Studies continue to show that a combination of a more plant-forward diet (including chia!) along with other healthy lifestyle choices (exercise, mental health, etc.) helps support and maintain a healthy heart. There is not just one, but three nutrients found in chia seeds that support the heart: omega-3 fat ALA healthy fat, fiber, and antioxidants. Here's how each nutrient can contribute:
In fact, studies show that just 2 tablespoons of chia seed a day can decrease triglycerides up to 30% and 1 teaspoon of chia oil can help decrease both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides by 35%.
Fetal Development – Brain and Eyes
Did you know that during the third trimester of development a fetus's retina, the part of the eye that enables vision, begins to form? It is also at this time and through the first two years of life that the brain grows more than any other time. One of the main building blocks of these two organs is something called DHA or docosahexaenoic acid, a kind of omega-3 fat. Our body does not produce DHA; therefore, it has to get it through the food we eat.
Alpha-Linolenic (ALA), the omega-3 fat present in chia seeds, is the precursor of DHA; that is, our body creates DHA from this fat. Therefore, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consuming foods or supplements containing ALA and DHA will help the baby's brain and eye development.