Enjoy The Nutrition of Chia

 
 
chia

Chia, Salvia hispanica, is an annual herb with origins in Mexico and was cultivated by the Aztecs.  For centuries, chia seeds were a core component of the Aztec diet and were also used as medicine.

I have been enjoying the nutrients of chia for years and when I saw my first chia plants on permaculture farms in Guatemala and Kenya my love for this seed grew even more.  Chia plants have beautiful little purple flowers and encase their seeds in a nice pocket for relatively easy collection.  


The Nutrition of chia seeds
  • Superb source of omega-3 fatty acid (approx. 65% of the oil content and 4915 mg – 3 times more omega-3s than omega-6s)
  • High in antioxidants
  • High in dietary soluble fiber
  • High vitamins and minerals, especially calcium, iron and phosphorus
  • Gluten-free protein

The high soluble fiber in chia seeds, specifically guar gums, has a gel-like consistency that slows down the release of sugars in foods we eat helping to reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus.  Soluble fiber also improves bowel movements by increasing the volume of bulk in the colon and binds with cholesterol in the small intestines helping to release it out of the body. 

Is there a difference between white and black chia?

I often get asked this question.  

There are minimal nutritional differences between the two colors of seeds.  Depending on where the chia plant is grown is the main factor for the nutritional composition of the seed. 


Health Benefits
  • Diabetes
  • Hypoglycemia
  • High blood pressure
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Celiac disease
  • Athletic performance enhancement
  • Decrease risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Anti-carcinogenic and anti-ageing characteristics
  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, antidepressant, anti-anxiety

How to use chia seeds

It is always best to consume chia seeds soak or sprouted to optimize nutrition.  Since chia seeds can absorb up to nine times its weight in water, it is an incredible thickening agent in smoothies, puddings, and soups.  Soaked chia seeds in water or sprouted chia powder is great to use as a substitute for making healthy live food crackers, breads, and treats.

On a regular basis, I consume chia seeds by making my Simple Chia Pudding recipe (see Below).  It provides sustainable energy for a good portion of the day and assists in healthy bowel movements.


 
chia pudding
 
simple chia pudding
  • 1 cup plant-based mylk (I typically use fresh hemp or almond mylk)
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 1 T goji berries, soaked in water for 15 minutes
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 banana, chopped
  • ½ tsp or to taste

Steps

  1. Pour mylk in bowl or jar.
  2. Add chia and cinnamon, whisk or shake a few times in first minutes so chia does not clump.
  3. Add soaked goji, apple, and banana.
  4. Stir and enjoy.

 

-Breanne


 

Breanne Gibson, MSc., DHN, ROHP, RNCP

As a leading holistic nutritionist, lifestyle mentor, and permaculture designer, Breanne empowers high achieving and sustainably-driven leaders and entrepreneurs optimize their health and performance and design a resilient life they love so they can be living their full potential as they share their gifts with the world. Read her inspiring story, “From Peachland girl to military officer to a worldwide permaculture exploration” that lead her to where she is today.

 

References:

http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nuts-and-seed-products/3061/2

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27413203

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20028328

http://www.uky.edu/Ag/CDBREC/introsheets/chia.pdf

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3610

http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2011.0443

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21183832

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/11/2804.long