Chia Seeds and Diabetes
Chia seeds are considered a superfood because they are high in vital nutrients and antioxidants. Sourced from the Salvia hispanica plant, research links the intake of chia seeds and diabetes management since these tiny black seeds show prowess in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
However, are these seeds truly helpful in diabetes? Or is it all just a fallacy? Keep reading to find out!
- Protein 16.5 g
- Carbohydrate 42.1 g
- Fat 30.7 g
- Fiber 34.4 g
- Sugar 0 g
- Cholesterol 0 g
Nutritional Values of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds contain numerous essential nutrients and are specifically high in fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other micronutrients that aid the control of blood sugar and reduce cravings. They boast a massive 34% fiber weight content, making them one of the most excellent fiber sources on the planet. The high fiber content helps slow sugar absorption and improve blood sugar levels.
A 1 oz serving of chia seeds contains 11.9 g of carbs alongside an impressive 9.75 g of fiber and 4.68 g of protein. The high protein and content of chia seeds make you get filled quicker, enabling you to eat less and control your weight.
Despite its high protein and fiber content, they’re pretty high in fat and calories at 8.7 g and 138 cal per 1 oz serving, respectively. Thankfully, the majority of these fats are heart-healthy omega-3s. Plus, their low glycemic index (GI) of 1 slows down the rate of sugar absorption.
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Benefits of Chia Seeds for a Diabetic
The diabetes-friendly benefits of chia seeds range from enhanced heart function to lowered inflammation, among others. Let’s have a deeper look at them.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Because chia seeds are high in fiber and heart-healthy lipids, they may assist patients with diabetes to improve their heart health. By lowering your blood cholesterol, they reduce your heart disease risk.
In one animal research, diets high in chia seeds (the novel Salba grain) improved cholesterol levels. Other findings include considerable reductions in systolic blood pressure. These benefits were attributed to the synergistic combination of chia seeds’ constituents — omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), protein, magnesium, and dietary fiber.
Aids Weight Control
If you're diabetic and overweight, losing weight can help you control your blood sugar. Chia seeds can aid weight management since they are high in protein and fiber, two nutrients that help you feel full without adding calories to your diet.
According to a study published in the journal Nutrición Hospitalaria, chia seeds aid weight loss and waist circumference reduction. In another study on chia seeds and diabetes, a diet rich in nopal cactus, soy protein, oats, and chia seeds lowered body weight and body mass index (BMI).
Reduces Chronic Inflammation
The body's natural response to illness or injury is inflammation. Research indicates that inflammation plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. This is especially true with chronic inflammation, which has also been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.
Fortunately, consuming chia seeds can help lower inflammatory marker levels in the blood. In a three-month research, the daily consumption of about 37 g of chia seeds lowered the inflammatory marker hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) by about 40% in 20 persons with diabetes.
Aids Blood Sugar Regulation
Chia seeds are high in fiber that aids the management of elevated blood sugar levels. Chia seeds have been shown in animal experiments to increase insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, as well as stabilizing blood sugar levels after the intake of high sugar meals.
Moreover, some human studies support this idea, indicating that consuming chia seeds reduces the post-meal rise in blood sugar. This is very beneficial as even temporary rises in blood sugar levels after meals can have negative health consequences (like cardiovascular risks) if they occur frequently.
Top Ways to Include Chia Seeds in Your Diet
There are various ways you can add chia seeds to your diet to reap their full benefits, including the following.
- Salads: Chia seeds are a great addition to any green salad recipe
- Pudding: Making chia seeds into pudding is one of the most popular ways to consume them
- Smoothies: Chia seeds may be added to practically any smoothie to make it more nutritious and filling
Chia seeds are beneficial to everyone and to diabetics in particular. Namely, their protein, fiber, and antioxidant content provide immense benefits for those looking to reduce their risk of heart disease and achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
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