How much nutrition can fit in a teeny tiny Chia Seed? A LOT! This modern-day superfood has ancient roots. It grows natively in South America, where the Aztecs and Mayans traditionally relied on them as an important part of their diets. Let’s look at the important nutritional qualities of the Chia seed, and how you can integrate them into your diet.
One of the prime reasons Chia seeds are so useful is they pack a lot of nutrition into very few calories. Just one serving (roughly 2 dry tablespoons) contains 137 calories, a whopping 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, and 9 grams of fat (the majority of which are the heart-healthy Omega-3 variety). It can be considered a low carbohydrate food, as 11 of the 12 grams of carbohydrates come from non-digestible fiber. A single serving also provides 18% of the RDA for Calcium, 30% of the RDA for both Manganese and Magnesium, and 27% of the FDA for Phosphorus.
Not only are they low in calories and high in fiber, but they may also help us eat less. When placed in water (in our stomach or in food), they will absorb 10-12 times their weight in water, expanding to create a fiber-rich gel substance. This can help improve satiety, as well provide a fuel source for the beneficial bacteria that reside in our gut.
If you’ve never used Chia seeds before, you may be wondering how to eat them. Here are a few ideas:
Smoothies. Toss a tablespoon into your favorite smoothie, or protein shake before blending.
Chia Pudding. Think of it as a healthy version of tapioca pudding. Simply mix 3 tablespoons of chia seeds with a cup of liquid (water or milk of your choice). Shake it up, and allow to sit overnight in the fridge. You’ll have a creamy high fiber pudding by breakfast!
As a Topping. Add them to meals like yogurt, salads, or soups to up the nutrition content.
Chia Jam. Make a healthier, high fiber jam at home. Mix a few cups of fruit with ¼ c. of chia seeds in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until thickened.
Chia seeds are easily located in all natural food stores, as well as in many traditional grocery stores. Look in the natural food aisle, bulk section, or with the dried beans, rice, and other whole grains. Enjoy!