How Chia Seeds Could Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease accounts for 1 out of every 5 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are the main contributors to heart disease. Diabetes, an unhealthy diet, and not getting enough exercise also factor into your risk of heart disease.

According to Healthline, chia seeds have some key nutrients that could protect you from heart disease. These tiny black seeds can fight free radical damage because they contain the antioxidants quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin. Chlorogenic acid in chia seeds can reduce blood pressure, and soluble fiber can lower your cholesterol. One ounce (28.35 grams) of chia seeds has 138 calories, nearly 10 grams of fiber, and almost 9 grams of fat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Chia seeds also have 5 grams of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which helps your heart pump normally and might reduce blood clots, according to WebMD.

Evidence for the heart health benefits of chia seeds

A 2014 study in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition had people eat 35 grams of chia flour every day for 12 weeks while other people served as the control group. All people in the study already had high blood pressure. People who had eaten the chia flour had reduced their blood pressure by the end of the study. A 2021 study in Nutrition and Health looked at the effect of eating 40 grams of chia seeds on people with type 2 diabetes. After 12 weeks, people who had chia seeds every day lowered their systolic blood pressure.

According to a 2018 meta-analysis in Nutrition Reviews, chia seeds can reduce blood glucose and blood pressure, but the researchers concluded that more high-quality studies are needed to determine the health benefits of chia seeds.

A small amount of chia seeds can be easy to add to your diet. You can use them to top yogurt or fruit, or you can add water to them to use as a substitute for an egg (via Healthline). If you add 2 tablespoons of chia with ½ cup of milk, you'll have chia pudding in a few hours. Just add some sweetener to taste.