What are Chia Seeds?

What are Chia Seeds?

Author -  Jenna Walker

Find out about the benefits of Chia Seeds, why these tiny seeds have been dubbed a ‘Superfood’, and how to incorporate them into your everyday diet with our chia seeds recipes!

It is said that in ancient times Mayan messengers ran vast distances through Central America consuming only Chia Seeds to keep their strength up. Ancient civilisations have long known the benefits of Chia, and today the modern world is starting to rediscover the nutritional powerhouses that lie within these tiny seeds, giving credit to their Superfood status. Superfoods are “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”. This means each serve of a Superfood comes packed full of more beneficial nutrients than a serve of another similar food, so they are useful for helping you to get more nutrients into your daily diet. Just one tablespoon serve of Healtheries Black, White or Ground Chia Seeds provides:

Omega 3 fatty acids

The Heart Foundation recommends increasing your Omega 3 polyunsaturated fat intake from plant sources to 2 grams per day (1). The body is unable to make this important healthy fat, so it is essential to get this from the foods we eat. One tablespoon of Chia Seeds each day has you covered with its 2.9 grams of plant sourced Omega 3 fatty acids. Plus - Omega 3 fatty acids have also been linked to healthy brain function and learning (2, 3).

Dietary Fibre

Most of us know that fibre helps to “keep us regular”. Chia provides a good source of dietary fibre with 5.6g per tablespoon serve - 19% of the daily intake guide* for adults. The Ministry of Health recommends increasing your fibre intake by replacing nutrient-poor, energy dense, lower fibre foods with whole food sources of fibre (4). The more fibre the better, with higher intakes of 28g for females and 38g for males per day recommended to help reduce the risk of heart disease (4).

Essential Minerals

The minerals calcium and magnesium are needed to support the structure of teeth and bones - plus magnesium also plays an important role in normal nerve and muscle function. Both of these minerals can be difficult to get enough of everyday in the diet so every little bit counts towards the daily recommended dietary intake (RDI). That same tablespoon serve of Chia has 50mg of Magnesium (15% of the RDI) and 96mg of Calcium (12% of the RDI) to help top up your levels.

For only 3% of the daily intake guide* for energy (about the same kilojoules as healthy snacks like an apple or a low fat pot of yoghurt), the recommended daily serve of 1 Tablespoon of Chia offers a powerful combination of nutrients plus 6% of the daily intake guide* for protein and 2% for carbohydrates.

What’s even better is these tasty super-seeds are versatile, making it easy to include the Raw food goodness of Chia into your everyday diet. Chia seeds make a nutritious addition to breakfast cereals, salads, soups, stews, baking, bread, snacks, smoothies and can also be made into delicious power-packed chia seed puddings for breakfast or dessert.

Chia Seeds form a gel when added to water or mixes so we find they are best used in dense recipes like cereals, smoothies, meatballs and desserts, or added near the end of the recipe for the best recipe outcome. 1 Tablespoon of Chia, soaked in 3 Tablespoons of water can be used as an egg replacement to bind ingredients in recipes – just remember the texture may be a little different to what you are used to.

For Chia Seeds recipes, why not download a copy of our Chia e-Cookbook, with a range of ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and treats - including our chia seed pudding and chia seed chocolate mousse.

*% DI – Percentage Daily Intake values are based on an average adult diet of 8700kJ. Your daily intake may be higher or lower depending on your energy needs.

  1. Heart Foundation (2009). Dietary fats, dietary cholesterol and heart health. Retrieved from www.heartfoundation.org.au.
  2. Ruxton, C. H. S., Reed, C. S., Simpson, M. J. A., & Millington K. J. (2004). The health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: a review of the evidence. Journal of Human Nutrition Dietetics, 17, 449–459.
  3. Luchtman, D. W., Song, C. (2012). Cognitive enhancement by omega-3 fatty acids from child-hood to old age: Findings from animal and clinical studies. Neuropharmacology. 1-16. 
  4. The National Health and Medical Research Council & The New Zealand Ministry of Health. (2006). Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand. Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz
 
 

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