Chia Seeds | Superfood of the Month
Description & Health Benefits
- Chia seeds are a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family and are native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.
- Chia seeds were used by ancient Aztecs and Mayans as food, oil, and medicine.
- Chia seeds can vary in color and include black, grey, black-spotted or white colored seeds.
- Chia seeds are high in fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
- Fiber assists in keeping your digestive system running smoothly by normalizing bowel movements. Fiber may also help to maintain a healthy weight as fiber-rich foods are more filling which results in a person eating less and staying full longer. Drink plenty of water (8 glasses per day) when eating fiber rich foods to avoid digestive upset.
- Calcium is needed to maintain strong bones and teeth. It is also necessary for muscle movement and to support nerves in transporting messages between the brain and body.
- Iron is needed for growth and development and to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, which carries oxygen from the lungs to all areas of the body.
- Magnesium regulates muscle and nerve function, blood sugar, and blood pressure control.
- Omega-3’s are essential fatty acids and may reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, and support brain health. A nutrient that is “essential” is not made in the body but is necessary for human health and must be obtained in their diet.
- Chia seeds contain the antioxidants quercetin and myricetin which have a wide range of potential benefits such as protecting against heart disease and cancer.
- Chia seeds are naturally gluten-free and grain-free.
Selecting, Storing & Preparing
- Purchase in grocery stores or online.
- Chia seeds have a long shelf life due to the high amounts of beneficial oils. Store chia seeds in a glass container with a tight fitting lid in a cool, dry location for up to 1-2 years.
- Eat whole or grind with a mortar and pestle or food processor.
- Chia seeds can expand to hold 10-12 times their dry weight in liquid and are great used as a thickener in gravies, soups, or puddings (recipe to the right).
- Use as an egg replacer: 1 tbsp. ground chia mixed in 3 tbsp. warm water. Let sit 5-10 minutes, the mixture will gel and thicken. This can replace 1 egg in your baking recipes.
- Add to smoothies, yogurt, breakfast cereal, baking recipes such as breads and cookies, salads, grain dishes or soups. The possibilities are endless!
Chia Seeds Nutrition Facts
1 oz. seeds which is approximately 2 tbsp.
Calories: 138 | Protein: 4.69 g | Fat: 8.71 g | Carbohydrate: 11.94 g | Fiber: 9.8 g | Sugars: 0 g | Calcium: 179 mg | Magnesium: 95 mg | Potassium: 115 mg | Vitamin C: 0.5 mg | Folate: 0 µg | Vitamin A: 15 IU | Vitamin K: 0 µg
Chia Seed Recipes