If you are looking for natural supplements for weight loss, you might want to try chia. Chia is a plant whose seeds are sold as a nutritional supplement with many reported benefits. Weight loss is just one of them. Let’s look at chia and its uses in more detail.
What Is Chia?
The botanical name for chia is Salvia hispanica. It is a flowering plant native to central America. It was cultivated by the Aztecs and is still used as a food crop in Mexico and Guatemala. The seeds are eaten whole or ground. They are often added to drinks: when soaked, they swell up and become gelatinous, a little like flax seeds. The rest of the plant is not eaten.
Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds
Like many seeds, chia seeds contain the essential oil omega-3 which has well known health benefits for the brain and heart. They are also high in protein and fiber. They contain several essential minerals including calcium, potassium and manganese, plus antioxidants that are believed to strengthen the immune system.
Chia seeds have been shown to have benefits for diabetics. A few years ago, a study was published in ‘Diabetes Care’ showing that treatment with chia helped to reduce blood pressure and inflammation in people with type 2 diabetes.
However, if you have diabetes be sure to discuss with your doctor before taking chia or any other supplement. Some studies have found that chia increases the effectiveness of diabetes medication, so taking it without adjusting your medication could be dangerous.
Chia Seed Supplements For Weight Loss
There are many natural supplements for weight loss and chia is among them. Its effectiveness is not known: studies have not so far shown measurable benefits from taking chia alone. However, the theory is that the way the seeds swell up in liquid could help people to eat less and feel full. It works a little like fiber supplements in that respect.
If you want to take chia supplements for weight loss you can at least be sure that you are adding a natural and healthy food product to your diet. Unlike many diet pills, chia seeds have no known side effects when eaten whole – unless you happen to be allergic to them, which is very rare. They also contain tons of healthy nutrients.
In order to lose weight with chia, it is important to adjust your eating habits. You will need to take chia before or at the beginning of a meal in order to feel full sooner. It won’t help you if you eat your regular amount and then take chia at the end of the meal!
More benefit can be gained if you eat slowly. People of normal weight have a ‘full’ signal that stops them eating when their body has had enough. In people who are overweight, this signal is often weak and it can be delayed by 10 minutes or more. In those 10 minutes, we can pack in a lot of extra food! Eating more slowly and with awareness, so that you are watching out for the signal, can be very helpful.
You might also want to replace other snacks with chia seeds. In this case, don’t forget that it contains fats. They are healthy fats but they still have just as many calories as the other sort!
So chia seeds should be consumed with care and as part of a controlled diet and exercise program. In that situation, chia could prove to be one of the effective supplements for weight loss.