You may have passed chia seeds in the supermarket, you may have had them in muesli at your local cafe but do you know what chia seeds are?
Next time you’re in the supermarket: add chia seeds to your shopping trolley for a new way to add new flavour to your foods while also getting the added nutrition from this little seed.
What is Chia?
Chia is an edible seed that originated in Mexico and Southern America and is a member of the mint family. Chia seeds can be black or white but the colour doesn’t matter – the nutrition is similar in both colours.
Chia seeds are high in plant based omega 3’s (ALA), fibre, antioxidants and protein, making them a nutritious food. Chia has a lovely nutty flavour making it a versatile and nutritious addition to the foods you eat every day.
What do Chia Seeds look like?
How are Chia Seeds beneficial for me?
Chia seeds are packed full of goodness to help keep us healthy every day. Chia seeds contain approximately:
- 20 % Omega 3 (ALA)
- 37% Dietary fibre
- 20% Protein
They are also high in other vitamins and minerals (in calcium, potassium, phosphate and magnesium) and are low GI.
By including Chia seeds in our eating plan it can assist with improving many aspects of health:
Weight management: When you eat chia, it has the special ability to absorb water which can create a feeling of fullness. This can help you control how much food you eat and reduce snacking which can help with weight management. The high protein and fibre content also helps to keep you fuller for longer.
Heart health: The high omega 3 (ALA) content of chia seeds has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, maintain artery function and reduces your overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
Bowel health: Chia Seeds contain a whopping 37% fibre, of which 80% is insoluble fibre and 20% is soluble fibre. Fibre helps to keep our bowels regular and healthy. Chia seeds are also a wholegrain (meaning the husk is left intact), and research shows that eating wholegrains daily can help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
People with diabetes: Chia seeds are low GI (provide slow release energy) which is beneficial for those who need to watch their blood sugar levels. Including chia seeds with breakfast can help to lower the overall Glycaemic Index of the meal.
How much Chia do I need to eat for health benefits?
To meet the daily requirement of 2 g of ALA omega 3 fatty acid per day, we need to consume 10g of chia seeds/day. This is equivalent to approximately 2 teaspoons.
What do I eat Chia Seeds with?
Chia seeds are great as you can add them to almost all foods. Here are a few ideas to get you started
- In a glass of water with freshly squeezed lime/ lemon juice
- Sprinkle onto your breakfast cereal
- Combine through low fat yoghurt for a snack
- Stir through the flour mix when baking muffins or other treats
- Sprinkle over a salad
- Add into a soup
- Stir through your favourite dip
- Add into a stirfry
- Combine with dukkah