Chia Seeds: The most versatile superfood
Chia is a seed that can be obtained from the Hispanic Salvia. It is produced mainly in southern Mexico and even in Australia, which is one of the main producers in the world.
In recent years, the consumption of chia has increased considerably due to its high health benefits, although it was already part of the basic diet of the Aztec and Mayan empires before the Spanish colonization.
These two cultures -with some differences between them- knew very well the properties that chia brought with it. In fact, it was the Mayans who baptized the seed with that name, which means "strength", and their messengers always carried them as a food reserve to boost their energy in case of emergency and during their long trips.
On the other hand, the Aztecs used chia seeds as medicine, since they found their properties could promote the flow of saliva, soothe joint pain and eliminate skin irritation.
However, despite its high benefits, chia lost popularity after colonization, as the Spaniards prohibited them when they noticed its use by the Aztecs in their own rituals, forcing them to opt for other more common seeds such as corn.
Chia seeds as a superfood
A superfood is understood to be those edibles that have properties above the average, providing a greater amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that the body requires to function properly.
In this case, chia seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and omega 3 fatty acids. But that’s not all! They’re also an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), zinc, and more! The nutrients are just incredible.
These characteristics are what allow us to determine how powerful chia seeds are, since unlike others, one of their most notable benefits is that they help burn fat more quickly, and this is due to their high fiber content, which stimulates and prolongs the feeling of satiety.
Peruvian chia seeds
An attractive variety of small but powerful seeds sprouts from the soils of Peru. That's how it is. The famous chia is part of a large number of succulent ingredients that surprise Peruvians and the entire world for its magnificent benefits for the body.
This mighty seed grows in the regions of Ayacucho, Cuzco, Puno and Arequipa, and has the advantage of a stationary arrangement in force all year round. Thanks to its functional properties, chia is considered a recommended and healthy food.
Actually, one of the reasons why Peruvian chia seeds are the best on the market is because they’re grown organically (no pesticides and not adulteration), which means you’ll get the highest quality compared to other brands.
Once you taste them, you will notice the freshness, texture and a mild nutty flavor. Also, something you should know is that they promote healthy cholesterol levels, support oxygen transport to the body, and according to studies, they are wonderful for supporting brain and gut health as well!
And why is it important that we mention all this? Simple! Chia seeds are now part of the mainstream, so it is good to know what type of product you choose, right? You matter. Your health matters.
That’s why we always recommend purchasing superfoods from their country of origin and making sure they are grown organically and sustainably (not middleman).
Also, if you didn’t know, within South America, Peru is one of the largest producers of this chia and we are proud of that!
How can you eat chia seeds?
Now, this is our favorite part because the versatility of chia seeds is wonderful. There are so many ways to consume it and it's very easy to include them in any diet plan.
- Eat them whole: add them to your shakes, smoothies, juices, fruit bowls, oatmeals and yogurts.
- Eat them ground: add them to your pancake mix, baked goods, sprinkle them into salads, soups or even bowls.
- Eat them soaked: add them to your favorite milk for any kind of chia pudding and to your water for better hydration.
You can use them as toppings, substitute for eggs, flour for gluten-free recipes; you can include them in your granola bars and even jams!
If you need more ideas and some inspiration, visit our recipes section and find the amazing ideas to use your chia seeds.
Properties and benefits of chia seeds
Among the most important benefits of chia seeds, we can highlight the following:
- More calcium, magnesium and potassium than milk.
- Higher content of omega-3 acids than flaxseeds.
- More antioxidants than blueberries.
And to complete the list, they also have boron (necessary to stimulate the absorption of calcium in the bones) and other minerals such as copper, manganese and niacin.
Their fast-digesting protein content also provides the 9 essential amino acids, while their high soluble fiber content promotes the sensation of fullness -as we mentioned before-, reducing cravings between meals and improving the digestive tract, thus supporting the metabolic rate throughout the day.
Regarding their low glycemic indexes, these make chia seeds an ideal food for diabetics, since it promotes healthy levels of sugar.
The antioxidants present in these seeds support the immune system, eliminating toxins that the body absorbs daily. In fact, it is the same antioxidants that allow the seeds to stay fresh and edible for up to 4 years.
For these and many more reasons, chia seeds are versatile and easily adapted to most diets, especially if you are looking to lose body fat.
Avoid brown chia
You may not know this, but chia seeds can be found in 3 colors: black, white, and brown.
Of these three, only the black and white are the true seeds as they have the highest nutritional value, while the brown ones are much less beneficial.
A study pointed out that the difference between black and white chia seeds is minimal because their nutritional values are similar:
“The protein content in black chia seeds is 16.9% and the fiber content is 32.6%. In white chia seeds, the protein content is reported to be 16.5% and the fiber content 32.4%. There is a slight difference only in morphology: the white seeds are larger, thicker and wider compared to the black seeds”.
On the other hand, brown seeds are nothing more than immature seeds, which were not properly cultivated and therefore lack the desired benefits.
Chia seeds are mighty
It is impossible to despise this ancient superfood. Chia is undoubtedly the most versatile and friendly alternative that we can include in our daily routine.
They are easy to use, gluten free, easy to digest, tasteless, boost energy, promote healthy immune response, support the cardiovascular system, and are excellent for brain and gut health.
Just remember to always get organic and fresh chia seeds, especially if they come from Peru. That way you’ll know they’re top notch quality and pure!