What are chia seeds? Get to know the plant
Chia is a summer plant of the labiates family and grows annually. Its botanical name is Salvia hispanica L. The seeds of the plant, which originally comes from Mexico and is cultivated in many Latin American countries, can be eaten raw or dried or added to drinks. In the USA, Canada and Australia, they have been used for some years both whole and ground - for example as an ingredient in bread and for the production of oil. Due to their high swelling capacity (binds 25 times the amount of water), they also serve as a basis for vegan puddings or thick smoothies and can be used as an egg or fat substitute in baking.
Nutrition facts about chia seeds
Small but mighty: Chia Seeds have impressive nutritional values. Check out these top 5 nutrition facts!
1. Omega-3 fatty acids
Chia Seeds are said to have the highest Omega 3 content of all foods, with over 18g per 100g, 10 times higher than salmon. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body, but can be found in certain foods – and they play an important role in your health: Omega-3s have been shown to support the function of the brain, heart and eyes.
Chia seeds contain about twice as much protein as cereals, so even small amounts consumed can contribute to supplying the body with protein. The amino acids contained in chia seeds also contain tryptophan, which is known to influence serotonin levels and contribute to a positive mood - however, this is uncertain because there is no scientific proof. Proteins of course also contribute to an increase in muscle mass.
Chia seeds contain a significant amount of magnesium, which contributes to a normal function of the nervous system and supports muscle function. It also supports a normal protein absorption and a healthy brain.
15mg of chia seeds provide about 1mg of iron. Iron is especially important during pregnancy and for menstruating people.
5. Zinc and B-Vitamins
15g of chia seeds contain around .7mg of zinc, which is 10% of the daily recommended intake. The values for vitamin B3 are over 8mg per 100g of chia seeds. Niacin is especially important for the nervous system.
Want to integrate chia seeds to your diet but don't know how? You should give a go at Forever Beautiful, a superfood blend high in vitamin C and essential nutrients for a healthy skin and body.
Top 5 benefits of chia seeds
1. Chia Seeds are great for the skin
Chia seeds just might be your answer to glowing, youthful skin. Why? Because they’re loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that help protect your skin from free radical damage and prevent oxidative stress. Think of them as your personal bodyguard, protecting your skin from UV rays, pollution, and smoke. They also encourage cell growth and help reverse some signs of ageing.
Research shows that the high antioxidant content of chia seeds can help stop up to 70% of free radical activity! Pretty impressive for a little seed, right?
2. Chia Seeds are good for strong bones
Chia seeds contain more calcium than milk (and are more easily digested by the body)! With just 120mg per 100 grams, milk is vastly inferior to chia seeds as a source of calcium. The mineral is important for strong bones – and just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds cover nearly 20% of the daily recommended intake!
3. Chia Seeds can aid digestion
Chia seeds are 40% fibre by weight –making them one of the best sources of fibre in the world. But why do you need fibre in your diet? By binding water, the high soluble fibre of chia seeds helps promote regular bowel movements. Fibre also feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut, which is important for keeping your gut flora balanced.
4. Chia Seeds can help you stay fuller for longer
Due to their ability to absorb and bind water, chia seeds take up even more space in the stomach. Which in turn will make you feel fuller for longer without getting unwanted snack attacks.
5. Chia Seeds support muscle maintenance and muscle growth
Chia seeds contain about 17% protein, which is fairly high compared to most other plants. They also have a good balance of essential amino acids, which makes them a convenient protein source for people who follow a plant-based diet.
How to use chia seeds: recipes
The average serving size for adults is 2 tablespoons per day, which is all you need to get 3 grams of protein, 9 grams of fat, 11 grams of fibre, plus vitamins and minerals. The great thing is: Chia Seeds are incredibly versatile to use in the kitchen! However since a large part of the nutrients contained would be destroyed during cooking, you should eat chia seeds in a raw form. Due to the fact that they bind water, we recommend drinking enough to maintain a healthy hydration level. When chia seeds are soaked in water, they form a kind of jelly that can be incorporated into various, esp. vegan dishes also as an egg substitute!
You can find chia seeds in our Forever Beautiful mix, a superfood blend that combines chia seeds benefits with skin-nourishing beauty berries. Use daily for a true vitamin C and antioxidant-boost!
Enjoy this mix sprinkled in yogurt, smoothies, and overnight oats. Or, mix them in your favourite jam, bliss balls, or pudding. Want to start cooking right away?
Here are two quick and easy chia seed recipes for you to try: