Eat Some Cha Cha Cha Chia Seeds!
Do you remember the chia pet phenomenon back in early 90s? With that catchy jingle and those captivating commercials where the chia pet would sprout before our eyes? Well, little did we know that those little chia seeds were an ancient dietary staple for Aztec civilizations which would later emerge in North America as a Super Food.
Today, I will explore the health and nutritional benefits behind that mighty chia seed and explain how to get some chia into your diet. In my next blog post I will be comparing chia seeds to hemp and flax seeds!
Chia seeds are part of the mint family and are native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia was a dietary staple for the Aztecs and they would supposedly take chia seeds with them for endurance on long journeys. This shows what fibre can do for you to sustain you until your next meal! Nevertheless, the word “chia” means strength.
Nutritional Benefits of Chia
The leading nutritional benefit of chia is the high fibre content! The type of fibre is mainly soluble fibre, which helps lower cholesterol, keeps you feeling full for longer (satiated) and helps to control blood sugars. In a 3 tablespoon serving of chia seeds there are a whopping 11.7g of fibre!
Chia seeds are one of the richest plant-based sources of fatty acids with the seeds being composed of 60% omega-3s which can reduce inflammation, reduce high cholesterol and boost brain functioning. Chia seeds contain 4g of protein per serving and is considered a complete protein since it contains all 9 essential amino acids. Chia seeds are also a good source of key minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium. In fact, two tablespoons of chia seeds provide twice the iron and magnesium of a cup of spinach.
So What ARE the Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seeds? Click To Tweet
How to Add Chia into my diet?
Chia seeds (unlike flax seeds) do not need to be ground up for your body to absorb the nutrients. Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavour and can be purchased at your local bulk food store.
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Here are some ways to add chia into your diet:
- Sprinkle whole chia seeds on top of hot/cold cereal
- Add chia seeds to yogurts or salads
- Add chia seeds to smoothies or shakes for added nutrition
- Substitute ¼ of the flour for ground chia flour when making homemade muffin, bread or pancakes
- Chia seeds can be used to thicken puddings, sauces or dips
- Add chia seeds to homemade cookies or energy bars
Chia seeds are a nutritious addition to your diet and a great way to boost dietary fibre! Keep in mind that Canadians are generally not meeting their dietary fibre requirements and there are a multitude of health benefits associated with fibre. Remember to increase fibre gradually as increasing quickly (without adequate water as well) can lead to stomach discomfort. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I compare chia seeds to the mighty hemp seed and the notorious flax seed.