You may or may not have heard of chia seeds, the new 'super food' to hit the health food shop shelves in the last few years, and now becoming one of the most popular seeds amongst those in the nutrition-know. So why are these little black or white seeds creating such a buzz among the health and fitness fraternity?
Chia Seeds Nutrition Profile
Whilst you might think think that we've recently discovered chia, these little seeds of goodness were actually discovered and consumed by the Aztec and Mayan civilisations many centuries ago, and eaten as part of a staple diet. More recently though, it has been discovered that they are exceedingly high in Omega 3 (essential) Fatty Acids (the sort we need for brain function and development, anti-inflammation, and a whole host of other bodily requirements). What's more, chia seeds are also a great source of antioxidants, excellent dietary fibre source, protein, vitamins E and B vitamins, plus many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron.
Chia seeds are non-allergenic, gluten free, soya free, yeast free, sugar free, dairy free... basically anyone with an allergy should be fine with Chia seeds.
How to use Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds have a completely neutral taste and so can be ground down to powder and added to numerous meals and drinks without even noticing them (including the children!).
I recommend a table spoon of ground chia seeds every day - whether that's in a smoothie, porridge, yoghurt, soup, stew, curry... practically anything with a liquid or sauce. They can also be sprinkled on stir-fries and salads. And you can add them to mixtures to bake, such as bread, biscuits and brownies, to give an extra health boost.
Another great use for chia seeds is as an egg substitute in baking. Simply grind them to powder, add water to them, wait for them to turn to a gel and voila, you have an egg white consistency for baking.
Top Benefits of Chia Seeds
Skin & Ageing
One of nature's richest anti-oxidants according to studies, chia seeds can help to speed up skin healing and repair, and prevent damage from happening.
Chia seeds can help to lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure, making it extremely handy for improving overall heart health. Plus, they are high in linoleic fatty acid which helps the body to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. In fact, chia seeds can boast a higher overall Omega 3 fat content than salmon.
Improved Digestive Health
Because Chia is so high in both soluble and insoluble fibre (providing almost 11 grams per ounce), chia can help to promote healthy bowel movement.
There are lots of recipes around using chia seeds. One of my absolute favourite breakasts - Chia Seed Pudding!
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