You may have heard about chia seeds being a “superfood,” but dismissed the idea as one more food fad that will soon disappear. Chia seeds have been an important source of nutrition for indigenous populations for hundreds of years.
Today, chia is considered to be a valuable ancient grain that is enjoying a comeback due to its high levels of nutrition.
What’s in a Chia Seed?
It’s hard to believe that something so small could be packed with so much nutrition, but it’s true. While you may still need high-quality supplements to provide all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs daily, eating a serving of chia seeds will help you meet your goals of a healthier diet.
One tablespoon of chia seeds provides the following:
- 69 calories
- 2 grams of protein
- 5 grams of fat
- 6 grams of carbs
- 5 grams of fiber
- 2 milligrams phosphorous (about 11% of recommended daily value for an adult or DV)
- 7 milligrams calcium (8% DV)
- 8 mg potassium (1%DV)
- 5 IU vitamin A (1% DV)
- 2 mg vitamin C (1% DV)
- 1 mg vitamin E (1% DV)
In addition to being nutrient-rich, chia seeds are a good source of important omega-3 fatty acids and important antioxidants. If that’s not enough, the fiber contained in chia seeds supports gut health, and a healthy gut leads to an improved immune system.
Some studies suggest that including chia seeds in a diet may offer benefits for those who are managing high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and depression.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
Including chia seeds as part of your well-balanced diet is easy. They don’t have to be soaked or ground like some other ancient grains. Add them to baked goods, or smoothies or eat a crunchy spoonful raw right out of the bag. If your diet has been low in fiber, make sure to drink plenty of water and consume no more than the recommended 2 tablespoons of chia a day to prevent digestive upsets. Always consult with your primary care provider when adding new supplements to your diet regimen.