Chia seeds actually come from the mint family and are native to Central & South America and the word chia is an ancient word meaning ‘strength’. This seed has really grown in popularity in recent years and, due to their long list of positive properties, I’m not that surprised.
Firstly, they are very high in omega-3 (helps with cell function). They are also a good source of Vitamin B and minerals – these help with releasing the energy from food, help you build strong bones and help with your nervous system health. With a large % of fibre they are also fab for your digestive system.
So how best to consume the seeds? They don’t have a strong taste so are easy to add to lots of different foods and recipes, either raw or cooked. I think they work well in smoothies, porridge, yoghurt, cakes, bread and sprinkled over salads in particular. You can also soak them in water, (they absorb up to 12 times their own weight), and they make an interesting pudding type mixture and this can also be used in cooking as they have a binding effect, much like eggs – quite useful if you are on a vegan diet.
Research has also been undertaken using chia seeds as a suitable option for enhancing performance in athletes competing in endurance events lasting over 90 minutes. They were used to decrease sugar intake and increase omega-3 levels to increase their performance.
One tablespoon of seeds: