Chia seeds are tiny dark, nutty-flavored seeds that are rich in nutrients like healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants, notes MedlinePlus. Because chia seeds are packed with nutrients but aren't high-carb foods, these seeds may show potential for people with diabetes.
Blood Sugar Control
According to Harvard Health Publications, some research shows that chia seeds may help diabetics control blood sugar levels. A study published in 2007 in Diabetes Care found that chia appears to help improve blood sugar control and heart-disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes. However, research is still ongoing to help determine the effects fatty acids found in chia seeds on blood sugar levels.
Because chia seeds are packed with fiber and heart-healthy fats, they may help improve the heart health of people with diabetes. High-fiber diets help reduce blood cholesterol, which in turn reduces your risk for heart disease. Harvard Health Publications notes that diets rich in chia improve cholesterol levels in animal studies. Furthermore, the heart-healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in chia seeds could help reduce your risk for heart disease when eaten in place of saturated and trans fats.
Chia seeds can also aid in healthy weight management when you have diabetes. If you're diabetic and overweight, shedding pounds often hepls improve blood sugar control. Because chia seeds are rich in protein and fiber, two nutrients that help keep you feeling full without the extra calories, these seeds can help you control hunger -- and your calorie intake. MedlinePlus notes that just 1 tablespoon of chia seeds provides you with 19 percent of your daily fiber needs. A study published in 2014 in Nutricion Hospitalaria found that chia helps promote weight loss and reductions in waist circumference.
Chia seeds are generally healthy for everybody, including people with diabetes. While studies examining effects of chia on blood sugar control are ongoing, the protein, heart-healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants found in chia seeds are beneficial for people with diabetes -- especially those who want to keep heart-disease risks low and achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
An experienced health, nutrition and fitness writer, Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian and holds a dietetics degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has worked as a clinical dietitian and health educator in outpatient settings. Erin's work is published on popular health websites, such as TheNest.com and JillianMichaels.com.