Why Chia Seeds put the ‘Super’ in Superfood!
Sometimes a little helping hand is just what we need right? The media is full of new superfoods that are claiming to be the next generation of nutrition. With a new claim appearing every week it is hard to keep up with what each food is meant to do and how it has been branded a ‘superfood’. Over the next few weeks at the New You Plan Ltd. we are going to have a look at the superfoods in question, breaking down the facts to see what makes them ‘super’ and which of them we need to start adding to our shopping lists straight away. First in the series is the Chia Seed.
To begin with the pronunciation can be tricky, is it ‘chi-a’ like chive or is the ‘i’ silent? To avoid any supermarket embarrassment I had a look into this and chia is pronounced like ‘chee’a’ (now we can all sound like nutrition pro’s).
Random fact 1: The chia seed is part of the mint family.
Chia seeds are small dark brown or black seeds in an oval shape and can be consumed whole or grounded into a powder. They have become one of the key players in the superfood category over the last few years and are enjoyed by health focused people worldwide. The tiny seed may be small in size but it should not be misunderstood. It’s nutritional value out ways a lot of the big players. Containing more antioxidants than the humble blueberry and gives salmon a run for its money with a high Omega 3 count.
Now for the numbers, 1 ounce of chia seeds contain (137 calories):
11 grams of fibre
4 grams of protein
9 grams of fat (5 grams are Omega 3s)
18% of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of calcium
30% of the RDA of manganese
30% of the RDA of magnesium
27% of the RDA of phosphorus
As impressive as the nutritional value already is the simple chia seed also contains a high amount of zinc, potassium and vitamin B2. An other iconic feature is its impressive ability to absorb water in substances. This has been used to help diabetics (type 2) to control the condition as it can slow down digestion. Now that really does sound like a superfood!
The numbers speak for themselves but lets look at some a little closer. We all know how important fibre is in our diet but did you know that the chia seed is one of the best sources of fibre in the world? A whopping 11 grams of the 12 grams of carbs found in an ounce is made up of fibre. Protein is hard to come by if you are a vegetarian, vegan or if animal products don’t play a big part in your diet. By adding chia seeds to your diet it can provide an excellent new wholefood source of protein. These tiny black seeds can provide 14% of its weight in protein compared to most plants.
With all these added health benefits it makes me question why haven’t we been adding chia seeds to our diet from day 1? Price is always a factor and superfoods do tend to come at a higher price point. Unfortunately for us the simple chia seed is no exception to this. Available in larger supermarkets and health food stores my advice would be to shop around and look out for promotions and price cuts. If it will be the first time you are introducing chia into your diet you want to make sure you are getting them at the best price.
Random fact 2: Chia is the ancient Mayan word for Strength. Ironic as we all know we need a little bit of extra strength from time to time.
Now that we have understood the nutritional value chia seeds have on our health we need to think of the logical side. How can we add them to our diets? The general taste of chia seeds is quite bland but this can only work in their favour. This jam packed nutritional seed can be soaked in juice as a yoghurt substitute, added to your favourite porridge to make your breakfast ‘super’, incorporated into baking recipes (perfect mixed into flapjacks) or in a tasty smoothie. The list is really endless, some experts believe the best way to consume them is to add some to ‘everything and anything’ to reek from the benefits of their impressive content. Not only can this super seed be added to almost any meal to boost its nutritional value, it can also be used to thicken up sauces with its ability to absorb excess water and fat. Now that is magic!
Need a little inspiration?
Check out these creative recipes on how to incorporate chia seeds into your diet.
– Banana chia seed cake
– Gluten free macaroons with raspberry chia seed jam
– Sticky chia brown rice and fried egg
– Chocolate and coconut chia seed mouse
Click on the image to find out more!
This tiny seed is a revelation in nutritional benefits allowing it to proudly hold the title of superfood. Whoever said size isn’t everything definitely was a fan of the chia seed!
We want to see your CHIA SEED recipes! Take part in our #newyoucook off, and you could win a prize!
Post your photo of your Chia Seed creation in our support group or on your social media and #newyoucookoff
Each week we will give you information about a healthy food, and challenge you to cook with it that week!
This new healthy eating series is part of our commitment to helping our customers to learn more about healthy eating, we want to help you to not just get slim, but to learn about healthy eating so that you can stay slim and enjoy living life!