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October 15, 2015

Ingredient Spotlight: Chia Seeds.

Flickr/ Larry Jacobson

Chia plants are native to South America and have grown in the region for thousands of years.

Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds on a regular basis due to their high nutritional value and ability to sustain energy. Even though these powerful little seeds have been around for thousands of years, it wasn’t until recently with the superfood awareness did chia emerge as a front-runner. As a densely nutritious superfoods, they are here to stay!

Here are some chia facts:

Nutrition Profile—3 tbsp of chia seeds:

150 calories
13g or 4% daily value of total carbohydrates
11g or 44% daily value of fiber
5g or 10% daily value of protein
Calcium 20%
Iron 15%

Digestion: Chia seeds are easy to digest in comparison to flax seeds, which need to be ground up for optional digestion and chia seeds don’t need to be ground up or processed in any way.

Weight Management/Weight Loss: Did you know chia seeds absorb ten times their weight in water? Chia seeds can help aid in weight loss as they help to reduce food cravings and make you feel fuller quicker due to their high fiber and protein content.

Omega-3: When we think of omega-3 fatty acids people think of fish. As vegans we know a safe, healthy and cruelty—free way of getting omega-3 fatty acids in our diet is through chia seeds, plus they don’t leave our breath smelling funky.

Manage Blood Sugar: Research has shown chia seeds can help control blood sugar as they slow down the rate at which our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars.

Bone Health: Chia seeds are high in important bone health nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, protein and magnesium.

If these facts don’t convince you—check out these percentages:

Chia Contains:

15x more magnesium than broccoli
6x more calcium than whole milk
30% more antioxidants than blueberries
2x more potassium than bananas

Now that you know the amazing health benefits of chia seeds, what do you do with them?

Breakfast: Sprinkle them into your favorite cereal, mix in with a fruit or veggie smoothie, add to your oatmeal or make breakfast chia pudding with plant-based milk, a few tablespoons of chia seeds and cacao powder, let the pudding thicken for a few hours.

Lunch: Thicken your soup with chia, give your salad dressing an omega kick with a tablespoon or add them to your hummus.

Dinner: Bake chia seeds into your bread, add them to any sauce and simmer with tofu or sprinkle on top of your salad. Great with a variety of vegan meals.

Chia seeds are among the most nutrient-dense and healthiest foods in the world. They are naturally gluten-free and vegan. Super versatile seeds, they can be added to many dishes and act as a natural, plant-based egg replacement. They are also very affordable and best bought in bulk, as they have a fair shelf life. Tip—keep chia seeds in the fridge for optimal freshness.

Along with a healthy, well-balanced diet, nutritionists recommend eating three to four tablespoons of chia seeds daily to maximize the health potential.

Do you consume chia seeds on a regular basis? We would love to know your thoughts on chia seeds, please leave them in the comments below!

 

 

Relephant Read:

Eat Your Chia Seeds!

 

Author: Laureen Asseo

Assistant Editor: Lindsay Carricarte / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Fickr/Larry Jacobson

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Laureen Asseo