Chia seeds` name originates from the Aztec word “chian” for “oily,” standing for their high omega-3 fats content. These acids are also found in flax seeds, kiwi seeds, and fish oils.
Chia seeds are packed with fiber, which is great for digestion. When soaked in water, they create a gel-like solution which moves through the body and purifies it. Additionally, it prevents fast breakdown of carbs in the body by slowing down the activity of enzymes on the carbs.
According to Rachael Link, MS, RD:
“Each serving contains a small amount of chia seeds calories but is rich in protein, fiber, manganese, phosphorus, and calcium. Plus, chia seeds also contain other important micronutrients and antioxidants that are important to health as well.
A 28 gram- serving of chia seeds contains:
- 137 calories
- 12.3 grams carbohydrates
- 4.4 grams protein
- 8.6 grams fat
- 10.6 grams of dietary fiber
- 0.6-milligram manganese (30 percent DV)
- 265 milligrams phosphorus (27 percent DV)
- 177 milligrams calcium (18 percent DV)
- 1 milligram zinc (7 percent DV)
- 0.1 milligram copper (3 percent DV)
- 44.8 milligrams potassium (1 percent DV)
In addition to the nutrients listed above, chia seeds also contain several essential fatty acids; vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E and vitamin D; and minerals, such as iron, iodine, magnesium, niacin, and thiamine.”
Fast Facts on Chia Seeds and Their Health Benefits
- Chia seeds are gluten-free and packed with antioxidants
- They are an excellent source of dietary fiber
- Chia seeds contain 19 amino acids, including taurine
- They are high in protein, providing about 20 percent of the RDI
- Chia seeds have twice potassium content of banana
- They have three times more iron than spinach
- Chia seeds have eight times more omega-3 fats than salmon
- They have seven times more vitamin C than oranges
- They have five times more calcium than milk
- Chia seeds regulate blood glucose levels, positively affecting people with type 2 diabetes
- Omega-3s in chia seeds can lower the risk for thrombosis and arrhythmias, disorders that can lead to stroke, heart attack, and sudden cardiac death
- Fiber in chia seeds may lower the risk of inflammation-related conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity
- Their high levels of omega-3-fatty acids and alpha-linoleic acid may be beneficial for weight loss
How to Use Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are quite versatile! Raw, they can be sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal, smoothies or yogurt. You can also enjoy them cooked, added to baked goods like muffins and bread.
Interestingly, you can also use them as an egg substitute in baking. In vegan baking, mix a tablespoon of chia seeds with three tablespoons of water, and let them sit for a couple of minutes. The egg that will form can be used instead of eggs in baking.
To make a green chia smoothie, blend two cups of spinach, two cups of water, and two tablespoons of chia seeds. Then add a cup of strawberries, a cup of frozen blueberries, and one peeled orange and blend again.