Chia seeds are the tiny black seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant, a member of the mint family and its seeds have gained huge popularity due to their impressive array of nutrients and potential health benefits.
- They are an excellent source of energy and contain omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they provide fibre, iron, and calcium.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help raise HDL cholesterol, the ‘good’ cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke.
- The combination of fat, protein and fibre mean the seeds are digested relatively slowly, providing a long, slow release of energy to keep blood-sugar levels stable.
- If you eat them in moderation, chia seeds can significantly lower blood sugar levels due to the high amount of fibre, which slows the absorption of sugar in the blood and can decrease blood sugar levels.
Chia seeds are relatively high in protein – so are a useful source of plant protein and provide a range of amino acids, particularly for vegetarian and vegan diets.
Chia seeds are often used as a thickening agent and can even be used as a vegan substitute for eggs in pancakes, muffins and bread. To replace one egg, whisk together 1 tablespoon (7 grams) of ground chia with 3 tablespoons (45 grams) of water until fully absorbed and thickened.