One of the most popular food trends right now is using chia seeds as an ingredient. A few years ago, you could only find chia seeds at health food stores next to quinoa and spirulina. But you can now find the former niche ingredient at your local supermarket right next to the cereals, yogurts, and granolas.I’ve also seen the dark seeds sprinkled on photos of bright-colored acai fruit bowls on Instagram, blended into smoothies, topped on oatmeal and even baked into bread. Despite their tiny size, they have found their way into the hearts of people and earned the title of “superfood.”
But what exactly makes them super?
The acai/smoothie bowl trend is still going strong among the foodie hashtags on Instagram with over 1.3 million posts.
Great things come in small seeds
Chia seeds are harvested Salvia Hispanica, a flowering plant native to Mexico and Guatamela. High-quality chia seeds are naturally black or white in color and have an unbelievably long shelf life of four years.While they have only become a commercially popular health food in the last decade, the seeds were actually a staple of ancient Mayan and Aztec diets, making them one of the oldest sources of nutrition.
Here’s a rundown of this superfood’s health benefits:
- They’re loaded with antioxidants
Antioxidants slow down signs of aging, resulting in younger looking skin and healthier hair. When you whip up a smoothie with chia seeds, you’re basically making an elixir for youth. Cool.
- They have a high amount of fiber
Almost all of the carbohydrates in chia seeds are fiber. This is especially beneficial for people who are trying to lose weight as the seeds will make you stay full longer, slow down your absorption of food, and help you eat fewer calories.Fiber also helps keep your gut health in check asthe good bacteria in your intestine feed on them.
- They’re rich in calcium
Chia seeds are plant-based sources of calcium and a single provides 179mg of calcium. If you’re lactose intolerant, chia seeds provide all the calcium you need. If love dairy, you can easily pair them up with yogurt for a healthy dose of some good stuff.
- They’re a rare source of omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s have a wide range of benefits from reducing the risk of heart disease to improving sleep and fighting off depression. Over half of a chia seed’s fat is composed of omega-3, making it an excellent choice for the essential fatty acids alongside fish, flax seeds, and walnuts.
- They’re packed with protein
Chia seeds contain a good amount of protein, making them an adequate protein source for people who eat little to no animal meat.They also have a good balance of essential amino acids, which means that your body can make use of their protein content.
There’s a lot to love about chia seeds, especially if you’re someone who makes a conscious effort to eat healthier each day. Not only are they packed with numerous health benefits, but they’re also versatile enough to work with any dish.