What are Chia seeds?

What are Chia seeds?

Ch-ch-ch-chia! The very name Chia may remind you of a hairy, novelty item received many years ago as a ‘quriky’ present but the real Chia in question is much more worthy of our time than our previous chia ‘pet’ friends. The word “Chia” means strength, and history has it that these tiny seeds were used as energy boosters. Not surprisingly so, as anecdotal results show that Chia has some very interesting health benefits; boosting energy, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding digestion, and lowering cholesterol to name just a few.

Chia, or Salvia hispanica, come from the mint family found in Mexico and South America and come in either white or a dark brown / black colour and can be eaten whole or milled. The milling process we use to create Linwoods milled chia seeds enable faster absorption of the nutrients into your bodies as there is less digestion required to break down the seed.

When you’re buying chia, both the white and black seeds are good choices, but avoid red seeds (immature chia seeds), or black seeds that are smaller than regular chia seeds (weed seeds).  Chia seeds are already extremely popular in the USA and are added to sweets, snacks, sauces, yogurts, dairy and even baby food, meaning you can simply add Linwoods milled chia seeds to any of the foods you eat for a nutritious boost.

The easiest way is to add it to everything or anything you eat! Chia is tasteless so it won’t affect the flavour of your food, making them very easy to integrate into your diet. Sprinkle it over your cereal or porridge in the morning or add it to a juice or smoothie shake throughout the day – you’ll enjoy the nutritional benefit that comes with chia seeds.  What are these benefits you ask?  Well, let’s take a look.

Health benefits of adding chia seeds to your diet

1. Protein power

The protein power of chia seeds have made it a popular choice with athletes, but it can also be a great source of protein for vegetarians.  Protein contributes to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass but also helps to slowly release energy throughout the day.  Add some chia seed to your porridge or granola at breakfast to enjoy the slow release of energy from this high protein seed.  One heaped dessert spoonful (15g) of Linwoods milled chia seeds provides 3.1g of protein.

2. Reduce tiredness and fatigue

Iron plays an important role in the body, helping the blood carry oxygen around the body to your cells.  This is particular important when you are training, but it is also important to ensure you are getting enough Iron into your diet on a daily basis to avoid feeling tired and fatigued as the day progresses.

3. Packed with omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are the essential fats that the body needs yet cannot produce on it own and luckily the chia plant is one of nature’s richest plant sources.  Why are Omega 3 fatty acids so important?  These fatty acids help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels and are also good for your brain, and could help fight brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

4. Great source of fibre

Dietary fibre is an important part of your diet, but for many of us in the UK, we simply aren’t getting enough.  The NHS recommend a daily fibre intake of between 18g and 30g but the UK average is only a mere 14g.  Fibre aids your digestive system and also helps to control weight management as foods high in fibre make you feel full up for longer, helping you resist the urge to snack during the day.  Our milled chia seeds provide you with 5.7g of fibre per every 15g serving; making chia seeds a great source of fibre for your body.

5. Source of calcium for strong teeth and bones

As well as being a good source of protein and fibre, a 15g serving of Linwoods milled chia seed provides you with 9% RDA of calcium.  Calcium is important for the body to help build and maintain healthy bones and teeth.  This is particularly important with children whose bodies are still developing.

The importance of having chia seeds in your diet:

With so many great benefits for your body, it’s easy to see why such a tiny seed has been dubbed a “dieter’s dream”, “the running food” and “the ultimate super food”, by advocates and athletes.  The high nutritional value and lack of taste that chia seeds possess make them an easy food to integrate into your daily meals.  This means it’s really easy to get young children enjoying the benefits of chia seed from an early age.

3 Ways to enjoy chia seeds throughout the day

  1. Add to your porridge or breakfast smoothie for added protein and fibre to kick-start your day
  2. Create a fragrant vegetable dahl to enjoy for dinner
  3. Enjoy as a sweet treat by combining with cinnamon to make some chia and cinnamon cookies

Share your favourite chia seed recipes with us

Have you started to enjoy the wonderful benefits of chia seed in your diet?  Let us know how you are getting the full nutritional value from your Linwoods milled chia seeds by sharing your favourites recipes with us below or by connecting with us on Facebook and Twitter.  You can also upload your favourite chia seed recipes on our recipe page.

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