Chia seeds have been around a while now as a so-called 'superfood', and I've noticed them creeping in to a lot of different foods sold in supermarkets, but I didn't really know what they are, or why they're good for us! This is fairly standard for me, I'm usually a little behind the times when it comes to 'fads' or 'fashion', both in style and food. So here's what I found out about Chia seeds, just in case you're in the same boat as me!
Chia seeds have been used centuries, particularly in south America, where the Aztecs and Mayans are said to have used them in their diet due to their health benefits. Chia seeds originate from Guatemala and Mexico, and are grown on the Salvia Hispanica plant, which is part of the mint family. (Thanks Wikipedia!!)
Chia is known to contain twice the protein of most grains, five times the calcium of milk, high levels of omega 3 fatty acids (which we're are generally lacking significantly more than Omega 6's), soluble fibre, potassium and antioxidants. (source)
Because Chia is packed with all this goodness, it is documented that eating more Chia in your diet, around 38g for Men and 25g for women, can help to boost your complexion, support weight loss by keeping you feeling fuller, aid digestive issues by helping clear out your gut, and supports defenses against heart disease, cancer and diabetes. (source)
I get the impression from a lot of the reading I've done that Chia seeds specifically have not been scientifically proven to have these benefits, however, the goodness they contain has been proven to have the above health benefits. High fibre diets, rich in plant proteins, and packed with Omega 3's have been shown to significantly fight against many life threatening illnesses, as stated above, and Chia seeds have been shown to have significantly more of these factors than most other plant sources, making them a great choice if you want to choose a healthy option.
Aside from the physical health benefits, increasing your levels of Omega 3's in your diet has also been shown to have fantastic effects on reducing symptoms and feelings of depression and some other mental health problems. Omega 3 fatty acids are fantastic for brain health, which is essential if you are struggling with depression or some other mental health problems. (source)
Now whilst Chia seeds are not the only good source of Omega 3 fatty acids, or any of the other good factors packed in there, they are an easy way of adding them to your diet. Chia seeds don't really taste of anything, and they are easy to sprinkle over cereal, add to pancakes or other cake mixes, or whizz up in a shake or smoothie. They absorb a lot of liquid, so be mindful not to eat them by the spoonful dry, as they can get stuck in your throat and cause issues!
You can find Chia seeds in most health food shops, some posh supermarkets, or online, and a large bag will last you a while, so they're worth the investment. I found mine for £3.99 for a big bag in Homesense of all places! Just give them a google!
I will add a little recipe using Chia seeds as soon as I can, but if you're really dying to see some good ones, just look on pinterest! There are thousands!
I certainly feel a little more knowledgeable, I hope you do too! Share with us some of your Chia recipes, and we may even give it a little feature! Happy eating!