Chia Seeds Nutrition

Chia seeds are billed as the “Ancient Superfood of the Aztecs” and “packed with rare antioxidants. These seeds taste a lot like flaxseeds, with an initial texture that’s similar to poppy seeds. They definitely live up to their claim of being “edible.” 

Chia seeds are an unprocessed, whole-grain food that can be absorbed by the body as whole seeds (unlike flax and other hard-to-digest seeds). One tablespoon contains 70 calories, 2 grams of protein, 5.5 grams’ fat, 6 grams’ carbohydrates and 5.5 grams of fibre.

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, you’ll get:

  • Total fat 13%
  • Saturated fat 4%
  • Total carbohydrates 4%
  • Dietary Fiber 42%
  • Protein 9%
  • Calcium 18%
  • Phosphorus 27%
  • Manganese 30%
  • Magnesium 24%
  • Copper 3%
  • Potassium 1%
  • Zinc 7%

Chia is one of the most nutrient rich foods in the world! In a gram for gram comparison, chia has…

·         8x more Omega-3s than salmon

·         25% more fiber than flax seed

·         30% more antioxidants than blueberries

·         2x more potassium than bananas

·         6x more calcium than milk

Chia seeds can be eaten alone or added to smoothies, protein shakes, yogurt, cereal, salads, and so on. They have a very mild flavour that is slightly nutty but mostly neutral. When they’re hydrated or mixed with water they form a clear gel consistency. Some people are a little sceptical at first but relax, the flavour is benign, almost tasteless. Nutritionally, however, chia seeds and chia gel is rich in protein and amino acids.

Chia is also good for pregnant women who are concerned about consuming a lot of fish due to mercury intake, other safer ways to also increase healthy omega-3 fatty acids in your diet could be through moderate intake of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds. However, because plant-based omega-3 fatty acid components are somewhat different from what you would get in fish, consult your physician about getting the right balance of omega-3’s so you can maximize health outcome for yourself and your baby.

The omega-3 fatty acids get the credit, again. These fatty acids help lower blood cholesterol and prevent coronary heart disease in the process. The monounsaturated fats in chia seeds help lower the cholesterol levels. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also states that adding chia seeds to the diet can keep a check on the cholesterol levels.

Alongside lowering blood pressure, chia seeds can make for excellent dietary additions in diabetics, particularly type-2 diabetics. This is due to their effectiveness in slowing down digestion and their jelly-like nature, which can supposedly prevent blood sugar spikes, although the latter claim still lacks firm scientific proof. Even so, this is only likely to have effect in tandem with other dietary alterations.

The high calcium content of chia seeds (they contain five times more than milk) is great for the strength and overall health of your teeth and bones, and makes them an excellent source of calcium for those who can’t or don’t consume dairy. Pair this calcium content with the phosphorus, boron and manganese that are also found in chia, plus zinc, which can help reduce plaque build-up, and you’ve got a winning combo for strong teeth.

 it is important to understand if there is any downside to chia?  Researcher Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD, cautions that if you have food allergies (especially to Sesame and Mustard seeds) or are on high BP medications or blood thinners you should ask your doctor before adding Chia to your diet.