Nowadays, chia is becoming better known as a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fibre, and fortunately it’s an easy food to add to your diet.
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that’s native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests it was a very important food crop for the Aztecs. It’s remained in regular use in its native countries, but was largely unknown in North America until researcher Wayne Coates began studying chia as an alternative crop for farmers in northern Argentina about 29 years ago.
The little seed — which comes in either white or a dark brown and black colour — also has a huge nutritional profile. It contains calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, and is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats. As an added benefit, chia seeds can be eaten whole or milled, while flax seeds have to be ground before consumption in order to access their health benefits for example.
The seeds are tasteless so they won’t affect the flavour profile of your food, which makes them easy to integrate into your meals. They can be sprinkled whole on top of salads or toast or added milled to smoothies, and Coates says that some of his customers even add them to ice cream.
Reasons to add chia seeds to your diet:
– Help weight loss because they reduce food cravings by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper.
– Feel fuller faster because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel.
– They are also great for athletes because the “chia gel” can hydrate the body.
– Reduce your blood pressure
– They are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against inflammation—such as arthritis—and heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon!
– Because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, studies indicate they can control blood sugar. This leads scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics.
– They are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up.