Chia seeds have been widely promoted as being one of the latest ‘superfoods’.
The seeds come from salvia hispanica – a summer herbaceous plant that is part of the mint family and native to South America. It’s rumoured the Aztecs used to eat chia seeds as a preferred source of sustainable energy before hunting or going into battle!
Although the seeds are small, they can swell up to 12 times in size when used in cooking or eaten and don’t have to be ground or cooked.
What’s All The Fuss About?
Chia seeds are classed as a complete protein – containing all nine of the essential amino acids that are considered necessary for humans.
Complete proteins generally come from animal foods, which makes these seeds a potentially important part of a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Let’s take a look at some other notable benefits of chia seeds:
- fairly low in calories – 137 cals per ounce
- good source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids
- excellent fibre content – 11 grams per ounce
- virtually all chia seeds’ carbs are fibre
- useful protein content – 4 grams per ounce
- rich in the important minerals manganese, phosphorus and calcium
- high in antioxidants
- can help reduce appetite and cravings
- some studies have linked the seeds to helping with weight loss (as part of a healthy diet)
- a particular study on type 2 diabetics found chia seeds helped to lower their blood pressure and reduce inflammation
Useful Ideas for Using Chia Seeds
|Apart from their impressive nutritional benefits, chia seeds have many other potential uses, and can be:
Chia seeds feature in many recipes – particularly for breakfast, puddings and smoothies. A few recipes I personally like: