Q: What are chia seeds?
A: You’ve probably heard about chia from daytime health shows or on the web. It has been promoted as a diet aid, but there are many reasons to incorporate chia seeds into your diet. Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a species of flowering plant in the Lamiaceae family, alongside mint, basil, rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme. Chia is native to Central and Southern Mexico as well as Guatemala. They are an ancient superfood used by the Aztecs, Mayans and Incans. In Mayan language, “chia” translates to “strength” and was consumed in large proportions by messengers, because it was believed to help fuel them for running all day long.
Q: What are the health benefits of chia seeds
A: First and foremost, chia seeds have a very impressive nutritional chart. With 3 grams of protein per 60 calories, chia seeds boast one of the most impressive protein profiles of any seed or grain. They also contain incredible omega-3 content with 3,100 mg of omega-3 per serving. This makes chia seeds one of the best fish oil replacements for vegans or anyone with a fish allergy. Additionally, chia seeds provide a generous amount of calcium, iron and magnesium.
Chia seeds are extremely popular in the modern world of dieting. Containing a whopping 6 grams of fiber per 60-calorie serving, chia seeds can promote a feeling of fullness. Fiber isn’t the only contributor to this, however. Chia seeds have a natural tendency to expand. By sprinkling just one serving of chia seeds on your favorite food or smoothie, you may be able to maintain a feeling of fullness for hours!
Chia seeds also hold a special place in the hearts of runners and athletes. Aside from promoting a feeling of fullness, chia contains complex carbohydrates which digest slowly, providing sustained energy over a longer period of time than simple carbohydrates.
Q: How do I eat chia seeds?
Whole chia seeds can be sprinkled on top of any meal, or used as an ingredient in smoothies or various desserts. Some may find the taste to be a bit strong, in which case we recommend trying the milder tasting white chia seeds.
White chia flour is a popular option as well. It can be sprinkled on top of food or even used as a replacement for eggs in various recipes. Simply mix one tablespoon of ground chia with 3 tablespoons of water in place of one egg. Chia flour can also be used to thicken sauces or soups and as a breading instead of traditional bread crumbs.
Try our recipe for a filling, delicious vanilla chia pudding!
Vanilla Protein Chia Pudding
- Combine all ingredients in a blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Chill for an hour or more before enjoying.