What Are Chia Seeds?
Are They as Nutritious as They Are Reported to Be?
What are the Benefits of Chia Seeds?
Does it Really Matter if You Buy Black or White Chia Seeds?
Yes, we are talking about the chia seeds used in the popular 80’s commercials for chia pets. It turns out that there is much more to these tiny seeds than growing green plumage on ridiculous ceramic heads. In fact, these seeds are a wonderful source of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The story behind chia seeds is quite interesting, the ancient Aztecs and Mayans relished the chia seed as an integral part of their diet. The seeds were utilized for an easily digested and utilized source of nutrition until the Conquistadors nearly eradicated the crops in an attempt to conquer the Aztec civilization.
It wasn’t until the 90’s that the chia crops were brought back to life when Dr. Coates, began growing the chia crops in Argentina. Now the chia seeds have made a great resurgence and supplement companies are jumping at the chance to bring these seeds to market as another “superfood” full of wonderful nutrition.
But are the all that they are cracked up to be?
Chia seeds are indeed good sources of nutrition. An analysis of chia seeds reports the following:
44% Carbohydrate, 16 percent protein, 31% fats (mostly omega-3)
1.5 grams of omega-3 per tablespoon
60 mg of calcium per tablespoon
25 mg of magnesium per tablespoon
Assortment of B-vitamins and minerals
2500 mg of fiber per tablespoon
Chia appears to be the real thing, a superfood that provides appreciable amounts of nutrition. There are other benefits to chia seeds, for instance, unlike flax seed you do not need to grind the seeds up as they break down and absorb very easily. They help to slow the absorption of carbohydrates due to their high fiber content. Research has shown benefit to cholesterol and triglycerides. Finally, chia seeds do not attract insects and therefore do not require pesticides for optimal growth.
There are two main varieties on the market, black and white chia seeds. The white chia seeds are reported to be higher in nutrition, although, this still needs to be confirmed by independent sources. For now, either black or white seeds will provide significant amounts of nutrition. Chia seeds do not need to be expensive, with more and more companies offering the chia seeds you should be able to get a pound for under $10.