The Tiny Seed With A Heart Of Goodness
Isn't it amazing that such a tiny seed is classified as one of the healthiest foods in the world. The little Chia seed is absolutely loaded with important nutrients.
It's been around for thousands of years - Chia seeds were an important food source for the Aztecs and Mayans. They considered them quite miraculous for their ability to provide sustainable energy. Interestingly, the word 'chia' means 'strength' in Mayan.
Strangely, Chia seeds have only become popular again during the last years. They are now favoured by health conscious consumers all over the world. Why? Take a look!
Just 28 grams of Chia seeds contain 11 grams of fibre, 4 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat - 5 grams of which are Omega-3s. Amazingly, gram for gram, Chia seeds contain more Omega-3s than salmon!
They also provide an impressive percentage of our RDA for calcium (18%), manganese (30%), magnesium (30%) and phosphorus (27%), as well as zinc, potassium, vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and vitamin B2. All that for just 137 calories!
Chia seeds are considered a whole grain food and are naturally free of gluten. Be sure to shop carefully to source non-GMO organically-grown seeds.
These tasty little morsels can improve your health in many ways, particularly as they are loaded with antioxidants. We need these to fight the production of free radicals, which can contribute to ageing and deadly diseases such as cancer.
Now, getting back to that fibre content.
Here's where Chia seeds become really interesting. Believe it or not, they can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water! And that's why they are a pantry-must for anyone trying to control their weight.
The fact that Chia seeds continue to expand in your stomach means you feel fuller quicker, whilst still getting a healthy dose of essentials vitamins. Fibre is also crucial for a healthy digestive system.
For vegans and vegetarians, Chia seeds provide a good amount of protein. In fact, they are about 14% protein (by weight), which is high compared to most plants.
There are so many more health benefits to eating Chia seeds, you could write a book on them! They can help lower the risk of heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes, boost bone health, increase energy levels and performance, and so much more.
So how can you incorporate them into your diet? Get sprinkling! Sprinkle them onto breakfast cereals and porridge, yoghurt, salads, vegetables, anything! You can also add them to home-made cakes, muffins and biscuits, bake them into bread, or pulverise them into a tasty spread.
Here's a quick and delicious Chia seed pudding to get you started. It only takes 5 minutes to make!
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 cup Chia Seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (or less) maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
Simply place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend on high for 1-2 minutes until completely smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. Stir or whisk a few times within the first hour to help it set evenly.