If you’ve set foot inside a health food store or walked down the health aisle of your local supermarket lately, chances are you’ve come across these amazing little seeds. And, if you haven’t, then you’re in for a real treat!
What are chia seeds?
They’re tiny dark seeds which pack a powerful nutritional punch. So much so, Aztec warriors used them in ancient times for sustained energy and endurance while they hunted. In fact, ‘chia’ means ‘strength’ in the Mayan language.
Where are they from?
Chia seeds are native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala but are now also grown commercially in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador and Australia.
What makes them so special?
What they lack in size they most certainly make up for in nutritional content! They’re nutrient dense and pack a punch of energy boosting power.
Here are 10 reasons why you should include chia seeds in your diet.
Dietary fibre is beneficial for digestion and may help to regulate blood sugar levels which is important in the control of diabetes.
This makes them great for anyone with coeliac disease or sensitivity to gluten.
Chia seeds are among the best plant-based sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Around 40% of the seed is oil and of this, around 65% is alpha-linolenic acid, which has numerous benefits for health.
Chia seeds are great for supporting healthy bones as they contain calcium, phosphorus and manganese.
Chia seeds comprise around 20% protein with all 8 essential amino acids.
Antioxidants help to combat oxidative stress. Did you know that chia seeds are higher on the ORAC scale* than blueberries?!
*ORAC scale = Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. This shows the ability of foods and other compounds to subdue oxygen free radicals.
This makes it easy to add chia seeds to most foods to increase the nutritional value.
Chia seeds can absorb up to 15 times their weight in liquid when soaked. They transform into a gel which can be used as a binder, thickener and egg replacement in baking.
Chia seeds are useful if you’re trying to lose weight as their combination of protein, fibre and gelling action when mixed with liquid helps to increase the volume of food in the digestive tract which can leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Chia seeds are extremely versatile which makes them easy to incorporate into your existing diet.
So, how do you eat chia seeds?
Chia seeds are SO versatile. Here are some ways you can include them in your diet.
Where can you buy Chia seeds?
You can buy chia seeds from most health food stores or online here:
Have you tried chia seeds before? If so, what are your favourite ways to eat them?
Ullah, R. et al (2016). Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 53(4), 1750–1758. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4926888/
Mohd Ali, N. et al (2012). The Promising Future of Chia, Salvia hispanica L. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, 2012, 171956. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518271/
Ciftci, O. N., Przybylski, R. and Rudzińska, M. (2012), Lipid components of flax, perilla, and chia seeds. Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol., 114: 794–800. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejlt.201100207
Borneo, R. et al. (2009). Chia (Salvia hispanica L) Gel Can Be Used as Egg or Oil Replacer in Cake Formulations, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 110(6), 946-949
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Hi, I'm Sian Burns.
This is where you'll find my thoughts on health, wellness and cancer recovery. Whether you’ve experienced a cancer diagnosis, or you’re just interested in healthier living, WELCOME! I hope you’ll find helpful information and resources in these pages.