Chia seeds are one of our favorite Scott’s Protein Balls ingredients, and for good reasons. These tiny seeds pack a big nutritional punch! Eating chia seeds is one of our favorite ways to increase superfoods and plant-based sources of protein.
Let’s dive into all the reasons we love chia so much. Keep reading to learn more about:
- The history of chia seeds
- Nutrients in chia seeds
- Health benefits of chia seeds
- How to eat chia seeds
History of Chia Seeds
Let’s answer some basic questions: What are chia seeds? Where do chia seeds come from?
Chia seeds are tiny oval-shaped black or white seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant. This plant is part of the mint family, along with mint, lemon balm, sage, and others.
Chia seeds are thought to have been a part of the ancient Aztec diet. They easily grow in many parts of South America.
Nutrients in Chia Seeds
You might be wondering, what are the nutrients in chia seeds?
Chia seeds contain various nutrients. Let’s look at each category, beginning with fiber in chia seeds.
Chia seeds contain primarily soluble fiber, which absorbs water, giving these seeds their unique properties in the kitchen.
Plant-Based Source of Protein
Chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They contain 5 grams of protein per ounce of seeds. The protein in chia seeds is complete, containing all nine essential amino acids.
Chia seeds are a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that protect the body from free radical damage. Examples of antioxidants in chia seeds include quercetin, kaempferol, and rosmarinic acid.
Vitamins and Minerals
Chia seeds are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B3
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Chia seeds are a natural source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an essential omega-3 fat. The body converts some ALA into EPA and DHA, which are essential for brain health and reducing inflammation.
Chia seeds contain around 5 grams of ALA per ounce.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
The benefits of chia seeds are far-reaching and include:
- Supportive of cardiovascular health. The fiber in chia seeds may help reduce blood pressure, and the omega-3s support lipid balance. Both of which contribute to a lower risk of heart disease.
- Contain nutrients for bone health. Chia seeds are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which support bone mineralization.
- Blood sugar balance. Fiber is an important dietary component for reducing blood sugar levels.
- Weight loss. Some may use chia seeds for weight loss because the fiber supports metabolic health. It helps to control blood sugar and keep you feeling full and satiated after a meal or snack.
How to Eat Chia Seeds
Adding chia seeds to your diet is easy and delicious. Here are some ways to enjoy them:
- As an egg substitute for baking. Simply add 3 tablespoons of warm water to 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds for each egg a recipe calls for. Mix well and let sit for a few minutes to gel. Then add to your recipe.
- Chia fresca – Mexican lemonade with chia seeds. Add 1 teaspoon of chia seeds to each glass of homemade or store-bought lemonade and enjoy. Alternately, chia seeds can be mixed into any liquid.
- Smoothies. Add whole chia seeds to your favorite smoothie recipe and blend.
- Chia pudding. Combine chia seeds, non-dairy milk, and a little maple syrup (about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds per cup of milk). Stir and let sit in the fridge to thicken. Then add your favorite toppings like blueberries, almonds, and hemp seeds.
- Oatmeal or grains. Add chia seeds to oatmeal, overnight oats, or stir into cooked quinoa, rice, or other grains.
- Scott’s Protein Balls. Every flavor of Scott’s Protein Balls contains chia seeds as a primary ingredient.
Who would have guessed that such tiny seeds contain so much nutrition and healing power? We are lucky that they do! How will you add chia seeds to your day?