Chia has become very popular in recent years. You may have seen Chia growing in the famous Chia Pets, but most recently, Chia has gained popularity due to its nutritious seeds. The seeds are being called one of the latest ‘superfoods’ because they’re an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, calcium, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Known scientifically as Salvia hispanica, Chia is a member of the mint family with a rich history in Mexico. They were a staple in the Mayan and Aztec diet, used mostly as maize for basic survival. Today, Chia Seeds are sought out throughout the world for their proteins, fats, and fiber.
Chia Seeds just made the news when the defensive end for the Panthers, Thomas Keiser, admitted to eating two to three tablespoons of Chia Seeds everyday during practice in order to stay hydrated. He uses Chia because “it helps hydrate you, because it absorbs 10 times its weight in water.” His teammates think he’s weird for using Chia Seeds, but Thomas Keiser has the right idea.
Flaxseed vs. Chia Seeds
Like Chia Seeds, Flaxseed is also high in Omega-3s, fiber, and antioxidants. While flaxseed is a well-known powerful plant food, Chia Seeds may actually be the winner.
Chia Seeds, like others nuts and seeds, are low in saturated fat and cholesterol. One ounce of Chia Seeds has 5.0 grams of Omega-3s, and Flaxseed has 4.7 grams per one ounce. One ounce of the Chia Seeds has 10.7 grams of dietary fiber – almost double that of flax, which has about 5.6 grams of fiber.
While Flaxseed can deteriorate over time, Chia Seeds’ extra high antioxidant levels prevent deterioration and allow for long-term storage. Flaxseed also must be ground up in order to make its nutrients available to the body, whereas Chia Seeds can be consumed while whole.
Scientists are also finding that when in the stomach, Chia Seeds form a gel that slows down digestion and the conversion of carbs to sugar. This means you’ll feel fuller for longer, have energy for longer, and avoid a blood sugar spike.
Top 10 Benefits of Chia Seeds
- Chia Seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3s – they have more of the fatty acids than salmon!
- Chia Seeds are also high in Omega-6 fatty acids – which are necessary to build new cells
- Chia Seeds are high in phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, and copper
- Chia Seeds are full of antioxidants – more antioxidants than blueberries!
- Because they form a gel, Chia Seeds help stabilize blood sugar levels
- Chia Seeds can absorb 10-12 times their weight in water, helping to regulate bodily fluids and keep you hydrated
- Chia Seeds are high in fiber (42% DV) – a nutrient most Americans do not get enough of
- Chia Seeds are full of soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol levels
- As a plant-based source of protein, Chia Seeds provide steady energy
- By weight, Chia Seeds have more calcium than whole milk