A crop that dominated way before maize, chia seeds were used to pay tribute by Aztec people.
Chia seeds are known as a nutritional powerhouse, but you may be wondering:
Are chia seeds keto friendly?
Yes, chia seeds can be ok to eat while on the keto diet and they bring an entire lineup of health benefits.
But with these benefits, some complications also become evident and we suggest you use it sparingly.
- Are chia seeds keto friendly?
- Chia seeds keto benefits:
- Potential risks of chia seeds:
- The bottom line
Are chia seeds keto friendly?
Chia seeds are a novelty health food product that has become very popular in recent years, and as such, the keto diet picked up on it.
Before considering chia seeds on the keto diet, we would suggest looking closely at what keto requires. This usually implies foods low on carbs and high in fats.
So what does this mean?
Chia seeds are something that can be included in the keto diet but there are some caveats to keep in mind.
What is the nutritional content of chia seeds?
Depending on how much the macros of chia seeds weigh on the keto, the amount used can lean more or less towards keto. (*)
For 100 grams of chia seeds:
- Calories 486
- Protein 16.5 g rams
- Total lipid (fat) 30.7 grams
- Ash 4.8 grams
- Carbohydrate 42.1 grams
- Dietary fiber 34.4 grams
Chia seeds have a pretty large carb count and because of it we encourage moderation when adding them to the keto.
It’s also noteworthy that chia seeds are gluten free and have certain amounts of fats.
Do chia seeds have micronutrients?
Besides fats or carbs, chia seeds do exhibit certain amounts of micronutrients, which include: (*)
- vitamins B1 (thiamine)
- vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- vitamin B3 (niacin)
- omega-3 fatty acids
With such a rich base of micronutrients, we see the value chia seeds can pose, even to the keto diet.
Chia seeds keto benefits:
Even with some higher levels of carb content chia seeds can be used on the keto diet with the right calculation of macros.
Not only that!
Chia seeds provide certain health benefits that complement the keto diet.
1. Reduces blood sugar levels and manages insulin resistance
Many people with type 2 diabetes or high blood sugar levels opt to include some form of the keto diet as it helps with lowering these sugars from the body. (*)
Insulin sensitivity is an issue many people suffer from and some studies show that chia seeds are proving useful in managing insulin resistance. (*)
2. Minimizing chronic inflammation
Inflammation is something we hear about a lot, and it’s not a coincidence. Many inflammatory foods can have negative effects on one’s health.
Diabetes is one such health issue that can suffer complications from inflammation.
A study where chia seeds were used to compare their anti-inflammatory properties had shown that 37 g of chia seeds a day resulted in a 40% inflammation reduction. (*)
3. Heart disease improvement
Studies on heart health improvements with chia seeds are not as conclusive as other conditions.
Most studies have been done on animals, and they improve many conditions that are linked to risk factors of heart disease:
- Reduced inflammation
- Minimisez insulin resistence
- Decreases triglycerides
- Lowers abdominal fat
The omega-3 fatty acids are also another component that helps deal with some heart issues.
4. Helps strengthen bones
The high concentration of nutrients in chia seeds puts them high on the list of healthy diets and even the keto diet followed suit.
Chia seeds provide a whole deal of calcium that helps strengthen bone structure. There is more calcium in chia seeds than there is in dairy products. (*)
Potential risks of chia seeds:
Even with the allure of high fat content, moderately low carbs, and heavy in nutrients, there are some risks pertaining to chia seeds.
Most of the issues that chia seeds display come from the omega-3 content.
1. Certain cancer risks
Alpha-Linolenic Acid has been linked with an increased risk of prostate cancer. (*)
These contradictory results only show that much more investigation needs to be done.
2. Lectin toxins from chia seeds
Lectin is a protein contained within chia seeds and they cannot be digested. What these proteins do instead is that they reach the bloodstream and bind with viruses.
Now imagine this:
Lectin bound viruses find their target quicker and basically make the virus more effectively. (*)
3. Too much fiber with chia seeds
Fiber does have its benefits in any diet but too much of it will not be healthy.
As fiber is used to treat bloating, constipation or diarrhea it can also exacerbate them if too much fiber is ingested.
The bottom line
The keto diet seems restricting at times, but even so, there is a wide variety of meals that bring many benefits.
Chia seeds are one such example that can be used in many keto friendly meals with great versatility.
But are chia seeds keto friendly?
Truth be told:
Yes, chia seeds are keto, but there’s a catch. They contain fiber and this can pose a risk to ketosis. We recommend you check macros and ensure they won’t affect ketosis.
If you have chia seeds, tell us about your experience with them below. If you have any questions about your keto diet journey, ask us in the comments and we may write on your question next!