I’ve been experimenting with a number of different food types in recent years, and I now find myself eating mostly vegetarian. This means I am always looking for interesting, wholesome, cost effective ingredients to add to my meals.
Welcome Chia seeds.
Today I’d like to share with you what Chia seeds are, why I choose to include this superfood into my diet, and also why they are best used in moderation.
What are Chia seeds?
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant of the same family as mint. It’s native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests it was an important crop for the Aztecs.
It’s benefits have only recently come to light, as the title “superfoods” is branded more and more across the health food scene.
Chia is extremely easy to add to your diet. The seeds are tasteless, so they won’t affect the flavour of your food.
How can you use them?
Sprinkle on top of salads or toast, or add them to smoothies and soups etc. to add nutrition and volume.
3 reasons Chia is good to add to meals
1. They’re high in Omega 3 and protein
A 28-gram serve of Chia has approximately 4.4 grams of plant-based protein.
Chia seeds are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, with nearly five grams in a 28-gram serving. Amongst other things, these fats are important for brain health.
2. Chia seed is packed full of fibre, antioxidants, and essential minerals
Chia seeds are well known for being high in nutritional content. Some of the biggest benefits are:
- Fibre – 7-grams per 28-gram serve.
- Antioxidants – Chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid.
- Minerals – Calcium, manganese, and phosphorus are all present in large quantities for a plant-based source. Magnesium, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc are also present in smaller quantities.
3. They’re filling, and can help regulate appetite and blood sugar levels
The amino acid Tryptophan, which helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood, is found in Chia seeds.
Going hand in hand with an ability to regulate your hunger cravings, Chia has the ability to stabilize blood sugar levels and fight insulin resistance which can be associated with an increase in belly fat, according to this article by Live Strong.
But wait – The fine print
The benefits of consuming Chia seed are plentiful, and there are many health advocates out there claiming so.
Are Chia seeds really a golden superfood?
Yes, I believe so, in moderate quantities.
Since starting work at my local Paleo Cafe, I have been doing research into the Paleo diet and discovered contradictory research on the health benefit of Chia consumption. Unfortunately, like most nuts and seeds, Chia contains phytic acid.
Chia seed is not healthy in large amounts due to it’s high phytic acid content.
Phytic acid is an antinutrient that binds many minerals (calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium and copper) making them unavailable for absorption.
So for all the good stuff, there must be a balance of the bad. In moderate consumption, Chia can be a good nutritional source. Just don’t go overboard!
Well, there you have it. One of the latest superfood crazes going on out there.
As I continue to explore nutrition and how it makes me feel, I will play with this wondrous seed further. To date, I have been consuming lots of them daily. Although I have seen no abnormal adverse effects, I am now more aware of the potential downside of this level of consumption.
What can you take away from this post?
The importance of a balanced, healthy, varied diet. One with many vegetables, fruits, and protein sources.
Chia seeds are a great nutritional source, and they are not the only one out there!
Variety is the spice of life. Make sure you put a little zest in your meals too 🙂
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The more people I can help, the happier I’ll be.
Yours in inspiration,
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