What Are Chia Seeds?

A wooden spoon filled with chia seeds.

A Background into Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are relatively new to Europe, the United Kingdom and North America, but chia was an integral part of the ancient Aztec civilisation of South America.

Chia’s official name is ‘Salvia Hispanica’. It was one of the essential commodities in Ancient Aztec civilisation. Therefore, the chia seed is sometimes known as Chian or Chien.

What Is Chia?

Chia is a plant grown and harvested for its seeds since well being Aztec times; the sources were highly valued and one of the most traded commodities in Aztec society. It was highly prized because it is high in nutrients, could be used to make glues and other products, and provides satiety, well-being and comfort by feeling satisfied and full for long periods.

Chia seeds have continued to be used by the people of South and Central America since Aztec times. This is because being well known in the region for providing nutrients that are hard to come by from other sources. However, word of chia’s abundant nutrients has spread over the past two decades. The seeds have been catapulted into notoriety with the search for sustainable food sources in full swing.

Why Am I Reading About Chia?

In recent times, western culture has become more health conscious; this acute newly aroused awareness that ‘the quality of food consumed has a direct relationship to quality of life. This ‘awakening’ in the western world has sparked a search for foods with high nutrients.

In many cases, this search has gone full circle. The rediscovery of many ancient long, forgotten grains and food sources is uncovering crops indigenous to Latin American and Asian countries. 

Chia seeds are exactly one such food. An integral part of Aztec civilisation, the seeds are rapidly finding their way into the daily diet of many in the West. With good reason, too, chia is high in many elements that we now know are essential to a healthy balanced diet.

Chia Seeds May Be Our Saviour

The last 50 years have seen significant advances in medicine and medical research. However, most research points to the undeniable fact that poor diet and lack of exercise can be directly attributable to poor health.

Many diseases and health issues could be reduced if not avoided altogether if a healthy, nutritious, balanced diet is followed. It is important to stress that the critical word here is ‘balanced’. Extremities in any direction are not good, and a healthy balanced lifestyle needs to include regular exercise.

Chia seeds and other superfoods can help keep our bodies flush with vital nutrients and vitamins because super foods contain high concentrations of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. As a result, superfoods and chia seeds offer an efficient and effective way to maintain healthy levels of essential nutrients and vitamins in the body.

Chia seeds are easily combined into almost any meal, giving it a nutritional boost. The nutritional value of any meal can be significantly lifted by introducing super foods; chia seeds taste and are odourless, which makes them the perfect addition, especially for picky children.

Maintaining a balanced and complete diet helps prevent disease and illness and holds back the effects of old age, but it also benefits our mental well-being, enabling us to live a whole life in complete balance.

Omega Essential Oils & Chia Seeds

The benefits of consuming omega essential oils as part of a balanced and complete diet have been well documented recently. Omega 3 & 6 oils are found in abundant supplies in fish. However, for numerous reasons, most people don’t eat enough fish.

More worryingly, if scientists’ predictions are correct and commercial fishing continues at present rates, fish stocks could be exhausted within 50 years.

Whatever the reason, we should eat more fish as a nation. Chia seeds have an abundance of omega 3 & 6 oils.

Nutritional Benefits of Chia Seeds

Many benefits can be gained from eating chia seeds or products that contain chia. Aside from the direct, quantifiable nutritional benefits, there are also associated well-being benefits. These can be felt by having increased energy levels and experiencing better ‘moods’. Psychological well-being should never be trivialised.

The main quantifiable nutritional benefits the body receives from consuming chia are as follows.

Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids – as previously mentioned, Omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids cannot be produced by the body, meaning they must be consumed in one form or another. Chia seeds provide the body with easily digestible Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids. Omega 3 is a known and researched anti-inflammatory, by making sure the body has access to plenty of Omega 3 will significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis as well as regulate blood sugar levels and insulin that are produced by the by.

Antioxidants help the body rid itself of free radicals; free radicals build up in the body, and the immune system constantly fights to keep their levels down. The body uses its energy and resources to fight free radicals and keep its stories down. Still, while the immune system is occupied doing this, it is not regenerating as many cells as it could be or transporting as much oxygen around the body. Our bodies stay healthy by regenerating cells. By eating lots of antioxidants that help our bodies fight free radicals, we free up the immune system and allow it to do what it does best, protect us.

Vitamins & Minerals

Chia seeds contain many vitamins and minerals and lots of trace elements. Those elements, vitamins and minerals are;

  • Calcium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Niacin
  • Folate
  • Vitamin A

High Fibre Content

Chia seeds are incredibly high in fibre; one 28g serving will provide you with 13% of the recommended daily fibre intake. Consuming a lot of fibre aids the digestive system, helps with weight loss, and allows the heart to stop some fat salts and bile from entering the bloodstream. Fibre also helps the body absorb more water.

Leave a Reply