Chia – small seeds with high nutritional value
Whether we are talking about kale, kombucha or cauliflower, the term “superfood” is one that we come across more and more often in discussions about nutritional benefits. Due to their unique properties, chia seeds fall into this category of superfoods with a nutritional profile that deserves to be taken into account.
A flowering plant of the mint family, chia is native to certain areas of Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds can be either black or white, although black seeds are more common in stores.
While chia seeds have only appeared in the last decade and are still the most popular in healthy living circles, they are actually an ancient staple food of the Aztec and Mayan cultures. In fact, they were more than a staple food for the Aztecs. They offered seeds to their goddesses during religious ceremonies. The word “chia” means “power” in Mayan, and it should come as no surprise. Loaded with minerals, protein, soluble fiber, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, these little seeds have a nutritional power far beyond their size – or their calories.
Rich in fiber
Chia seeds are mainly used in herbal vegan puddings. These tiny, barely visible seeds form a viscous gel when soaked in water or other beverages. Chia seed gel is a remarkable herbal vegan thickener for smoothies, sauces, soups and stews.
So what’s the secret to chia seeds? It’s all about fiber! Remarkably, chia seeds can absorb about ten times their weight in water! If you want to increase your fiber intake and reduce carbohydrates, chia seeds are a good choice.
Gelled chia seeds can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. But if you prefer a different consistency, dried chia seeds, whole or ground, go well with smoothies, as a topping for salads or cooked vegetables, mixed in yogurt, oatmeal or whole grain porridge.
Rich in Omega-3
Chia seeds are a good source of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid, essential omega-3 fatty acids. They are called “essential” fatty acids because the body cannot produce them and we have to get them from food.
Rich in antioxidants
Chia seeds are very rich in antioxidants, substances that can protect our body against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that form when we digest food and are exposed to tobacco smoke or radiation.