Chia Seeds, also known as Salvia hispanica, is a species of a flowering plant in the mint family. Once valued so much that it was used as currency, this unique little seed has exceptional nutritive and structural benefits.
Chia, is familiar to most of us as a seed used for the novelty of the Chia Pet™. Little is known, however, of the seeds tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties. For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Aztecs.
A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:
- Fiber: 11 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s)
- Calcium: 18% of the RDA
- Magnesium: 30% of the RDA
- Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA
- They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
Chia seeds are loaded with nutrients that have important benefits for your body and brain.
- Chia seeds deliver a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories
- They are loaded with antioxidants
- High in quality protein, and most of the carbohydrates found in them are fibre
- Very high in Omega-3 fatty acids
- May help lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- High in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein, which will help strengthen bones
Chia seeds can be consumed in whole seed form, ground or sprouted. They can be added to so many meals or used in a multitude of ways:
- Breakfast cereals
- Home made energy bars
- Added to yogurt or oatmeal or create your own pudding
Since chia thickens when combined with liquid, it is a great substitute for eggs in baking (vegan option); Mix 1 tbsp of ground chia seeds with 3 tbsp water and let it sit for 5-10 min to replace 1 egg.
Banana Chia Seed Pudding
½ ripe banana
1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
3 tablespoons chia seeds
Dash of vanilla extract (optional)
100% Natural Maple Syrup, to taste (optional)
- Mash up the banana with a fork until all the lumps are gone and you're left with banana mush. (You can also blend the banana and milk together if you're less lazy).
- Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour. Overnight works best.
- Top with nuts and seeds, unsweetened coconut, and/or fruit
Contributed by Carmen Deacetis
Carmen Deacetis is a certified Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and co-owner of FitFX www.fitfx.ca.