For thousands of years, Central and South America nations have eaten chia seeds. The word “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “Strength.” In fact, Aztec warriors ate them before battle or running long distances. It wasn’t until recently that the rest of the world discovered the benefits of Chia seeds. Since then, chia seeds have grown to be a wildly popular superfood worldwide.
Modern-day descendants of the Central and South American nations who cultivated chia in ancient times continue to grow it today.
Chia seeds grow on beautiful flowering plants with purple blossoms.
While it doesn’t fall under the technical definition of grain, the harvesting of chia is similar to wheat and other grains.
The plant that produces chia seeds is called the Salvia Hispanica plant. The seeds range in color from dark gray to brown or white. The color of the seed is not known to have any effect on the nutritional value of the seeds.
Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seeds
Organic chia seeds are a superfood with nutrients, such as Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and dietary fiber.
Each serving(13g) of chia seeds contains 3g polyunsaturated Omega-3 fats. Polyunsaturated fats have been shown to have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. It is important to note that while chia seeds do contain polyunsaturated fats which can have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, we do not intend it to replace traditional medication or medical treatment.
Each serving of chia seeds contains 4g dietary fiber. Dietary fiber has been shown to have significant health benefits. Individuals with a high intake of dietary fiber may have a significantly lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. (Source)
Again, it is important to note that while chia seeds do contain fiber which can have a positive effect on health, we do not intend it to replace traditional medication or medical treatment.
Vitamins and Minerals in Chia Seeds
Chia seeds’ health benefits are wide-ranging and somewhat numerous. They include 6 percent of your daily requirement for iron, calcium, and 5 percent of your recommended daily intake(RDI) for zinc all taken care of in a serving of chia seeds. Chia seeds also cointain many more nutrients including:
- Calcium (as much as a ¼ Cup of milk in 1 tablespoons of chia seeds)
But Wait, There’s More!
Chia seed benefits don’t just end there! They are also gluten-free and GMO-free, and they can even absorb up to ten times their weight in water.
How to Use Chia Seeds?
There are so many delicious ways to use chia seeds. A quick Pinterest search or #chia search on Instagram will flood you with ideas on how to use it. Popular ways to use chia include
- Chia Pudding
- Oatmeal add-in
- Blended in smoothies
- Thickener for sauces
- Egg replacement in baked goods (one tsp of seeds with two oz. of water)
- Strawberry Chia Jam
You can grind up chia seeds for use in baked goods such as bread, cakes, and biscuits. It’s best to hydrate the seeds before you eat them so that they don’t absorb too many liquids from your body.
If you’re wondering whether or not to include chia seeds in your diet, the answer is a resounding YES! (unless you are allergic, then definitely no.) So next time you’re making a morning bowl of oatmeal or a smoothie, or whatever healthy snack or meal you prefer, add some chia seeds.