Chia Seeds - What Exactly Are They?

Chia Seeds - What Exactly Are They?

What are Chia Seeds?

You’ve seen them before, and probably even eaten them in some way, shape, or form. Chia seeds have been popping up in all the trendy restaurants around LA over the last few years. But what really are chia seeds? Should you be incorporating them into your diet?

History of Chia

Records show that the Mayans and Aztecs used to consume chia seeds as an energy booster. These ancient civilizations even believed that these seeds provided supernatural powers. Cool, huh? The seeds have been cultivated in Mexico and South America for thousands of years and nowadays are available worldwide. 

Chia seeds actually come from a plant that belongs to the mint family. Who knew?! The plant is native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.

Despite their small size, these black seeds are packed with health benefits.  

Chia Seeds are a great source of Omega-3s

Chia seeds have gained attention as being a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids - that’s the one found in fish that helps reduce cardiovascular disease and promote brain health. While not quite as potent as fish, chia seeds make a greatplant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids. So if you’re looking for a plant-based fish oil substitute, chia seeds may be your answer.

Chia Seeds for Weight Loss

There are those who swear by chia seeds for weight loss. Let’s break down the science here. The high fiber and protein in the chia seeds may help you feel fuller for longer. By supressing your appetite, you may feel less inclined to snack, Banana toast chiathereby leading to weight loss. But do the seeds specifically help? Well the jury is out on this one. Some research has shown that those who ate chia lost more weight compared to those in the placebo group, while other research showed no difference. 

Our takeaway message? There is no magical ingredient for weight loss. Instead, we advocate for a well-balanced clean diet and exercise. Consult a nutritionist if you have further questions.

Chia Seeds are a Great source of Fiber 

Chia seeds Looking for a quick way to increase your digestive health? Two tablespoons of chia seeds have nearly 10 grams of easily digestible fibre, about a third of your recommended daily fiber intake. Fiber is an important part of a balanced diet as it helps regulate the body’s blood sugar. 

Did you know that most Americans do not consume enough fiber in their diet? A lack of fiber can lead to cardiovascular issues, diabetes, and constipation. So, by simply increasing your dietary fiber, you can help stay healthy, and stay regular.

Chia Seeds are a great means of Protein

The protein content of chia seeds is around 15–24% so can be an excellent plant-based source of protein. This high level of protein can help you feel fuller for longer, since protein reduces the hormone that makes you feel hungry, and boosts a protein that makes you feel full. 

Chia Seeds can reduce Blood Sugar

Chia puddingDue to its high fiber content, chia seeds can actually help reduce your blood sugar levels. Through this neat little process, the high fiber slows the absoption of sugar into your blood stream, also preventing sugar spikes. No more afternoon crash! Studies have even found that chia seeds may help to lower LDL(that’s the bad cholesterol). 

Chia Seeds have more Calcium than dairy

Due to its high fiber content, chia seeds can actually help reduce your blood sugar levels. Through this neat little process, the high fiber slows the absoption of sugar into your blood stream, also preventing sugar spikes. No more afternoon crash! Studies have even found that chia seeds may help to lower LDL(that’s the bad cholesterol). 

Should I be eating Chia?

So, the real question: should you be incorporating these magical little seeds into Chia Seedsyour diet? Since chia seeds are so nutritionally dense, they are a great addition to any balanced diet. 

Where to buy Chia Seeds?

Once only available from select health food and speciality item stores, chia seeds can now be found all over the country. From Whole Foods, to Vons, to Fairway, there's no shortage of stores.

Ways to add Chia Seeds to your Diet

Chia seeds don't really have much of a taste, but rather, have a texture. While there are countless ways to consume chia, there are two major groups - solid or gel. Since chia seeds are very absorbent, when combined with liquid, they create a gel. This is one of the many reasons that chia seeds can be so filling - they expand! 

Due to these absorbent properties, chia seeds can also be used as a vegan egg substitute for baking. 

You can add chia seeds to smoothies, overnight oats, salads, marinades and more. 

Try our favourite recipe: Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding