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8 Health Benefits of Chi-Chi-Chia!: Blood Sugar, Belly Fat & More.

Sep 9, 2010 BY Joy McCarthy

Finally! I'm dedicating an entire post to this gluten-free, ancient grain that I use several times per week. Yes, this is the same chia as the "chia-pet" from the 80's. If you were a kid/teen of that ancient time, then you know what I'm talking about (wink).

Chia will make any meal more joyous, in other words, "healthier". It's also one of those foods you barely notice, making it ideal to sneak into your child's food, AH-HA. Or better yet, educate them on why you've added it to their morning cereal or sprinkled it on their dinner (I like that idea even better).

Health Benefits of Chia

1. Balances and stabilizes your blood sugar


Chia slows the effect at which glucose enters the bloodstream, making it ideal for diabetics and those wanting to prevent diabetes. Do you have wild kids and find it hard to calm them down? Along with a balanced diet, managing blood sugar is CRITICAL to good behaviour, attention span and your child's mood.

2. Improves insulin sensitivity and lower insulin


This means it will indirectly help with belly fat as fat in this area is associated with excess insulin (and cortisol).

3. FIBRE-RIFFIC!


For all you "BranBud/ALLBRAN-lovers" out there, guess who's got more fibre than wheat bran that won't bloat your belly and is GLUTEN-FREE? You guessed it, chia. Bye-bye bran, hello chia. Bran cereals are highly refined, despite their brown colour and are missing many of the essential nutrients and all their good fat - thanks to manufacturing. GO CHIA.

4. Good fat and high omega-3


In fact, the highest omega 3 content in nature - AMAZING HUH? This makes me wanna sing chi-chi-chia everytime I eat it for this very reason. Chia seeds are one of the greatest plant sources of a fatty acid called alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).

5. Contains high amounts of tryptophan


This amino acid is the precursor of serotonin (happy hormone) and melatonin (sleep/anti-cancer hormone). Real food and is a beautiful thing!

6. Lowers cholesterol, blood pressure and high blood sugar after meals


All three problems are considered "Metabolic Syndrome". If you have metabolic syndrome, then you really need to get some chia into your life and a holistic nutritionist like me to guide you towards Joyous Health (gentle nudge). :)

7. You don't have to grind them like you have to do with flax seed (my fave reason!)


Yes, LESS work! Why? Your stomach acids break down the seed very easily, (unlike flaxseeds). If you don't grind flaxseeds to release the healthy fats then they pass right through you and down la toilette.

8. Nutrients galore!


This wee powerhouse of a grain is source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorous, folic acid important for cardiovascular, bone health, stress reduction, baby-making and more.

You don't need to go to a voo-doo black magic store to buy this wondrous grain because it's in most supermarkets now - in the health food section of course. And by the way, the brand SALBA is outrageously overpriced at nearly $26 bucks for a wee bag. Unless Salba can convince me why their chia is the best, I'm suggesting that you buy a no-namer brand and save yourself some bucks!

Here are some ideas for adding this joyous grain to your life:

  • Sprinkle on organic yogurt, in your cereal, in a smoothie
  • Mix it into pasta sauce (AFTER you cook it, when you are about to serve it)
  • Sprinkle it in a sandwich, on your lunch time salad
  • Sprinkle on some berries with some cinnamon and a wee bit of{{reflink type=blog id=1582 title= kefir }} for an afternoon snack (kills those sugar cravings)

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Joyous health to you,

Joy

Sep 9, 2010 BY Joy McCarthy
70 Comments
VeggieGirl   •   September 9, 2010

Okay, I'm sold - I PROMISE to give the chia seeds another chance! :)

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joyousness   •   September 9, 2010

GOOD stuff Liz!


Christine   •   September 9, 2010

I bought these for the first time last week (after reading all your tweets on them :) ) and have been adding them to my regular foods - my favourite is definitely sprinkling them on top of pasta! Thanks for the tip!

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday   •   September 9, 2010

You can also make chia seed pudding with them! http://gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday/2010/07/15/day-182-raw-day/

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Heidi   •   September 9, 2010

Nice! Love chia seeds, and now I have more reasons to love them :) I make no bake granola bars for myself and my son and I mix in chia seeds and lots of cinnamon. Yum!

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joyousness   •   September 9, 2010

SOUNDS FABULOUS! Would love your recipe!


julie   •   September 9, 2010

you can also use chia as an egg substitute

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joyousness   •   September 9, 2010

Great suggestion... what do you suggest? 1 tbsp chia per 1 egg? Same as psyllium.


Rowie   •   September 9, 2010

Thanks for this great post! I eat chia seeds, and know that they are "healthy", but I had no idea what made them so good for you! Now I feel so informed, and can provide some good info when people ask me why I'm eating the seeds from those chia pets!

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Rose   •   December 7, 2015

I eat Chia Seeds straight from a clear plastic container also! I eat 1 & a half tsp in morning & 1 Tblsp & a quarter at night. This keeps my sugar really down. They have also help my weight go down.


Tamara Komuniecki   •   September 10, 2010

Hi Joy! I am in love with Chia. There's a brand out of BC, on the Sunshine Coast, called Holy Crap! And I did say that the first time I tried it. Our writer Cheryl Arkison is writing a piece about it for our Fall issue of the magazine. (And you're quoted in a story written by the lovely Gillian Young!) It's coming out soon... Tamara Komuniecki Editor-in-Chief, Delish Magazine

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joyousness   •   September 10, 2010

Oh my goodness, I love that name "HOLY CRAP", that's just awesome. Thanks so much! Gillian Young is great. Thanks Tamara! Have a joyous day :) Joy


kristen   •   September 14, 2010

I have been flirting with the idea of trying chia. But I heard the granules are super hard if you don't soak them for a while... is this true?

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joyousness   •   September 15, 2010

You can sprinkle them on salad, put them in a smoothie or if you don't want to eat them hard (your stomach digestive juices break them down by the way, unlike flaxseeds) then you can soak them in water for under 10 minutes and they become a gel. They are like a broom for your intestines! Amazing at cleaning things out.


2 Foods for Blood Sugar Balance (joyous video) « joyous health   •   October 6, 2010

[...] http://joyoushealth.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/8-health-benefits-of-chi-chi-chia-blood-sugar-belly-fat... [...]

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Tired of Feeling Tired? 6 Natural Ways to Boost Energy « joyous health   •   October 14, 2010

[...] she consumed very little fibre, so this was a significant change for her. I suggested she sprinkle chia seeds and flaxseeds on yogurt, or add them to salads and [...]

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Tweets that mention 8 Health Benefits of Chi-Chi-Chia!: Blood Sugar, Belly Fat & More. | joyoushealth.ca -- Topsy.com   •   November 9, 2010

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joy McCarthy, farfalla. farfalla said: RT @joyoushealth Move on over pasteurized, homogenized, acidifying life-LESS milk! 2oz of chia seeds = 600mg of calcium. http://ow.ly/36Nkx [...]

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Fiona   •   November 23, 2010

Hi! After reading this post I went out to my local organic store to find some Chia seeds! The only kind I could find were pre-ground! I assume that they will still have the same benefits in this form? I think I'd prefer to have the whole seeds so I'll keep looking but just wanted to make sure that the "dust" I bought will still have the same benefits. :)

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Joy McCarthy   •   November 24, 2010

Yes they just don't last as long and you must keep them in the fridge. I buy sprouted - those are the best, very digestible!


Torrie   •   November 24, 2010

Because or you, I bought them a couple of weeks ago. I love sprinkling them on oatmeal or cold cereal. I'm trying to get my mother, who has type 2 diabetes to try them.

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ghalya   •   January 27, 2011

HI Joy! I have a question for you - because of your love of Chia seeds, I started eating them & using them... however, one of my dear friends expressed to that there are dangers with eating them (long term, I might add) this is what I found & what she shared: Individuals on blood thinners such as Warfarin need to take caution when eating chia seeds. They lower blood pressure and act as natural blood thinners. In combination with prescription blood thinners, this can increase bleeding and present health dangers. Read more: Chia Seed Dangers | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_6770859_chia-seed-dangers.html#ixzz1CGSQ1aC0 help?

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Joy McCarthy   •   January 28, 2011

Everything on moderation. You wouldn't eat 12 apples per day or gorge yourself on any food that's healthy. But saying that chia seeds present dangers is an exaggeration for sure. I eat about 2 tbsp per day. Any food that is a natural anti-coagulant is a good thing ie. foods high in omega 3 - walnuts, fish etc. Don't worry about it.


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[...] tbsp chia [...]

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[...] Ruth’s Foods Raw Chia Goodness: Great for adding to smoothies, mix into yogurt, sprinkle on toast over top of nut butter. This is truly a superfood and if you are not sure about how incredible chia is, then check out this post on the Benefits of Chia. [...]

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[...] little chia 101, then READ HERE for more about [...]

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[...] seeds: I have written many posts about the health benefits of chia seeds. So you can either read more here to fall in love with this mighty, but tiny seeds or [...]

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Tamika   •   December 27, 2011

Where can I buy these?

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Joy McCarthy   •   December 31, 2011

Any health food store.


Candace   •   February 14, 2012

Amazing post! Since reading this a while ago, chia has become a huge part of my diet! This morning's breakfast: shake with chia, coconut oil, kale, almond milk, natural peanut butter, cacao, and banana :)

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benefits of organic food   •   March 8, 2012

It’s hard to come by educated people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

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Chia seeds: The latest superfood?   •   March 27, 2012

[...] fur. Would you be surprised to hear those same seeds, sometimes referred to as Salvia hispanica L, contain the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acid found in nature, are a complete source of protein and have [...]

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Symona Gropper   •   April 5, 2012

Hello, Joy! I have a doubt: swallowing a tablespoon of chia in a glass of water before lunch and dinner would be ok? Thanks for helping me out on this.

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Joy McCarthy   •   April 5, 2012

Yes definitely. Maybe just do once a day before bed.


fett weg   •   April 12, 2012

Good write-up. I absolutely love this site. Stick with it!

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The Best Thing About WordPress…. « My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans   •   June 21, 2012

[...] the nutritional benefits they offer.  Check out this link to learn about the benefits of chia:  http://www.joyoushealth.ca/2010/09/09/8-health-benefits-of-chi-chi-chia-blood-sugar-belly-fat-more/  While you are there, poke around the rest of the Joyous Health website…she’s got lots [...]

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Superfood of the Day: Chia! « Better Bulk Danforth   •   July 24, 2012

[...] makes chia seeds so awesome? Joy over at Joyous Health wrote a great post on 8 Benefits of Chia. I’ll summarize for you [...]

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[...] Today, Chia is growing in popularity as a food, due it is many health benefits.  See this great post for some of the awesome health benefits of this tiny seed  8 Health Benefits of Chia. [...]

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Pumpkin Pie Custard | joyoushealth.ca   •   November 8, 2012

[...] You may eat it right away or let it sit either overnight or for a hour in the fridge if you want it to become more custard-like. Basically, you need to let the chia seeds work their magic. New to CHIA? Check it. [...]

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Nancy Marshall   •   December 2, 2012

I first bought chia seeds at Costco.

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http://tinyurl.com/ahojg3q   •   January 4, 2013

This is the 3rd blog post, of your site I personally went through. And yet I actually like this particular one, “8 Health Benefits of Chi-Chi-Chia! : Blood Sugar, Belly Fat & More. | joyoushealth.ca” the most. All the best -Roberta

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Darren   •   January 24, 2013

Really appreciated this post - I have been taking Chia seeds for ~ one week and liked the detailed listing of benefits.

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Joyous Health   •   March 19, 2013

[...] Added chia seeds – check out the health benefits of chi-chi-chia! [...]

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Marlene   •   April 16, 2013

Hi Joy, Does it matter if chia seeds are not organic? I've read conflicting info saying that chia is not heavily sprayed (high antioxidants protect the crop) vs. it is a highly sprayed crop. Can you shed some light? Thanks! Marlene

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Joy McCarthy   •   May 1, 2013

I personally try and buy organic chia as often as possible but sometimes it comes down to budget. If you can afford purchasing organic for most foods, I do recommend it. However, chia is not on the 'dirty dozen" and from what I understand it's actually very low spray. Hope that helps!


10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet - Freshwadda Brooks | Coming Soon!   •   June 3, 2013

[...] Coates started his work on chia in 1991, and since then has become an advocate of the tiny seed’s health benefits. The human trials are limited —as is often the case with food research— but the anecdotal evidence of chia’s positive health effects include boosting energy, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding digestion, and lowe... [...]

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[...] Coates started his work on chia in 1991, and given afterwards has turn an disciple of a small seed’s health benefits. The tellurian trials are singular —as is mostly a box with food research— though a anecdotal justification of chia’s positive health effects embody boosting energy, stabilizing blood sugar, helping digestion, and obsc... [...]

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Chia Seed Benefits: 10 Reasons To Add Chia To Your Diet |   •   June 4, 2013

[...] Coates started his work on chia in 1991, and since then has become an advocate of the tiny seed’s health benefits. The human trials are limited —as is often the case with food research— but the anecdotal evidence of chia’s positive health effects include boosting energy, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding digestion, and lowe... [...]

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It’s Easy! Just Add Chia! | I can only be who I am...The Diary of an International Superhero   •   September 26, 2013

[…] Coates started his work on chia in 1991, and since then has become an advocate of the tiny seed’s health benefits. The human trials are limited —as is often the case with food research— but the anecdotal evidence of chia’s positive health effects include boosting energy, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding digestion, and lowe… […]

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Phil   •   October 9, 2013

Hi Joy, We have added a link to this post on our web site under Resources for a Healthy Life http://www.theelephantstrunk.ca/helpful-resources/resources-healthy-life/ But the reason for my writing here is to ask you to confirm if Chia Seeds is good for someone with low Blood Pressure (BP) or for someone who is on blood thinners, as I have read that though Chia seeds are good for lowering High BP it may not be good for a person with low BP and on Blood thinner (quote on a Cleveland Clinic post on chia seeds http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/Features/Pages/Chia-Seeds.aspx ) thanks Regards Phil

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Toni O'   •   November 25, 2013

I only recently heard about "chia". I hope that it proves to be as good as everyone says. Thanks for the information. Toni

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Your Friday Quickie: Kitchen Sink Breakfast Smoothies | When Paleo Met Sally   •   December 13, 2013

[…] your insulin sensitivity, stabilizes blood sugar, lowers blood pressure, and more! Read more here. You don’t have to grind them to get their benefits (unlike flax seeds), I just do it so that […]

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Paula Gieger   •   February 24, 2014

I have SLE (Lupus) and now have chronic pancreatitis. I also have pulmonary and heart issues. Do you think the Chia Seeds would help with the digestive problems I have related to the chronic pancreatitis? I take prescription enzyme capsules before eating to replace the enzymes my pancreas no longer produces. I will discuss this with my physician but would like your opinion.

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Joy McCarthy   •   February 24, 2014

Chia seeds will help provide your digestive system with more soluble fiber which is going to benefit elimination. I don't know how it will affect your pancreatitis but it will do no harm.


Superfood Profile: Chia Seeds | Jades Kitchen   •   March 12, 2014

[…] Joyous Health […]

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Elsy Arguello   •   March 22, 2014

How much should I have? Tablespoon, teaspoon...?

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Joy McCarthy   •   March 22, 2014

1-2 tbsp is a good start!


Blueberry Banana Smoothie | Live Simply ? Dream Endlessly   •   April 4, 2014

[…] McCarthy, J. (2010). Joyous Health. Retrieved April 4, 2014, from http://www.joyoushealth.ca/blog/2010/09/09/8-health-benefits-of-chi-chi-chia-blood-sugar-belly-fat-m… Rosenbloom, C. (2008). The top 25 healthy fruits. Retrieved April 4, 2014, from […]

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Salvador   •   August 16, 2014

Hmm is anyone else having problems with the images on this blog loading? I'm trying to determine if its a problem on my end or if it's the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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Kate McDonald-Walker   •   August 16, 2014

Hi Salvador, We're having a look into this. Are you still experiencing problems? Kate - Joyous Health Team


great tweed   •   October 6, 2014

Thanks for finally writing about > 8 Health Benefits of Chi-Chi-Chia!: Blood Sugar, Belly Fat & More. | Joyous Health < Loved it!

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Gabriel Kimbowa   •   December 5, 2014

I grow chia at my farm but I didn't know its vast benefit apart from money. Let me reserve some for my self..

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carla   •   April 26, 2015

great post!!! I've already introduced chia to my diet just trusting a good friend and now I have more joy and reasons to eat it!! thanks!

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Abby   •   August 12, 2015

Wow, thanks for the information. Hubby has just been diagnosed with type two diabetes and I with climbing cholesterol. Chia is going to become a staple in our home.

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Joy McCarthy   •   August 12, 2015

Hi Abby, I've got lots of chia recipes. Be sure to check out the Smoothies section and you can add 1 tsp to any smoothie: http://www.joyoushealth.com/smoothies/ Also in my book Joyous Health I have a very yummy chia pudding! Have a great day :)


Alma & Boyce   •   October 24, 2015

we really love chia in everything we eat but there is 1 question how much of it is to much for you

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Joy McCarthy   •   October 26, 2015

I would suggest 1-2 tbsp a day but most people need to work up to that.


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