April 2012 | Newsletter archives
The Superfood craze. Let’s talk Chia seeds.
By Samantha Grant, CN
Choking down wheatgrass juice or stuffing your face with acai berries is rarely an enjoyable experience, even if you are sure of the nutritional benefits.
But there is a new superfood taking the world by storm and it’s one you might consider feasting upon. I’m talking about chia seeds, once worshipped by the Aztecs as the food of the Gods.
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants, a good source of calcium, a good source of plant-based protein and an excellent source of the plant derived omega 3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid) ALA similar to walnuts and flax. As with any nut or seed, they are low in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol, but like all nuts and seeds they are more calorie dense, 139 calories per ounce, so it’s important to watch serving sizes and consume in moderation.
When chia seeds are combined with liquid (like water, milk, juice or yogurt), they form a gel due to the soluble fiber that they contain. This may have some benefit in terms of weight loss by helping you feel fuller longer. It may also delay the increase in blood sugar.
As with almost all foods, chia seeds are best consumed in their whole state rather than consuming them as an oil or supplement (grinding them is ok too since it retains all the components of the seed). If you want to give them a try as part of your healthy eating regimen, they work well as a yogurt or oatmeal topping, tossed into a smoothie, or used as a binder and healthy fat in baked goods (particularly vegan or gluten free baking). But as with any superfood, they work as part of an overall balanced diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein, not as a replacement for or supplement to a poor diet.