Chia seeds have long been hailed one of the healthiest foods around. These little seeds come from a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.
There have been several studies which have proven just how good for you these simple seeds are, so let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons you should be eating chia seeds, and some great ways to use them!
1. They are a very nutrient dense food
Nutrient density is determined by looking at the amount of nutrients a food offers vs the unit of energy (normally calories).
Just 1 ounce (about 2 tablespoons) contains 9% of your recommended daily protein, 42% of your recommended daily dietary fibre and 18% of your recommended daily calcium! They are also a good source of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.
Chia seeds have practically no flavour, so adding them to a smoothie is a great way to incorporate them into breakfast.
Here’s a great smoothie ratio’s guide, so you can build your PERFECT breakfast smoothie, but if you would rather follow a smoothie recipe, here’s a powerful immune boosting smoothie, and 3 summer smoothie bowls!
2. They are one of the best sources of fibre in the world
Chia seeds contain 12g of carbohydrates per once, but of those 12g, 11g are fibre making chia seeds about 40% fibre in composition. Just one serving will provide you with 42% of you daily dietary fibre recommendation. So adding a spoonful or two to your day is going to have you well on your way to hitting those goals!
Energy balls are a great way to get in some chia seeds in a quick, portable snack. Check out these chocolate orange bliss balls for a healthy, easy snack on-the-go.
3. They make a GREAT egg replacer
When placed in liquid, chia seeds can absorb up to twelve times their weight, which is what gives them a gel like texture when soaked. That gel-like mixture then acts as a great binder, aka, egg replacer. If you grind up the chia seeds before you add the water, your gel will be totally smooth and the seeds will be undetectable in the final product.
To replace 1 egg, mix 1 tbsp chia seeds (grinding optional) with 3 tbsp water, stir and leave to soak for 20-30 minutes, then stir again. You’ll be left with a thick, gel-like mixture which is ready to use!
This method is used to make this super decadent Vegan French Toast.
4. Chia seeds will boost your energy levels
There’s a reason the Aztec’s were crazy about chia seeds. It’s believed that warriors would eat chia seeds to sustain them on long distance runs or in battle. Now, we may not be fighting battles on a daily basis in modern times… but I sure could use some extra energy most days!
This study compared the performance of male athletes when using a typical “carb loading” method before a time trial run, and then by substituting a portion of “Omega 3 chia seed loading” and performing the same test two weeks later. The result was that there was no statistical impact on the run, so the study concluded that “Omega 3 Chia loading appears a viable option for enhancing performance for endurance events lasting >90 minutes and allows athletes to decrease their dietary intake of sugar while increasing their intake of Omega 3 fatty acids but offered no performance advantages.”
Why not try some chia seeds as a pre-gym boost?
5. Chia seeds pack in the protein
One of the questions I get asked the most as a vegan is, “Where do you get your protein from?”. Well, aside from just eating a large variety of foods, chia seeds definitely help get you on the way to meeting that daily requirement.
While it’s important to get protein from multiple sources (aka, don’t rely on getting ALL your protein from chia seeds…) they are a great plant based protein source, containing lots of essential amino acids.
I hope you found this little chia fact sheet useful, and have some ideas on how you can try and incorporate some chia seeds into your diet! Let me know in the comments if you have any other chia facts!
Disclaimer: I am not a dietician or nutritionist, and none of the above should be considered dietary or medical advice. This is simply research I have put together to share with you for informational purposes only. Consult with your doctor or dietician before you make any major dietary changes.