Chia seeds are a popular so-called “superfood” these days, but many fad foods don’t really live up to the hype. Not chia – it can totally back up the claims with a stunning level of nutrition in a tiny little package. In fact, gram for gram, chia seeds have:
- 5 x more calcium than milk
- More antioxidants than blueberries
- 3 x more iron than spinach
- 2 x more fiber than oats
Chia is native to Central America, where it was an important food source for Aztec and Mayan civilizations. The people discovered quickly that eating chia could deliver sustained energy. The name “chia” actually means “strength” in the Mayan language.
However, chia seeds may not be good for everybody, and it is possible to eat too much. Stick with us to learn the benefits, the risks, and everything you never knew about chia.
1. Chia is Packed with Nutrients
Chia seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica, which is actually related to mint. The seeds themselves have little taste, but the sprouts are slightly tangy in flavor (more on that later).
However you enjoy chia, it doesn’t take much to reap incredible nutritional benefits. Just one ounce (two tablespoons) of chia seeds contains:
- Calcium: 18% of RDI
- Manganese: 30% of RDI
- Magnesium: 30% of RDI
- Phosphorus: 27% of RDI
- Iron: 24% of RDI
- Fiber: 11 grams
- Protein: 4 grams
- Plus there is a fair amount of vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2, and zinc
Even better, chia seeds are whole-grain, non-GMO, and usually organic. They are also naturally gluten-free.