Did you know all these interesting facts about Chia seeds?
Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) originated from Mexico and Guatemala. The word “chia” is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily.
What an appropriate name, since chia seeds are very high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega 3 fatty acids. The seeds can yield between 25–30% extractable oil.
These tiny seeds have been part of human food for about 5,500 years. Traditionally, the seeds were used by the Aztec and Mayan people in the preparation of folk medicine, food and canvases.
Health benefits of Chia Seeds
- Chia seeds are high in protein. Protein helps build and repair body tissues. It also contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle mass.
- Chia seeds are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s). By replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats (such as PUFA’s) in your diet, this will contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.
- They are also very high in omega 3 fatty acids (only ALA and not EPA or DHA). ALA (Alpha linolenic acid) contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Chia seeds are high in dietary fibre. The soluble dietary fibre in the chia seeds plays a role in glucose absorption and maintaining a healthy blood cholesterol level, while the insoluble dietary fibre helps to keep the gut healthy and contributes to regular laxation, which makes them a good natural treatment for constipation.
- Chia seeds are a source of selenium (15 g serving). Selenium is necessary for the normal functioning of the immune system. It is also necessary for normal thyroid function, the maintenance of normal nails and hair and contributes to normal spermatogenesis.
How to Include Chia Seeds in Your Diet
- A maximum daily consumption of 15g of chia seeds is recommended by the European Commission, so although chia is good for you, ‘more’ is not better and you should use it in moderation.
- These little seeds can be added into our daily foods, add them into your smoothies, your salads, onto your toast and your oats.
- These seeds can be used to make a natural fruit jam in place of pectin or added into your baked goods, granola bars, granola and homemade snacks.
Be sure to stock up on premium quality chia seeds at your nearest Montagu store.
- European Commission. (2013). COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION of 22 January 2013 authorising an extension of use of Chia (Salvia hispanica) seed as a novel food ingredient under Regulation (EC) No 258/97 of the European Parliament and of the Council (2013/50/EU). Official Journal of the European Union.
- South African Department of Health. (2010). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foodstuffs (R146). Government Gazette
- South African Department of Health. (2014). Regulations relating to the labelling and advertising of foods: Amendment (R429) (Draft document for comments). Government Gazette
- Ullah, R., Nadeem, M., Khalique, A., Imran, M., Mehmood, S., Javid, A. and Hussain, J. (2016). Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology 53(4):1750–1758.