient grain that has been eaten for around 5500 years. It is part of the Labiatae (mint family) and was originally grown in Mexico and Guatemala.
Do chia seeds really work for weight loss?
Chia seeds are the new superfood and many stories abound of people claiming to have used chia seeds to lose weight, but what does the science say about chia seeds and weight loss claims? Can chia seeds help you lose weight? Maybe.
All the short-term studies have found that eating chia seeds make you feel full, resulting in you eating less. In an acute (short-term) study, participants who ate yogurt supplemented with chia seeds before lunch ate 25% fewer calories at lunch compared to participants who ate only yogurt.
What makes you want to eat less after eating chia seeds?
Chia seeds are high in fiber, which studies show increases satiety, resulting in weight loss.
Eating less should then result in weight loss over the long term. However, long-term studies using chia seeds have been mixed.
A 2009 study found that eating chia seeds did not result in participants losing weight. On the other hand, a 2017 study found that eating chia seeds resulted in significant reductions in weight and waist size.
So, what is the verdict?
Eaten in moderation as part of a high fiber diet, chia seeds may help you feel full resulting in you losing weight, but more long-term studies need to be done to see if chia seeds definitively help you lose weight on their own (1).
Other Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
1: Chia Seeds are Nutritious
Chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. One ounce of dried chia seeds provides 42% of your daily fiber needs and 9% of your daily protein needs. Additionally, it is a surprisingly good source of calcium providing a whopping 18% of your daily calcium needs.
It is also an excellent source of phosphorus and manganese. What do calcium, phosphorus and manganese have in common? They are important for keeping your bones strong. What else is amazing about chia seeds? They contain even more calcium and magnesium than milk!
Chia seeds are also an excellent source of omega 3s which are important for brain health. A one-ounce serving of dried chia seeds contains double the omega 3 content of a 3 ounce serving of cooked wild Atlantic salmon.
Now, how about chia seeds for brain food!
2: Chia Seeds are a Great Source of Antioxidants
Chia seeds contain a number of antioxidants(2) (free-radical fighting substances) such as quercetin and caffeic acid that have properties that are good for heart health and liver health. In addition, they have anti-aging and anticancer benefits.
3: Chia Seeds Contain a Whopping Amount of Fiber
As mentioned earlier, chia seeds contain an incredible amount of fiber which is good for your digestive health (3) and can help you manage your diabetes.
How can chia seeds help you manage your diabetes?
The high fiber content of chia seeds slows your digestion and how fast glucose is released, which keeps your blood glucose levels at more normal levels.
In addition, eating more fiber reduces your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes (4) and a large variety of cancers.
Ways to use chia seeds: 10 Must-Try Chia Seed Recipes
Creamy Chia Coconut Ginger-Carrot Soup
With winter in full blast (at least in my neck of the woods), you may want to warm up with a hot bowl of soup. I love me some good Thai food and carrot soup, so this Creamy Chia Coconut Ginger-Carrot soup combines the best of both worlds with chia seeds!
Smooth and spicy, this soup may make you forget that you are in minus 20 degrees Celsius aka -2 degrees Fahrenheit weather. Now don’t get me started about the weather here.
No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Chia Seed Bars
Another low-bake treat! You can tell I don’t like baking. About the only thing I can bake from scratch is banana bread … I love banana bread so much I had to learn how to bake it. Anyways, back to the No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Chia Seeds Bars.
My favourite part of this treat is that it takes only 5 minutes to prep and requires no kitchen gadgets … a hole in one! It is also totally vegan and is packed with super foods such as chia seeds, coconut oil and shredded coconut.
Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding
You had me at apple pie … When I saw the word apple pie, I had to choose this recipe. That plus the fact that it looks like tapioca or rice pudding, staples of my childhood back in the eighties. I got to try this recipe.
Apparently, this Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding tastes like apple pie but is totally plant-based, which is great if you are vegan or looking at incorporating more plant-based foods into your diet, like myself. The best part? No baking involved!
Blueberry Chia Seed Pancakes
Another favorite… pancakes! I have not had pancakes in a while, but I find that when I do, I need to eat a couple to feel full or have a side of eggs so I feel satiated without eating a whole heap of pancakes. The great thing about these Blueberry Chia Seed Pancakes is that they contain whole wheat flour and chia seeds which will leave you feeling more satiated after eating a few.
They are also topped with blueberries, which are great brain boosters, great for those days when you need extra brain power!
Sesame Chia Banana Bread with Honey and Tahini
I must admit that that I am a bit skeptical about this … how can these taste as good as baked banana bread? But these Sesame Chia Banana Bread with Honey and Tahini may be just what the doctor ordered! In addition to bananas, they contain superfoods like dark chocolate (yes, dark chocolate is good for you in moderation), coconut flakes (Yum Yum!), and chia seeds.
They are also in bite-sized balls, which may make it harder (or not) to overindulge in.
Chia Seed Balsamic Vinaigrette
Thought that chia seeds were only for sweet dishes? So did I until I found this recipe for Chia Seed Balsamic Vinaigrette! Now, I like a good Italian Vinaigrette (mainly for the low calorie properties), but after a while, you get bored of it.
Now, this vinaigrette has more calories than an Italian vinaigrette, but it sure changes it up.
Containing only five ingredients (ingredients you can actually pronounce, unlike your store-bought Italian vinaigrette), it is sure to come in handy when you are looking for a dressing to top your salad.
Coconut and Chia-Crusted Chicken Fingers
Inspired by my new revelation that chia seeds can also be used in savory dishes, I set out to see if they could be used to coat chicken, and joy of joys, they can. This coconut and chia-crusted chicken finger recipe is a healthier alternative to your run-of-the-mill chicken fingers. Oven-baked, they are made even healthier with whole wheat panko, chia seeds, and shredded coconut.
Quinoa Salad with Feta and Chia Seeds
Tired of your run-of-the-mill salad? Try this Mediterranean-inspired salad. This Quinoa Salad with Feta and Chia Seeds. Packed with goodies such as feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onion, black onion seeds, and of course chia seeds, this salad provides you with close to half of your daily fiber needs.
Packing great taste with nutrition? Now that I love it!
Chia Seed Pizza Crust
Are you a pizza lover like me? Then this crust will be a good base for all your fixins’. I have only made pizza crust from scratch once in my adult life. To me, making your own pizza beats the whole purpose of having pizza anyways, which is having dinner sans cooking and dishes to wash.
However, this chia seed pizza crust looks so yummy yet healthy, that I may just have to roll up my sleeves and make some pizza from scratch!
Made with healthy ingredients like whole-wheat flour, chia seeds and olive oil, it may get you rethinking pizza night.
Lemon Chia Seed Cake
Now, I am ending this piece with cake. I am not much of a sweet tooth, but cake is my favourite sweet indulgence. Aside from your typical cake ingredients, this lemon chia seed cake also contains chia seeds and plain, greek-style yogurt, making your cake a bit healthier so you can almost have your cake, and eat it too!