My veggie garden has been taken over with lush chia plants! In all honesty I doubt they would yield more seeds than enough for one chia pudding, but they are beautiful plants, with the cutest little blue flowers! They are so easy to grow, just throw a few seeds down, dig them over and water them in. In a few weeks you will see the precious babies sprout up.
Chia seeds are my second favourite seed for nutritional content and benefits, after hemp hearts/seeds. The label ‘superfood’ gets thrown around a lot these days, but I do think chia is worthy of this term. It is a plant native to South America, and is part of the mint family. ‘Chia’ is apparently derived from a Mayan word meaning strength, and due to how nutrient dense this food is, it is very fitting.
There is a saturation of information available about chia on the net. This article is great, and I love that athletes and body builders are totally getting into it as a part of their diet regime. I wont harp on too much, but to summarise;
- Chia is high in protein and contains 8 of the 9 essential amino acids. Two tablespoons of chia = one egg protein wise.
- It is considerably higher in omega 3 than walnuts. Due to chia’s high antioxidant content, this assists in preventing the fats going rancid, so the seed has a long shelf life.
- Chia has been shown to assist in lowering LDL cholesterol. It can also assist in reducing insulin resistance, inflammation markers and high blood pressure. Assist means ‘as part of a holistic healthy diet and lifestyle to support you’. One food can’t work miracles.. sadly.
- It is high in mineral content; calcium, magnesium, phosphorus. 18% of the RDA of calcium is found in 28 grams of seed. This is higher than dairy products gram by gram.
- Chia is high in omega 3, which is mostly ALA (fatty acid). Most veg sources of ALA are difficult for the human body to convert into their active forms, DHA and EPA. This is usually why fish oils are touted as the best sources of omega 3, as the DHA and EPA are readily available. Chia however, has been found to increase serum levels of EPA, which is great, but no changes to DHA levels have been noted, which is probably the most important fat for the brain and cardiovascular system. If you’re vegan, or want a plant-based source of DHA & EPA, algae supplements are a great choice. Spirulina, chlorella, and sea-vegetables. Read the article I linked above for more explanation of ALA = EPA/DHA, or turn to trusty google.
- Chia is considered a whole grain food, but does not contain gluten. Its mega high in fibre, which assists in energy levels, food absorption, & bowel health. The fibre and the gel like mucilage from the seeds, help in passing stool through the bowel, and also soothing the bowel walls if they are inflamed. Such as can happen in conditions such as IBS, IBD or Coeliac disease.
Just from my brief outline, you can see chia is a beneficial food to add to your diet. Eating it several times a week or even daily, will be a great nutrient boost. There are so many recipes on google, chia pudding being my fave! I also love adding it to smoothies, and making chia-cocoa bliss balls or chia-carob bliss balls. After a time of this seed being a part of your diet, you should see an improvement to your skin, hair, nails, energy, blood pressure, & digestion.
Trial it with a little self experiment; eat it everyday for a week, increase your intake of fruit & veg with meals and as snacks, up your water intake, and note how you feel by the end of it. For extra self-serving brownie points (mmmm brownies) go crayyyyzeh and make it a month-long trial, throw in a veggie juice every day, or every few days.. How do you feel now? What does your skin look like? Notice your digestion, energy and sleep patterns.. The food we eat is a powerful medicine. Focus more on what you’re adding to your diet, rather than what you’re taking away. It is coming up to spring here, so a wake-up-vitality-boost to our diets, is definitely a seasonal boon!
Happy chia planting/eating,
Sami Lou x0