- Nirusha Pahladi ANutr
Chia Seeds, by Nirusha Pahladi ANutr.
Chia's botanical name is Salvia hispanica., it's part of the family of Lamiaceae and kingdom of Plantae and are gluten-free. Chia is primarily grown for its seeds and oil uses, which are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) [a great source of plant based omega-3 fatty acid]; It is also rich in fibre, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants. Chia seeds contain a relatively high amount of natural antioxidants such as tocopherols, carotenoids and phytosterols. The phenolic compounds in chia seeds is important in protecting against some diseases, and promoting good health. Research indicates that components of chia seeds are very therapeutic; some research showed cancer and cardio-protective effects on the improvement of the blood lipid profile, through their hypotensive, hypoglycemic, antimicrobial and immuno-stimulatory effects.
According to its nutrition profile, Chia seeds contain the highest amount of dietary fibre 34.4g/100g compared to that of quinoa (7g/100g), almonds (12.2g/100g) and flaxseed (27.3g/100g); (nutritionists recommend the consumption of around 30g of fibre per day for adults through a varied diet). Chia seeds are also characterised by high contents of polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly α-linolenic acid (ALA), which accounts for approximately 60% of all fatty acids where it has greater contents of omega-3 acids. Chia seeds are also a good source of plant protein, which accounts for 16.5g/100g.
There are many uses of Chia seeds. They can be used as whole seeds, oil, and flour. This magical seed can be incorporated into bread and baked products, soups, smoothies, protein-shakes and bars, pancakes, yoghurts, breakfast cereals and plant based meat substitutes (a homemade vegan burger for example) to maximise health benefits. So it is a Yes to a teaspoon of chia seeds (around 10 grams) in my usual breakfast cereals with yoghurt and berries, 2-4 times a week.
Quick tip: it's best to soak it before consumption to facilitate it absorption in the colon.