Posted on

chia seeds whfoods

Chia seeds whfoods

The type of fat found in nuts and seeds is one of the primary reasons that eating them can promote a healthy heart. The fat contained in nuts and seeds is almost exclusively unsaturated, with a good mix of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Nuts and seeds typically feature very limited amounts of saturated fat, about 5-15% or less of their total fat content. The proper balance between these types of fats is important, and many people do not get enough of certain types, especially one type of polyunsaturated fat called omega-3s. Many nuts and seeds—notably walnuts, flaxseeds, hempseeds, and chia seeds—are rich sources of a type of omega-3 fat called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which belongs to the same family of omega-3 fats as the heart-healthy fats—EPA and DHA—you may have heard about in cold-water fish.

The omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts and seeds may help prevent heart disease and repeat heart attacks in several ways. Omega-3 fatty acids, including ALA, EPA, and DHA are protective fats that have been found to:

  • Lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels (when elevated, these are both risk factors for heart disease)
  • Decrease platelet aggregation, which, when excessive, can cause “sticky” blood that may form artery-blocking blood clots
  • Reduce the formation of artery-clogging atherosclerotic plaque
  • Reduce inflammation of the blood vessels and therefore improve blood flow
  • And, lower blood pressure.

Non-profit foundation providing reliable, scientifically accurate, personalized information for convenient and enjoyable healthy eating.

Chia seeds whfoods

The World’s Healthiest Foods are health-promoting foods that can change your life.

I recommend that you vary your choice of seeds and include different types of seeds in your Healthiest Way of Eating. Both flaxseeds and chia seeds are nutrient rich. They are both known as concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s SR19 Nutrient Database, one ounce of flaxseeds contains about 4.7 grams of ALA while one ounce of chia seeds contains about 5 grams.

Both chia and flaxseeds are rich in dietary fiber: one ounce of flaxseeds contains 5.6 grams while the same amount of chia seeds contains 10.7 grams. Like all seeds, both chia and flax contain significant amounts of minerals, and they also both contain a variety of vitamins as well. Because they are very small seeds that we typically don’t eat in large amounts, chia and flax do not provide us with large amounts of protein, even though they do contain a good bit of protein in relation to their size.

At this point in time, researchers have looked more closely at the nutritional profile of flaxseeds than the profile of chia seeds. For this reason, we know that flaxseeds are concentrated sources of lignan phytonutrients, which have antioxidant and other properties. There have also been some animal studies showing potential benefits of flaxseeds (or lignans obtained from flaxseeds) for the health of the prostate gland and some human studies showing possible benefits for the cardiovascular system. However, the extent of these benefits in humans remains a matter of controversy and debate. (It’s the extent of the benefits that remains unclear in these studies—not the nature of the flaxseeds as a beneficial food). Although there has been less research with chia seeds than with flaxseeds, I would expect potential benefits (and perhaps some controversy) with respect to these seeds as well.

For more information on this topic, please see:

  • Flaxseeds
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • References

    Bloedon LT, Szapary PO. Flaxseed and cardiovascular risk. Nutr Rev. 2004;62(1):18-27.

    Dupasquier CM, Weber AM, Ander BP, et al. Effects of dietary flaxseed on vascular contractile function and atherosclerosis during prolonged hypercholesterolemia in rabbits. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006;291(6):H2987-96.

    Hallund J, Ravn-Haren G, Bugel S, et al. A lignan complex isolated from flaxseed does not affect plasma lipid concentrations or antioxidant capacity in healthy postmenopausal women. J Nutr. 2006;136(1):112-6.

    Hallund J, Tetens I, Bugel S, et al. Daily consumption for six weeks of a lignan complex isolated from flaxseed does not affect endothelial function in healthy postmenopausal women. J Nutr. 2006;136(9):2314-8.

    Harper CR, Edwards MC, Jacobson TA. Flaxseed oil supplementation does not affect plasma lipoprotein concentration or particle size in human subjects. J Nutr. 2006;136(11):2844-8.

    Kitts DD, Yuan YV, Wijewickreme AN, et al. Antioxidant activity of the flaxseed lignan secoisolariciresinol diglycoside and its mammalian lignan metabolites enterodiol and enterolactone. Mol Cell Biochem. 1999;202(1-2):91-100.

    Kuijsten A, Arts IC, van’t Veer P, et al. The relative bioavailability of enterolignans in humans is enhanced by milling and crushing of flaxseed. J Nutr. 200;135(12):2812-6. Paschos GK, Magkos F, Panagiotakos DB, et al. Dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure in dyslipidaemic patients. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jan 31.

    Prasad K. Effect of chronic administration of lignan complex isolated from flaxseed on the hemopoietic system. Mol Cell Biochem. 2005;270(1-2):139-45.

    Non-profit foundation providing reliable, scientifically accurate, personalized information for convenient and enjoyable healthy eating.