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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Elliott

Copy of Chia Seeds are the newest super food

Chia is one of the richest plant sources of polyunsaturated alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that’s linked to a reduction in inflammation and enhanced cognition.

Leslie Elliott Smart Nutrition Consulting

Healthy Fats: Chia is one of the richest plant sources of polyunsaturated alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that’s linked to a reduction in inflammation and enhanced cognition. ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means we need to obtain it from food sources.


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The Harvard School of Public Health reports that these soluble fibers may help lower LDL cholesterol and promote stable blood sugar.

Complete Protein: Chia seeds contain all the essential amino acids, and one tablespoon contains about three to four grams of protein.


Minerals: Just two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 18 percent of the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium, and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients are linked to healthy blood pressure and are important nutrients for DNA synthesis.


Satiety and weight management: Chia seeds are unique in their ability to absorb as much as 12 times its weight in water. Soaking the seeds transform them into a lovely, gelatinous gel, full of soluble fiber that slows digestion and increases fullness. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that these soluble fibers may help lower LDL cholesterol and promote stable blood sugar.


Top chia tips: Unlike flaxseeds (that should be eaten ground up to be nutritionally available), chia seeds are delicate and easily digested so they can be sprinkled on your food or eaten soaked.


To prepare: Using a ratio of 1/3 cup chia seeds to 2 cups of water: take a mason jar, add water, add seeds and thoroughly stir or shake for 2 minutes, and refrigerate overnight. Forgot to soak? When you’re ready to eat, just swish the chia and water in the sealed mason jar for about five minutes and let sit for another 5-10 minutes, and you’ll have a decent chia gel. Watch chia seeds expand here.


More flavor and nutrition! Soak chia in fresh coconut water, almond, soy, or coconut milk, or 100 percent (unsweetened) juice, unsweetened yogurt, oatmeal, or soup. If you like a sweeter taste, add your own honey or sugar.


More ideas adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • Use chia gel to bind veggie patties or as a thickener in soups.

  • Mix ground chia into flour to boost nutrients in baked goods like muffins, cookies and cakes.

  • Soaked and hydrated chia can add fluffiness to gluten-free menu items like waffles and pancakes, too.

  • Egg substitute: makes a great vegan substitute in egg-free baked goods. Click here for the recipe.

  • allrecipes.com also has a bunch of great ideas.

Stored in the fridge, with a tight-fitting lid, for several months.


Ground chia seeds should be placed in a container with a tight-fitting lid and may also keep a month or more. Chia gel keeps for about two weeks in the fridge.


How much chia should you eat daily?

Depends on you, your diet, and how much fiber you’re eating daily. Since chia is full of soluble fiber, be sure to add sufficient fluid as well, or else there’s a possibility of digestive upset.

Nutritional Value

One ounce, or about 2 tablespoons, has about 136 calories, 4.6 grams of protein, 8.6 grams of almost all unsaturated fat, and 11.8 grams of carbohydrate, almost all from fiber (9.6 grams.)


Please note:

Allergic possibility: If you are allergic to sesame or mustard seeds, avoid chia seeds. Because of an association with regular chia seed intake with a possible reduction in blood sugars, lower blood pressure, if you have a history of diabetes, or if you’re taking blood pressure medications or blood thinners, monitor your blood glucose and speak with your physician before beginning to include chia seeds in your diet.


Sources:

Beyond the Equator » About chia.

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