HEALTH FADS
Are Chia Seeds All They're Hyped Up to Be?
April 27, 2013
By Sarah Schwager
Are Chia Seeds Good For You?
Chia seeds appear to be all the rage in Australia at the moment. From muesli to energy bars to individual packs, I seem to see chia seeds wherever I go.

Within the health food industry, everyone seems to be raving about chia seeds, jumping to include them in their product, and promote them to their consumers.

So just what is the lowdown on chia seeds? Are they as good as they're claimed to be?

Are Chia Seeds Good For You?

Most seeds are high in omega 6 fatty acids, which is okay if you are balancing this with the more desirable omega 3 fatty acids. However, generally our diets are skewed towards the omega 6s.

Chia seeds on the other hand, and linseed as a matter of fact, are higher in omega 3s. This means they are much better for you, and a great source of omega 3s.

So, to get straight to the point, yes, chia seeds are good for you. They are low in carbohydrates and high in fibre. They are also easy to absorb when added to water, which is great for sensitive stomachs.

However, it is very important that they are eaten in moderation. About a tablespoon a day should be plenty. The size of the portion is also important to take into account when looking at the below figures.

10 Reasons to Eat Chia Seeds

1. According to the USDA (US Department of Agriculture), chia seeds contain 17.6% beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, compared with 2.5% in Atlantic salmon.

2. Chia seeds contain 15.6% protein, including all 8 essential amino acids.

3. Chia seeds are great for digestive issues as they are very high in dietary fibre – 37.7% to be exact.

4. Chia seeds are very high in antioxidants. They are right up there with blueberries.

5. Chia seeds are a fantastic source of calcium. For every 100g of chia seeds they contain 631mg of calcium. This compares with whole milk, which contains 113mg of calcium per 100g.

6. Chia seeds are high in iron, and have been found to have more than twice as much iron as spinach.

7. Chia seeds are gluten free.

8. Chia seeds also contain vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium, niacin, folate and riboflavin, among others.

9. Chia seeds are great for balancing blood glucose levels. This makes them particularly beneficial for people with diabetes.

10. Chia seeds are excellent for promoting healthy skin, hair and nails.

* All figures obtained from USDA data, except for iron figures.

Different Ways to Eat Chia Seeds
  • Add chia seeds to cereal and porridge. You could use them in this Pumpkin Coconut Porridge recipe
  • Add chia seeds to smoothies
  • Add chia seeds to puddings and cakes. They would go really well in this Raspberry and Pistachio Yoghurt Tart
  • Add chia seeds to salads and soups
  • Include chia seeds in your bread and muffin recipes
  • Mix chia seeds with water to form a gel, which can also be used in recipes
  • You can sprinkle chia seeds on pretty much any food!
"Chia seeds are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, with 7 times the amount of omega 3s than Atlantic salmon"