Chia seeds definitely deserve the term, ‘super food’. They are a powerhouse of nutrients and although they are gaining popularity, they have been around since 3500 BC when they were eaten by the Aztecs and Mayans. Chia means strength in Mayan language and so it’s not surprising that they are a great energy food used by runners and athletes.
1. Packed Full of Nutrients
2 tablespoons of chia seeds contains a whopping 11g fibre which is 42% of your recommended daily amount (RDA). They also contain over 4g protein (9% of your RDA) and contain all 9 essential amino acids. They are low in calories, high in omega 3 and contain just under 9g fat (13% of your RDA). Chia seeds are high in the minerals calcium (18% RDA), phosphorus (27% RDA) and manganese (30% RDA)
2. Very High in Fibre
Chia seeds are high in fibre and therefore support good digestive health. Fibre can also help lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of colon cancer and other digestive disorders. The fibre also acts a prebiotic supporting the good bacteria in the gut.
3. Low in Carbohydrates
2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain 12g of carbohydrate but most of this (over 10g) is fibre. They are therefore classed as a low carb food as the fibre doesn’t spike the blood sugars and is not a true carb. The real carb content is only just over 1g per 2 tablespoons.
4. Aid in Weight Loss
The high fibre content in chia seeds means that it can absorb up to 10 times its own weight in water! Due to this, and the high protein content you will feel fuller for longer and will be less likely to snack. Whilst the scientific data in this area is rather grey, adding chia seeds to your diet will certainly help with overall health and wellbeing. Research has also shown that chia seeds may be able to reduce the visceral adipose tissue (otherwise known as belly fat) that can lead to obesity and a myriad of other health problems.
5. Good for Bone Health
Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 30% of your recommended daily amount of manganese which is essential for bone health. Not only that but they contain 18% of your RDA for calcium too. In comparison to dairy products, gram for gram chia seeds are much higher in calcium-and much healthier too!
6. High in Protein
Chia seeds are a complete protein (contain all 9 essential amino acids) and are high in plant based protein. Protein is the building blocks of our body and is essential for growth, cell repair and muscle development.
7. Great for sport and exercise
A 2011 study in the journal of strength and conditioning reported that chia seeds mixed with the sports drink Gatorade was just as effective for athletes exercising greater than 90 minutes compared to athletes drinking Gatorade alone. Therefore chia seeds would be beneficial for carb loading without all the processed sugar in the readymade energy drinks.
8. Assist Diabetic Patients
Research studies have shown that chia seeds can actually halt and even reverse diabetes. Tests conducted on patients have shown a diet high in chia seeds can lower blood pressure and reduce inflammatory markers. As chia seeds are high in fibre they won’t cause the spike in blood pressure and therefore would be a great addition to a diabetic’s diet.
9. High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Gram for gram chia seeds are higher in Omega 3 fatty acids than salmon and a much healthier version compared to farmed salmon that most people consume. They are therefore very beneficial for heart health. Studies have also shown that chia seeds can lower total and LDL cholesterol whilst increasing HDL levels (the good cholesterol). Chia seeds can also lower inflammation in the body which can lead to a myriad of diseases and complications.
10. Versatile Addition to your Diet
Chia seeds also make a great egg replacement in recipes (1 tablespoon chia seeds to 3 tablespoons water, mix and wait until a gelatinous solution is formed in a few minutes). They are easy to use and provide essential nutrients as well as giving an energy boost. Chia seeds can be black or white and their nutritional content is the same. They are also naturally gluten free. They are so versatile to use and can be added to smoothies, salads or desserts.
Our bodies digest chia seeds easier when they are soaked prior to eating or are added to a liquid such as a smoothie. Please note that if you have dysphagia or oesophageal restrictions or known irritable bowel issues, you may be best to avoid consuming chia seeds. Chai seeds have also been shown to interact with blood thinning and blood pressure medications. Therefore please discuss this with your medical doctor if you have any concerns.
I love this company’s Chia seeds (I am not sponsored or affiliated). They are sustainably grown in Australia, 100% chemical free (guaranteed), certified non GMO and can even be tracked back to the paddock from which they are grown: https://thechiaco.com/
Why not try this passionfruit chia pudding ? Perfect for any time of day!