If you haven’t yet heard of Chia Seeds, then best you read this post. These mini seeds pack more energy than an overzealous boerbull. I would even declare them the super-est of all superfoods. Here are 6 reasons why…
Hold on, before we get to the reasons you should be eating these little seed pixels, let me share with you how I came to discover their goodness. I recently read a book called “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall which I thoroughly enjoyed partly because my running, well, sucks, and it quickly made me realise my problem was my outlook on the sport. Or rather my outlook of me combined with the sport.
The book explores how a tribe of North-American Indians called the Tarahumara, living in Mexico’s Copper Canyons, are able to run 80 to 160km per day. Yes, I said run. The even more amazing fact is that these Tarahumara run everyday for fun, because they enjoy it. The Tarahumara children – shortly after their mothers have celebrated their first step – will play a ball game up and down the mountain trails for hours, and sometimes days, without tiring (or without coming back inside begging to play playstation!)
One of the secrets of these super-atheletes is chia seeds! The Tarahumara would mix a drink called Iskiate (basically Chia Seeds, water, lemon or lime juice and honey) and this would be their even-better-than-Energade equivalent on a run. The chia seeds would give the Tarahumara the sustained energy and nutrients they needed for those long runs. “In terms of nutritional content, a tablespoon of chia is like a smoothie made from salmon, spinach, and human growth hormone” describes McDougall in his book.
So how are these seeds so superior? Oh, let me count the ways…
1. Chia Seeds have anti-ageing properties
These seeds are high in antioxidants, known to fight free radicals. Free radicals are the main contributor of premature ageing and diseases like cancer. Most health professionals will tell you that the best way to get antioxidants in your diet is through real food and very often antioxidant supplements are void of the goodness because of all the processing. So why pay for expensive brands and packaging when you can get your healthy dose of anti-ageing antioxidants in a tablespoon of chia seeds?
2. These Seeds are FULL of Fibre
For just a 25g serving of chia seeds, you get 9g of fibre. Because chia seeds have almost 40% of their total weight made up of fibre, they are one of the best food sources of it. So forget the “added fibre” cereals, or trying to stomach a sloppy psyllium husk drink into your day, just add a tablespoon of chia seeds into your smoothie or banting muesli.
3. Chia Seeds Aid Weight Loss
Because these seeds are so full of fibre, it means that their net carb value is only about 1.5g per 25g serving. This makes its a perfect low carb or banting friendly food to add to your diet. The fact that they have so much fibre and also have hydrophilic properties (meaning they attract and absorb water easily), also makes you feel fuller for longer. Much research has been done to prove that diets high in fibre aid weight loss because of slower food absorption. Obviously, with every healthy food that promises weight-loss, these seeds can only assist as part of a healthy low carb lifestyle.
4. Chia Seeds Hydrate You
Chia seeds have hydrophilic properties, which means that when you soak them they absorb and hold on to the water. Chia seeds can hold up to 12 times their weight in water. That is why the Tarahumara runners used chia seeds mixed with water for their endurance drink of choice. You get all of the nutrients from the chia seeds, plus hydration in one serving. Just be sure to enjoy them with water otherwise they will dehydrate you by soaking up your stomach juices. Not pretty!
5. They Enhance your Athletic Performance
The Tarahumara runners described earlier in this post are proof that chia seeds are the perfect food for endurance athletes. They even work well for a person like me who is not-quite-an-endurance-athlete (ok, not-an-endurance-athlete-at-all). Chia seeds have actually been used from as far back as 3500BC by the Aztecs, Mayans and Incas of South America because of the way the seeds enhanced the stamina of their people. “Chia” in the Mayan language actually means “strength”!
6. Chia Seeds are High in Nutrients
These seeds have one of the highest protein values by weight than many other plants, so if you’re a vegetarian, these babies are perfect for you. They are also very high in Omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium – all of which contribute to good bone health, beautiful hair and in reducing inflammation in the body. Chia seeds are often recommended for pregnant women because of the high nutrition values and for giving a boost of energy when you need it (pretty much the whole 9 months right?)
So now that you know about the amazing benefits of chia seeds, time to try them out. Let me know in the comments below: Have you tried chia seeds before? Do you enjoy them? How do you like to eat (or even drink) them?
If you’d like to try some chia in your daily diet, but don’t know where to start – taste our Cinnamon Chia Porridge or our Cinnamon Chia Porridge with Xylitol. It’s truly delicious and so healthy. It is even loved by kids!