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David Fisher, MD, MPH: Health benefits from Chia seeds

House Calls Radio

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health benefits from Chia seeds

A caller to my Tuesday morning appearance on WMBI asked a question about chia seeds, and I had to admit that I did not know much about what they had to offer. If you're like me, the word "chia" conjures up images of pet-shaped terra cotta pottery with green sprouts. It turns out that eating chia seeds can have some positive health benefits.

Chia seeds contain a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for brain and heart health. Chia seeds apparently contain more omega-3 per ounce than flax seed. Chia seeds also contain some calcium, and high levels of magnesium.
The recommended dosage of chia is 2 tablespoons per day. They can be eaten straight, mixed in water, or ground and added to baked goods like muffins. As with any supplement, it is important to remember that these are not regulated by the FDA, so if you are going to purchase chia seeds, try to do so from a reputable source.

I was unable to find any major medical studies on chia. It has been reported to benefit those with diabetes, but so far there are no studies to back this up. I expect that some studies will emerge over the next few years, especially now that Dr Mehmet Oz mentioned chia seeds on the Oprah show.

While some have suggested chia seeds as an alternative treatment for hair loss, I do not recommend this course of action.

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