Chia (or Salvia hispanica L.) is a seed native to South America that is wildly popular for its omega 3, protein and fiber content. Chia has more omega 3’s than salmon, 3 times more iron than spinach, and 500% more calcium than milk. Chia is high in fiber and expands to 9 times its size in your stomach so it acts as a natural appetite suppressant making it popular for weight loss and curbing food cravings. Chia is also a great supplement for heart and colon health due to its fiber content.
One ounce (28 g) of dried chia seeds contains 4 g of complete protein (9% of the daily recommended value), 9g fat (57% of which is the omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid) and 11 g dietary fiber (42% of the daily recommended value). Chia seeds contain more of the omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) than flax seed and it also contain the essential minerals phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium and sodium in amounts comparable to flax. ALA is an essential fatty acid, which cannot be produced within the body and must be acquired through diet. Studies have found evidence that α-linolenic acid is related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease along with lower rates of anxiety, depression and cortisol levels. Chia seeds also contain the antioxidants chlorogenic acid and caffeic acid as well as myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol flavonols that protect the delicate essential fatty acids from oxidation.
Chia seeds should be eaten raw and unlike flax don’t need to be ground up or refrigerated. The recommended dose is 2 tablespoons daily, preferably spaced out (perhaps once in the morning and once in the evening). It is ideal to consume Chia seed before meals for weight loss. Chia seed lacks taste, so unlike flax it can be consumed pleasantly in a glass of water. We also love adding Chia to soups, salads, oatmeal and smoothies. Chia is available at Whole Foods and online from Lifemax with their product known as “Mila Miracle Seed”.