All you need to know about CHIA seeds

Written by Dr. Andri Philippou RD

22 February 2021

 

 

 

Every single day we see patients with questions about the latest superfood (at 4LifeLiving we wish to draw attention to the fact that ‘superfood’ is an unregulated term more useful in the marketing world than for qualified nutrition experts who understand that there is no magic bullet or replacement for a healthful dietary pattern that relies on a variety of nutritious foods).

Chia seeds are one such ‘superfood’ that we often discuss in our sessions.

Nutrition facts

Chia seeds are rich in:

• Polyunsaturated fats (in the form of omega-3 fatty acids)

• Fibre (mainly soluble fiber and mucilage)

• Protein

• Calcium

• Phosphorous

• Zinc

In 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds you will get:

• 70 kcal

• 2g protein (complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body)

• 5,5g fibre

• 3,5g unsaturated fat (richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids)

Evidence available:

There is evidence to suggest that when chia seeds are EATEN AS PART OF A BALANCED DIET, they may contribute to a HOLISTIC PREVENTION OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRONIC DISEASES by lowering cholesterol, regulating heart rhythms, regulating blood pressure, preventing blood clots, improving weight loss, decreasing satiety and decreasing inflammation.

Chia seeds are NOT however a ‘superfood’ in isolation. In other words, you cannot eat a diet of fast food sprinkled with chia seeds and expect the chia seeds to bring about the health effects.

Interesting facts:

• Chia seeds last for 4-5 years unrefrigerated (store in cool, dry place)

• If eaten dry they should be ground for better absorption but if eaten with a liquid, the moisture breaks the surface of the seed easily, allowing for excellent absorption.

• Chia seeds absorb 10 times their weight in liquid

Favourite uses:

• Chia gel ie. ¼ cup seeds in 1 cup water; stir well and allow to set into a soft gelatin for 15-20 minutes. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week and use in soups and smoothies to boost nutritional content and create thicker consistencies.

• Chia pudding ie. ¼ cup seeds in 1 cup liquid (milk, almond milk, coconut milk) and allow to set for an hour (or more) in the fridge. Add nuts and chopped fruit and cinnamon to flavour.

• Sprinkle into cereal (hot or cold), salads, soups and stews

• Stir into salad dressings, marinades, sauces

• Mix into cake or muffin batter