We’ve been spruiking the benefits of chia for heart health since forever, and now with Heart Health Week around the corner, we thought there was no better time for a refresher on all the heart-loving properties of our favourite super seed.
Chia for Heart Health
Just one tablespoon of chia each day can provide a range of essential nutrients with a long list of health benefits, including links to lowering cholesterol, regulating heart rhythms and blood pressure, preventing blood clots, and decreasing inflammation.
In particular, chia’s rich source of Omega-3 ALAs offers powerful heart health properties, with a large Chinese cohort analysis of more than 63,000 people showing those with the highest intakes of Omega-3 fatty acids from seafood and plant sources had a 17% reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality.
As our resident dietitian, Emma Morris, says: “Research shows that plant-based Omega-3 is essential for a healthy heart as it helps to lower cholesterol. Both Omega-3 ALA (found in chia) and DHA (found in oily fish) are vital for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. The Heart Foundation recommends a daily consumption Omega-3 ALA and just 1 tablespoon of chia will provide you with your full RDI.”
Chia also provides a good source of both soluble fibre and insoluble fibre, which have been linked to improved heart health. According to Harvard Medical School, fibre’s role in preventing heart disease is thought to stem from its ability to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol.
Walnuts & Chia: A heart-healthy match made in heaven
One of the best things about chia is that it is super versatile and has virtually no flavour of its own, making it an easy match for your other favourite healthy foods. There is a rich variety of other nutritious foods that also boast impressive heart health benefits and one of our current favourites are Australian Walnuts.
Like chia, walnuts pack a hefty health punch for their size. Just a handful (30g, or approximately ten walnuts), as part of a healthy diet, has recently been found to offset inflammatory effects within the body, keeping blood vessels healthy, which prevents the hardening of arteries. In 2017, research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that consuming walnuts was associated with a 29% reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Walnuts have also been shown to improve blood cholesterol, with a recent meta-analysis of 13 studies finding that 40–100g of walnuts a day can lower both total and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol levels, without affecting ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
Get it together
Make the most of all those heart-loving benefits by combining chia and walnuts.
Here are just a few of our favourite recipes: