March 23rd is National Chia Day.
This day recognises the tiny, yet powerful chia seed that has earned its reputation as being one of the MOST nutrient-rich foods on the planet!
Chia seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica L., and were at one time a major food crop in Mexico and Guatemala. Cultivated as a food source as early as 3500 BC, it was offered to Aztec gods in religious ceremonies.
Nowadays, chia seeds are used as a functional ingredient, added to less nutritious items like baked pastries and snacks, to improve their appeal to health-conscious consumers. Health claims about chia seeds include reducing appetite and weight, lowering triglycerides, and improving blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes.
Chia seeds are rich in:
- Polyunsaturated fat, as omega-3 fatty acids
Two tablespoons of chia seeds (28 grams) contain about 140 calories, 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fibre, 7 grams of unsaturated fat, 18% RDA for calcium, and trace minerals including zinc and copper. They are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body. You can see why they have quickly become a health food staple.
People sometimes wonder if chia seeds should be eaten ground instead of whole. The surface of chia seeds is very delicate and easily breaks apart when exposed to moisture, so they are typically prepared with liquid foods. In this way, they are absorbed and digested well in their whole form, unlike flax seeds. If eating the seeds dry, choosing ground chia seeds may help to improve absorption. They are very versatile and chia seeds last for 4-5 years without refrigeration, stored in a cool, dry spot.
Try out our delicious Chia Seed and Vanilla Bean Pudding recipe. Quick, easy to make, tasty and healthy. Share below what you think when you try it.