Chia seeds have been used for their health benefits for thousands of years dating back to the time of the ancient Mayans, but it is only recently that they’ve gained public interest.
Chia seeds are high in protein, omega-3, and fiber, and they are very easy to use since they can be mixed directly into yogurt, cereal, soup, or salad without any additional preparation. Raw chia seeds are hard and crunchy with an extremely mild taste that mixes well with just about any food. Many people, especially those on a diet, will make the chia into a gel by adding a liquid to the seeds; the seeds are able to absorb more than nine times its volume in liquid and they seem to absorb the flavor of whatever liquid they are mixed with.
According to the USDA, a one ounce (28 gram) serving of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein.
The seeds also have 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27% phosphorus, 30% manganese, and large amounts of B vitamins so they’re quite the superfood. The seeds are also very the richest vegetables source for the essential omega-3 fatty acid, having between three and ten times the oil concentration of most grains. Chia seeds are also packed with powerful antioxidants, one of these quercetin has been shown to significantly boost energy, endurance, and fitness in healthy men and women.
Ancient Mayan runners would use small amounts of the seeds at regular intervals while running, it was said that a handful of them could fuel them for an entire day. The reason for this is the seed’s physical properties, like a fibrous outer layer, which allow the seeds to break down at a very slow rate for sustained energy.
Many modern athletes have taken advantage of the unique attributes of chia seeds, but they can also be very beneficial to people looking to lose weight because they make foods more filling and have a very low glycemic index so the energy that they provide doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar.