Food Trend: Chia Seeds

I've been getting questions recently on chia seeds and thought I'd brush everyone up on this new food trend.  Chia seeds are the new flaxseed.  They can be picked up at your local grocery store (or Trader Joe's/Whole Foods!) and are in fact the seed of those Chia Pets that became popular about 15-20 years ago.  

Chia seeds nutrient profile: 1 tablespoon contains 70 calories and the following...

  • 4.5 grams of unsaturated fats - the healthy ones that push cholesterol in the right directions, most of which are the omega-3s that help to fight inflammation in the body
  • 5.5 grams of soluble fiber - an excellent source of this fiber that helps slow carbohydrate absorption for longer, more even energy, helps fight cardiovascular disease, and aids in healthy digestion
  • 2 grams protein - although not packed with protein it is a high quality complete protein, making chia seeds a good additive to the diet for vegetarians and vegans
  • Enumerable antioxidants, and some vitamins and minerals (Calcium, Iron, Thiamine, Phosphorus, etc.)

I also found it fascinating that they are capable of forming a gel-like consistency as they are very hydrophilic.  At some point I'll have to experiment with using it in recipes as a fat-replacer and emulsifier.

Happy Chia-seeding!