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Chia vs. Basil Seeds: Which is better for weight loss and why

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In the quest for effective weight loss solutions, superfoods have garnered significant attention for their health benefits and nutritional value. Superfoods play a crucial role in weight loss by providing essential nutrients while being low in calories. They boost metabolism, curb appetite, and enhance digestion. Rich in fiber, superfoods like chia seeds , berries, and leafy greens promote satiety, reducing overall calorie intake. Their antioxidants and vitamins also support overall health, making weight loss more sustainable and effective. Among these, chia seeds and basil seeds (also known as sabja seeds) are two popular contenders often touted for their potential to aid in weight loss. Both seeds offer unique benefits, but which is better for weight loss? Here’s all you need to know about the properties of chia and basil seeds to determine their effectiveness in promoting weight loss.

Nutritional profile

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are nutrient-dense and are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, protein, antioxidants, and various micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. One ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds contains approximately:

Calories: 137
Protein: 4.4 grams
Fat: 8.6 grams (mostly omega-3)
Carbohydrates: 12 grams
Fiber: 10.6 grams

Basil Seeds
Basil seeds, also known as sabja seeds, are similarly packed with nutrients but have a slightly different profile. They are rich in fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and various vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron. One ounce (28 grams) of basil seeds contains approximately:

Calories: 60
Protein: 2 grams
Fat: 2.5 grams (mostly omega-3)
Carbohydrates: 7 grams
Fiber: 7 grams

Fiber content and satiety
Both chia and basil seeds are high in fibre, which is a crucial component for weight loss. Fibre helps promote satiety, reducing overall calorie intake by making you feel fuller for longer periods. Chia seeds have a slightly higher fibre content than basil seeds, which can make them more effective in promoting satiety.

The gel-like consistency that both seeds form when soaked in water further enhances their ability to keep you full. This gelatinous fibre slows down the digestion process, stabilising blood sugar levels and preventing hunger pangs.

Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that provide numerous health benefits, including weight management. Both chia and basil seeds are excellent sources of omega-3s, with chia seeds having a higher concentration. Omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation, which is often linked to obesity and metabolic disorders. By incorporating omega-3-rich seeds into your diet, you can support overall metabolic health, which is crucial for weight loss.

Protein content
Protein is another important nutrient for weight loss as it helps build and repair tissues, supports muscle growth, and promotes satiety. Chia seeds have a higher protein content compared to basil seeds, making them a better choice for those looking to increase their protein intake while trying to lose weight. A higher protein intake can help maintain muscle mass during weight loss and boost metabolism, aiding in more efficient calorie burning.

Weight loss
The high fiber content in chia seeds helps you feel fuller for longer, reducing overall calorie intake. Additionally, chia seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, forming a gel-like substance that can also promote satiety.

Caloric density
When considering weight loss, caloric intake is a critical factor. Basil seeds have a lower caloric density compared to chia seeds, meaning you can consume a larger quantity of basil seeds for fewer calories. This can be advantageous if you are looking to bulk up your meals without significantly increasing your calorie intake.

Hydration and detoxification
Both chia and basil seeds have hydrating properties due to their ability to absorb water and form a gel-like substance. This can help keep you hydrated, which is essential for overall health and effective weight loss. Proper hydration aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, and detoxification processes.

Basil seeds are particularly known for their cooling properties, which can help in detoxifying the body and reducing bloating. Incorporating basil seeds into your diet can promote a healthier digestive system, aiding in weight loss.

ALSO READ: 9 reasons to consume chia seeds soaked water on an empty stomach

Ease of use and versatility
Both chia and basil seeds are incredibly versatile and can be easily incorporated into various dishes. They can be added to smoothies, yoghurt, oatmeal, salads, and baked goods. Chia seeds have a neutral flavour, making them suitable for both sweet and savoury dishes. Basil seeds have a slightly more pronounced taste but blend well with most foods.

Potential side effects
While both seeds are generally safe for consumption, it's important to consume them in moderation. Excessive intake of chia seeds can lead to gastrointestinal issues such as bloating and constipation due to their high fibre content. Similarly, consuming large amounts of basil seeds can cause digestive discomfort.

It's also important to note that chia seeds contain phytic acid, which can bind to certain minerals and reduce their absorption. Soaking chia seeds before consumption can help reduce phytic acid levels.

Both chia and basil seeds offer impressive health benefits and can aid in weight loss when incorporated into a balanced diet. Chia seeds may have a slight edge due to their higher fibre, protein, and omega-3 content, which can enhance satiety, muscle maintenance, and metabolic health. However, basil seeds are lower in calories and provide excellent hydration and detoxification benefits.

Soak chia seeds in water for at least 20 minutes, or until they form a gel-like consistency. While basil seeds should be soaked for about 15 minutes. Both seeds expand significantly and become gelatinous, aiding in satiety and digestion, which can help with weight loss.

Ultimately, the choice between chia and basil seeds depends on your dietary preferences and specific health goals. For optimal results, consider incorporating both seeds into your diet to take advantage of their unique properties and maximise their weight loss benefits.

(Images courtesy: Canva)
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