Being important for treating diabetes is not the only benefit that comes from chia seeds; there are other several things and health conditions that are treated with chia seeds as well, such as cancer. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin B, protein, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, as well as many other nutrients and minerals, and every single one of these play a great role as well when it comes to the health of the human body. There are some side effects for chia seeds but which only fall on those with specific health conditions, such as those who are allergic to seeds for example; but other than that, chia seeds are beneficial and important for all the people out there.
Benefits of Chia Seeds for Cancer
Chia seed is a flower plant that originally comes from the mint family and it also came from Mexico, but now it is used and grown in different other places around the world. There are different uses for chia seeds; some people use them in their food recipes, others use them in their desserts, while a third group of people use them in different smoothies, and at the end all of them receive the same benefits.
Chia seeds and cancer play well along with one another, and this goes back to the alpha linolenic acid that is found in the omega-3 fatty acids found in chia seeds and which are important for treating and defeating cancer. Seeds in general are usually rich in this type of omega-3 fatty acid, such as flax seeds, hemp seeds, soybeans, but when it comes to chia seeds, we could say that it carries the richest amount of linolenic acid possible when compared to the rest, since in delivers 8 times as much alpha linolenic acid as soybeans and 16% more than flaxseeds.
Chia Seeds and Cancer
When it comes to cancer and defeating this beast, some researches say that chia seeds help in this process while other researches claim that chia seeds might increase the risk of prostate cancer; so which type of researches should we believe and which ones should we depend more on?
According to a study that was published in the Journal of Molecular Biochemistry in 2013, it was found that alpha linolenic acid (ALA) induce apoptosis on certain breast cancer and cervical cancer cell lines, without damaging non-cancerous cells. Apoptosis is the body’s natural way of getting rid of damaged or useless cells, but this mechanism is typically faulty with cancer cells, allowing them to grow uncontrollably.
In addition to the alpha linolenic acid that is found in omega-3, chia seeds are also rich in fiber and zinc, which are both important when it comes to fighting cancer as well.
Chia Seeds and Prostate Cancer
Although these researches mainly show that chia seeds and any other seeds or ingredients that carry alpha linolenic acid in them play an important part in fighting breast cancer, it was found that the opposite happens when it comes to prostate cancer. There was once a study done in Spain on a number of men and this study proved that there is a relation between alpha linolenic acid and the increase in the risk of prostate cancer. But this research was faced with another one done in 2009 published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which proved that even though there might be a relation between alpha linolenic acid and increasing the risk of prostate cancer, it was also found that this risk will most probably be a small one.
So, Why Eat Chia Seeds When it comes to Cancer?
Now, we have two opposite effects carried to the human body by chia seeds when it comes to cancer; the first one says that it helps in fighting breast cancer, while the second one says that it can increase the risk of prostate cancer. In order to fight breast cancer, it is important to know that it is not just chia seeds, but flax seeds could give you the chance to do the same thing as well.
Chia seeds carry something which is referred to as lignans, these plant lignans are modified by bacteria in the human digestive tract into enterolignans. It is important to mention the role of bacteria in this process because antibiotics can destroy beneficial bacteria in the gut resulting in long-term reduction in enterolignans. Eating commercial meats can expose people to antibiotics, as well as the overuse and inappropriate prescribing by physicians.
When it comes to the different sources of these lignans, then we are talking here about different types of seeds; flax seeds will take the first place by being the richest source for plant lignans because it carries 3 times the amount of these lignans found in chia seeds, and 8 times the amount of it that is found in the sesame seeds.
These lignans carry different effects on cancer and on fighting it, such as:
- The enterolignans which are found in plant lignans are similar to the estrogen and can bind to estrogen receptors, this capability allows the lignans to either have weak estrogenic activity or block the actions of estrogen in the body. For this reason, plant lignans are classified as phytoestrogens and there has been much interest in the potential contribution of lignan-rich foods to reduced risk of hormone-related cancers.
In general, eating a diet that is rich in flaxseeds or chia seeds will help the women in protecting herself against breast cancer.
Chia Seeds Cancer
According to a study that was published in 2007 in the issue of “Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes, and Essential Fatty Acids” in the official journal of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, it was found that the oil that comes out from chia seeds deliver some anti-cancer properties to the body, when it comes to the glandular tissue of the breast. This chia seed oil appears to be useful when it comes to reducing the tumor growth and metastasis by inhibiting mitosis – which is the replication of cancer cells.
Even though there are different studies done on the effect carried by chia seeds on treating breast cancer, those who have a high risk in receiving prostate cancer should stay away from chia seeds oil because it is believed to increase this risk especially for men.
In addition to the reasons behind eating and consuming chia seeds for treating breast cancer, it is important to understand that they could help in fighting cancer but they are not recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a medication and thus there is no specific dosage which they are supposed to stick to, it is taken as a dietary supplement and the amount can vary from one product to another. The amount of alpha linolenic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acid, antioxidants and other nutrients found in the supplement can vary as well from one product to another.
Chia Seeds Side Effects
Chia seeds benefits are numerous and according to this article, it is important when it comes to breast cancer, but chia seed prostate cancer is a totally different story. In addition to these important benefits coming from chia seeds, there are also some side effects which should be always paid attention to, and some of these side effects appear when they interact with other medications.
It is important to go back and check with your doctor before you start taking chia seeds for treating cancer, because according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer, taking chia seeds can increase the efficacy of anti-hypertensive and anti-diabetic medications prescribed for the person. In addition to their interactions with the other medications, the polyunsaturated fatty acids in the chia seeds can also reduce the clotting factors and increase the risk of bleeding, mainly when the person takes supplements with high doses.
The most important step to take when it comes to using chia seeds as treatments for cancer is to know your overall health condition and ask your doctor whether taking chia seeds will cause you any problems when taken while you are already on some other medications or not.
Different Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
In order not to mix things up, it is important to understand that there are some important benefits for chia seeds but that does not make them always useful for any kind of disease. Chia seeds could be helpful when it comes to fighting and treating type-2 diabetes, it is important when it comes to losing and maintaining weight, it is also needed for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding because it gives them protein and omega-3 which are both important for their health as well as the health of their babies, and it is also important when we are mentioning those who are dealing with other heart diseases.
But being beneficial and needed when we are referring to all these different health conditions does not make the idea of treating all the different types of cancer a benefit coming out from chia seeds. Just like the comparison done between adults and babies; not because adults need chia seeds for their health and for providing some benefits to the kids while breastfeeding means that chia seeds are important for babies, they are not.
The same thing with chia seeds and cancer; chia seeds are important for treating breast cancer but it increases the risk of prostate cancer on the other side of the story.
It turns out that chia seeds carry different benefits for the human body, but before the person indulges in these seeds in order to receive these benefits, they should always go back and check with their doctors in order to know whether there will be any conflict with the medications taken or not, as well as with the health of the person.