In this modern age of 5G and Globalization, we are seeing a marked increase in the desire for a sustainable and healthy lifestyle – (I should think so too!) - from veganism to mindfulness, hybrids to the local refillery - people now; compared to more recent generations before, are becoming much more health/planet conscience. From the niche, to the mainstream, maybe one day, our disposable society might become a sustainable one, or at least, one can dream. So, in the light of this health/sustainability-conscious cultural surge, Chia seeds have joined the party, and in recent years, they have been enjoying a mini revival of their own.
What was once an ancient remedy of the Mayans and Aztecs, Chia seeds are now seen on the shelves of our supermarkets, specifically found in the 'superfood' section. Quite a story. But what exactly is so remarkable about these super seeds which warrants for their very own little renaissance?
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica, a proud member of the mint family. The seeds come in either black, white, grey or brown - (avoid the brown ones as they are most likely not yet mature) - but are commonly distinguished simply between black and white. In regard to nutritional benefits, there is no difference between the 2, raw or dried, milled or soaked.
Originating from Central and Southern America, rumour has it that ancient Aztec and Mayan culture cherished these seeds because they provide a superb source of sustainable energy. “Chia” actually translates to “strength” in the ancient Mayan language.
Salvia Hispanica needs a tropical/desert climate in which to thrive. The plant is now grown commercially all across South America, in countries such as Guatemala, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua, as well as in Mexico and even down under in Australia.
Ancient myths and growing locations aside for the moment though, what actually are the benefits of these so-called 'superfood' Chia seeds?
Are Chia Seeds Healthy?
Absolutely. They are well deserving of their 'superfood' and ‘Functional-food’ title. Chia seeds contain many health benefits for any well-balanced diet. Firstly, they are incredibly rich in fibre, along with containing important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and phosphorus. Secondly, they are also a source of protein, as well as a strong contributor of omega 3 acids and antioxidants.
Due to the abundance of fibre within their minuscule form, Chia seeds boast a low-calorie count, as fibre simply translates to carbohydrates which cannot be digested. This means Chia seeds will support the pursuit of weight loss/maintenance due to its satiety effects while balancing digestion, blood-sugar levels and lowering cholesterol.
Needless to say, Chia seeds are considered to be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They provide energy, endurance and strength, whilst balancing the gut, the blood, and the brain. To anyone still asking the unregulated question of “Are Chia Seeds a Superfood?” The answer is, Yes. They pass in flying colours as a 'functional food'. And If anything was ever to be a ‘superfood’, then Chia seeds certainly cover it!
How many Chia Seeds Should I Eat?
As recommended by L3 - https://chiabia.com/faq/ - you should look to consume 1 tablespoon (15g) a day. From this select serving you will benefit from the following:
- Calories - 70g
- Omega 3 – 2.3g
- Fibre – 5g
- Protein – 3g
What are the benefits of eating Chia Seeds?
As much as their nutritional benefits, Chia Seeds are flexible and adaptable in flavouring too, which means they can be enjoyed at all times of the day. Ideal to pour over your porridge and cereal for breakfast in the morning, Chia seeds can also be part of a healthy snack, such as a protein/energy bar, and to go even as far as a decent dessert option. A Chia pudding can be simple to make and healthy to eat.
So, with the ease of their convenience and versatility, the seeds can just about go with anything, which emphasises their extreme benefits all the more.
Due to the high amount of Omega 3 acids, Chia seeds promote healthier cardiovascular health. This is proven by lowering cholesterol and additional positive effects like supporting a better rhythm of heartbeat, reducing inflammation, and resisting blood clots. This reveals how Chia seeds can counteract fatal cardiovascular illnesses.
Furthermore, Chia seeds are not only good for the body but the brain too! The omega 3 fatty acids counteract plaque build-up and aid communication between brain cells.
What Nutritional Value do Chia Seeds Have?
A 100 gram serving (3.5 oz) of Chia seeds will contain:
- Energy – 486 kcal (2,030 kJ)
- Carbohydrate – 42.1g
- Dietary Fibre – 34.4g
- Fat – 30.7g
- Protein – 16.5g
and include the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamins – A, B1, B2, B3, B9, C and E.
- Minerals – Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
Are Chia Seeds Gluten-Free?
Chia seeds are gluten-free, which is significant because most gluten-free diets and options are lacking in fibre. A great source of energy and balanced nutrition can be found in a nagi raw organic energy bar, containing Chia seeds.
Nagi offers arguably the healthiest protein energy bar on the market and are made completely with raw and organic ingredients.
Are Chia Seeds High in Protein?
Chia seeds are made up of around 14% protein which is very high for a plant-based food and makes them a great option for vegetarians and vegans. You could go even as far as saying that Chia seeds are a perfect protein! This is because they are made up of all 9 amino acids.
Benefits of Chia Seeds Summary
Chia seeds are a great addition to your daily diet. Although small in size, they certainly pack a punch in health and energy. As a nutrient powerhouse, they undoubtedly deserve their title as a 'functional food' and 'superfood'.
Check out our range of awesome raw organic energy bars packed full of protein and superfoods!