Have you made your chia checklist yet? If not, you’ll want to take note of what chia seeds provide for you!
For starters, gram per gram, chia seeds contain:
- eight times more omega-3s than salmon.
- six times more calcium than milk.
- three times more iron than spinach.
- fifteen times more magnesium than broccoli.
- two times more fiber than bran flakes.
- six times more protein than kidney beans—and chia seeds offer a complete protein.
- four times more phosphorous than whole milk.
Chia also provides the body with vitamins A, B, E and D and other nutrients beyond the aforementioned calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorous. Additionally, chia provides boron, copper, molybdenum, niacin, potassium, silicon, sulphur, thiamine and zinc. You might also be interested to know that the trace minerals magnesium and boron in chia seeds help the body to absorb and utilize the calcium content in chia seeds.
What’s more is that the healthy omega-3 fats in chia seeds—including alpha linolenic acid (ALA), the only known essential omega-3 fatty acid the body can’t produce on its own—help the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D and E, while supporting cellular, cardiovascular and reproductive health, among other areas.
Chia seeds also boast antioxidant power, which protect the body against damaging free radicals. In fact, chia seeds’ high antioxidant content gives them a shelf life of over two years.
And then there’s chia seeds’ ability to provide long-lasting energy—in a pretty remarkable way. Here’s how it works: when mixed with water, chia forms a gel, which scientists also believe occurs in the stomach to slow down the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar. In so doing, the body then has a constant stream of energy instead of a spike in energy followed by an energy crash.
That same gel-forming, swelling action from chia seeds also helps to cleanse and soothe the colon, while supporting digestion and absorbing and removing toxins.
Now for a partial checklist on how you can add more chia seeds to your diet. You can:
- make your own chia gel by placing 1/3 cup chia seeds into an airtight container and then adding 2 cups of pure water and whisking briskly. Let the mixture stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then whisk again prior to placing the mixture in the refrigerator. The mixture will soon turn to a gel and will last in your refrigerator for up to three weeks. You can use this gel as a substitute for half the butter content in most recipes or add it to hot cereals or puddings. You can also use it in smoothies, yogurt and even to create a healthy jelly or jam.
- sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on your salad, yogurt or cereal.
- grind chia seeds into your favorite healthy flour and add it to your homemade baked goods.
- use it as an egg replacement by adding a tablespoon of ground chia with three tablespoons of water, per egg in recipes.
- use it as a breading for fish or chicken by mixing with gluten-free flour and seasoning.
One more thing to add to the chia checklist: make sure your chia seeds are USDA Certified Organic.