hen it comes to superfoods, chia seeds are the real MVP. Though small in size, they are mighty in many other ways. Nutritionally, they really pack a punch. Chia seeds are rife with nutrients your body needs, including protein, fiber, and fat. In terms of versatility, they slay that game, too, providing endless ways to consume them, including the classic chia seed pudding , bloat-busting tropical chia popsicles , and watermelon chia cocktails with a splash of vodka . See, told you they were versatile.
Here’s some backstory on the popular seed: “Chia is a beautiful purple flowering desert plant also called Salvia hispanica,” said herbalist and holistic health coach Rachelle Robinett in an episode of Well + Good’s Plant Based YouTube series. “It is a member of the mint family, which we love because it is rich in medicine. So many plants in this family have so many wonderful benefits.”
Even though chia seeds have been elevated to elite status in the food department in recent years, they go way back—we’re talking thousands of years—and they show no signs of slowing down. The only challenge with chia seeds is finding new creative ways to use them. Luckily for you, we’ve done the leg work.
Keep reading to learn the health benefits of chia seeds and how to use chia seeds in different dishes beyond just chia seed pudding. Chia seed nutritional stats
First, the facts. According to Tamar Samuels, a nutritionist and co-founder of Culina Health , a holistic coaching and online education platform, a single ounce of chia seeds contains: 11 g of fiber
4 g protein
9 g fat (5 of which are omega-3 fatty acids)
Health benefits of chia seeds
They’re full of healthy fats
Chia seeds don’t play when it comes to healthy fats. “Chia seeds are the best-known plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids—even better than flax seeds,” Samuels says. “About 75% of the fats in chia seeds consist of the omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), while about 20% consist of omega-6 fatty acids.” They’re full of fiber
Chia seeds also excel in the fiber department. One ounce contains 11 grams of fiber. “The standard RDI [recommended dietary intake] for women is 25 grams of fiber per day, while men need 35 grams of fiber per day,” says Samuels. “So just two tablespoons could have you well on your way.” Since chia is mostly insoluble fiber, it can help lower your risk of diabetes and cholesterol. They’re high in protein
“By weight, chia seeds are about 14% protein, which is very high compared to most plants,” Samuels says. So if you don’t consume animal foods, know that chia seeds are a great protein source. They support bone health
Chia seeds are brimming with nutrients that promote bone health such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. In fact, Samuels says, chia seeds have more calcium than most dairy products—about 18% of the RDI in one ounce of chia seeds. They give you an energy boost
One of the perks of eating chia seeds is that they give you energy. “It’s not that chia is directly stimulating,” Robinett said in the Plant Based episode. “It’s that it’s so nutrient-dense that we get a ton of available energy and calories and nutrients in a very small amount.” So maybe instead of reaching for that fourth cup of coffee, go for a chia seed snack. “That efficiency can be helpful for guiding our [weight management], for when you need a quick little snack—something that can energize you but not be an entire meal.” Pin It Photo: Mathilda Khoo on Unsplash […]