All About Chia

21 Sep

Chia Seeds

Salvia hispanica, most commonly referred to as chia, is an annual flowering plant that belongs to the mint family. Chia is likely best known for its use in chia pets, where, upon watering, their sprouts grow to resemble animal hair. Having gained popularity in the 1980’s, chia pet products have since expanded to include a plethora of other “pets” such as people and, yes, even zombies.

The word “chia” is said to have been derived from chian, which translates to oily; fitting because the seeds contain at least 25% extractable oil. The chia plant is native to Guatemala and Mexico and can grow to upwards of 3 feet. The most commonly used part of the plant is its seed, which has recently gained popularity due to the seed’s richness in nutrients such as manganese, Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, and phosphorus. These black and white ovular seeds, typically no larger than .039 inches in size, may be tiny but they are nutritional powerhouses (source).

Having five times the amount of calcium and protein than milk (source), at least two times the fiber than nuts (source), more potassium than a banana (source), more than two times the iron than spinach (source), more protein than an egg (source), more than 25 times the iron, seven times the omega 3 and more than eight times the omega 6 than salmon (source), it’s no wonder chia seeds have become so popular as a food source.

1 oz of chia seeds provides the following recommended daily values (source):

  • 13% total fat
  • 3% potassium
  • 4% total carbohydrates
  • 40% dietary fiber
  • 9% protein
  • 17% calcium
  • 12% iron
  • 23% magnesium

Chia seeds are easily incorporated into your diet, whether it be via smoothies, oatmeal, salad dressings or baked into bread. When placed in liquid, chia seeds develop a gelatinous coating which makes them an excellent egg replacer and thickener, perfect for pudding. Chia seeds can also be sprouted for use in salads, sandwiches and wraps.

What is your favorite way of incorporating chia into your diet?

4 Responses to “All About Chia”

  1. Rebecca September 21, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

    I have chia for breakfast every morning. The night before, I combine ¼ cup organic chia seeds, 1 cup frozen organic blueberries and 1 cup organic almond milk (or another organic plant-based milk) in a bowl. When I wake up in the morning, I have a yummy blueberry “pudding” waiting for me.🙂 Yummy!

    • megmeister September 22, 2014 at 8:04 am #

      Ooh, that does sound yummy. I might have to try that myself. Thanks Rebecca!

  2. fruityveganbitch November 6, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    I only discovered chia seeds recently and boy do I love them, they’re just so versatile, I love to add them to my morning fruit smoothies and they are SUCH a good egg substitute in baking!

    • megmeister November 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

      That is awesome! I haven’t tried them as an egg substitute yet, but I will. =) Thank you for commenting!

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