Chia Seeds, Super Food

7 Things to Know About Chia Seeds

By Carly Hagemann, Recruitment Coordinator

Once a month in our office we have a Lunch and Learn session where Alicia and I present various nutrition-related topics to the rest of the staff. Alicia is not only our CEO and Founder, but also a Registered Dietitian with a wealth of knowledge in nutrition. It is also a fun way for me to put my Bachelor’s degree in nutrition to good use! During this past month of August, our chosen topic was chia seeds. What are chia seeds? Why are chia seeds called a “superfood”? Could I have eaten the chia pet I grew in 1990? These were all questions to which our staff was dying to know the answers. Below I have complied the 7 take-away points from our session that help answer these questions.

  • What are chia seeds and where did they come from? Chia seeds are tiny, nutrient-packed seeds. They were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans. They praised them for their ability to provide sustainable energy. The word “chia” translates to the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
  • What is a “superfood”? A superfood is defined as a nutrient dense food beneficial for health and well-being. Chia seeds are considered a superfood because they contain all three major nutrients: fat, carbohydrate and protein. Some other nutrient-rich foods considered superfoods are: kale, salmon, blueberries, spinach, chocolate, and green tea.
  • Why are chia seeds beneficial? A 1-ounce serving of chia seeds contains:

11 grams of fiber

4 grams of protein

9 grams of fat

18% of the RDA for calcium

30% of the RDA for manganese

30% of the RDA for magnesium

27% of the RDA for phosphorus

They also contain Zinc, Niacin, Potassium, Thiamine, and Vitamin B2.

  • What else can chia seeds do? Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.
  • How do I eat them? Unlike flaxseeds, chia seeds can be processed in the body raw as seeds, without being ground. Chia seeds can be prepared by being soaked in water to create a gel-like substance, added to puddings, or added to baked goods. You can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, salads, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes.
  • Are there any risks associated with chia seeds? Yes, use caution if you have an allergy to mustard or sesame seeds. Also, use sparingly if you are currently on blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin.
  • Can I eat my Chia Pet? Yes! The chia seeds you buy in the store are the same that sprout from your chia pet. Carefully follow the instructions on your chia planter to ensure correct sprouting. Bring back the trend and get your own pet here.

 

Sources: NHS, SF Gate, Authority Nutrition, bon appetit, Health, Health With Food

 

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