Welcome to the 2nd edition of This Woman’s Word Superfood Sunday. Last week, I explored the Health and Beauty benefits of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil whilst reviewing the Lucy Bee brand and today I shall be sharing with you my latest find… the tiny but mighty Chia Seeds courtesy of Naturya, and why I think they make an awesome addition to our daily diet.
Chia Seed Background
Salvia hispanica, commonly known as Chia Seeds are native to South American Countries including Mexico, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Guatemala and are grown commercially for its seed, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids since the seeds yield 25–30% extractable oil.
Naturya (the brand of seeds I have been trying out this past week) source their Chia Seeds from Argentina.
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that can grow up to 3.3ft tall. These tiny seeds are oval shaped with a diameter of about 1 mm.
Good quality chia seeds are either white or black in colour (this does not make any difference to their nutrient content) and as they have a phenomenal amount of hydrophilic properties, this helps regulate electrolyte balance and keeps the body adequately hydrated.
Interesting Fact! Chia Seeds have the ability to absorb up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked, making this a great low carb subsistute.
12 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds (in no particular order)
- Raw – 100% natural making this suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
- Gluten Free – Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be enjoyed as part of a gluten-free diet.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Chia seeds are extremely rich in polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids making it an excellent source for brain and heart health.
- Great source of Fibre – Fibre is known for reducing inflammation, regulating bowel function and lowering cholesterol. Just two tablespoons (approx 15g each) contain an impressive 10 grams of fibre which is equivalent to one third of the daily recommended intake of fibre per day.
- Blood Sugar Regulation – Chia seeds can play an vital role in regulating insulin levels. Research suggests they can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood. This is particularly great news for diabetics.
- Good Source of Protein – Boasts 20% protein. A great way for vegetarians and vegans alike to increase their protein intake.
- Loaded with Vitamin C – Is said to contain seven times more vitamin C than oranges!
- Loaded with Calcium – Is said to contain 5 times more calcium than milk.
- Fuller For Longer – Satiety is the feeling of being full and satisfied, which helps lower food cravings between meals. The combination of protein, fibre together with the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects.
- Contains Phosphorus – Great for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
- Prevention of Diverticulitis / Diverticulosis – As the insoluble fibre is unable to be digested (it does not contribute any calories, or break down) , it helps keep food moving smoothly through the digestive process. Soluble fibre, and the gel coating of the chia seed keeps the colon hydrated and ensures the easy movement of food.
- Increased endurance – Ancient Aztecs referred to Chia seeds as ‘running food’ due to its ability to enhance endurance by boosting energy levels whilst helping the body to keep hydrated.
My Thoughts on Chia Seeds
Chia Seeds get a huge thumbs up from me! For my first ever experience, I decided to try it in its natural state as a RAW snack (not mixed with anything). I had two even teaspoons and got to munching.
As I crunched my way through the seeds I remember noticing just how gritty they were but this quickly changed when I felt the seeds expand to form a gel like substance in my mouth.
I personally found this a weird but fascinating experience but would warn if you are finicky about slimy textures, consuming it this way is probably not for you.
I have also been busying myself in the kitchen over the past week, experimenting with various ways I can incorporate the seeds into my favourite dishes. As chia seeds has no flavour, I absolutely LOVE the fact that you can make it taste of whatever it is you fancy!
So far I have made chia porridge, chia chocolate desserts and puddings, jams and spreads and most recently, have incorporated them into a few smoothie experiments. The recipes that turn out well will feature in the recipes section of this blog during the course of this week (please god) so do keep posted.
Such as the versatility of the tiny Chia Seeds, the recipes you can make are endless when incorporating them and am told by fellow health concious bloggers they work really well in bread, cakes, muffins, soups, bolonese and as a substitute for egg!
I have only been incorporating Chia Seeds into my diet for just over a week but I already feel less congested, heavy and bloated after meals. Another plus for me was noticing an increase in my bowel movements daily.
This lets me know that the fibre in the Chia Seeds combined with drinking Wheatgrass and Spirulina daily are working together to cleanse my digestive system and flush my body of toxins / build up. My body definitely feels better for it.
Having done a fair amount of reading on Chia seeds together with the quick results I have personally witnessed over the past week leads me to believe we all would benefit from incorporating Chia Seeds into our daily diets.
Afterall, history suggests these tiny bundles of joy have been growing for thousands of years and once formed an integral part of the Aztec and Mayan diets. If it was good enough for the people waaay before our time to consume, it definitely is good enough for us!
For more information about Naturya Chia Seeds, their other superfood products, including stocklists and Nutritional Information, Naturya can be found by visiting the Naturya website, Naturya Facebook or simply by following them on Twitter.
Have you used Chia Seeds to cook / bake with? What is your favourite creation? I would love to know how you have your chia seeds.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post and no money has been exchanged. The products were sent for the sole purpose of a review. All views and opinions expressed are honest and entirely my own.