From goofy 70s novelty toy to health food darling, chia seeds have come a long way. Their essential fatty acids make them a good addition to a balanced diet, no doubt why they have been long-time staple in Mexico and South America. Chia was a prized crop in Aztec and Mayan culture, associated with stamina, a fact mentioned by just about every health food company marketing the seeds today.
- high in fibre, at nearly 5 grams per tablespoon
- relatively high in protein
- hydrophilic (highly water-absorbent), which helps maintain hydration
- contain essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, and Vitamins A, B, E, and D
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Like most superfoods, some of the claims made about chia seeds have been overstated or unproven. Their contribution to weight loss, for example, is not backed up by studies. While they do promote heart health, Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Centre recommends that people already on medications to lower blood pressure should consult a doctor before taking a chia supplement, as it may enhance the effects.