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Glossary: CH-CH-CH-Chia! Seeds

Sakara Glossary is your go-to place to learn the foundation of optimal health and wellness — we give you the 411 on the minerals, vitamins, and concepts that are integral to a healthier, more conscious, sexier life.


Chia Seeds (Ch-ee-ah sss-eee-dz), noun

Origin: South America 

Saliva Hispanica (the mint family)


We’re not talking about the furry family friendly chia pet pal from your childhood. We’re talking about the nutrient packed punch of a little black seed, also known as the ch-ch-ch-chia! Feel free to sing along. These little babes are amongst the healthiest foods on earth. They’re the original super duper food, proof being that the Aztecs and the Mayans used them in almost everything and revered them as a whole, sacred food. They used chia seeds for their ability to provide a sustainable energy. The name chia actually come from the Mayan word for “strength”. Bring out the big guns.

Chia seeds are considered to be a “whole grain” food, though they’re naturally gluten free. They’re grown organically more often than not, and just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds contain 11g of fiber. You know what that means… smooth bowels baby. Because of their awesome amount of fiber, these seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming a gel-like consistency when mixed through. The gel makes its way through your system and supplies you with a host of nutrients like myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, and caffein acid. All of which are known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Along with all that, chia seeds also contain 14g of protein, putting them super high on the list of earth's most concentrated sources of plant protein. They contain a balanced amount of essential amino acids to keep your body long, lean, and strong. No meat needed when chia’s are out to play.

Happy healthy brain, happy healthy life. Happy healthy gut, happy healthy life. We believe in a diet rich in healthy fats to nourish the brain and soothe digestion though a sensitive gut. Chia seeds contain 9g of these essential healthy fats, five of which are omega-3s. It’s especially important to pack in your omega 3 fatty acids, as the body and brain don’t naturally produce them. Likewise, the gel-like consistency that chia begins to form and expand in your stomach helps to feed friendly bacteria, and aid in more painless digestive and elimination processes. Not to mention, hours of lively satiation.

On top of all that goodness, chia’s contain 18% of your daily calcium needs, 30% of manganese and magnesium, 27% phosphorus, and an elaborate amount of zinc, and vitamins B3, B1, and B2 - all of which provide us with that sustained energy the Mayan’s so coveted. Though we don’t necessarily need chia’s for survival tactics like Mayan’s did, we do need them for survival tactics in modern day. The chia seed has been proven to catalyst many improvements in those with type 2 diabetes. This study shows type 2 diabetic patients that were given 37 grams of chia seeds, and others that were given 37 grams of wheat bran over the course of 12 weeks. Those that ingested chia were shown to have impressive improvement in several health factors, while those that ingested wheat bran did not. The chia’s had helped to lower blood pressure by 3-6mm/Hg, a steady drop in blood sugar after meals (which in this case, is a great thing), and the patients's inflammatory markers went down by 40%!

Chia seeds last up to two years, because the antioxidants in their little shells act as natural preservatives for the heavy concentration of fats they contain, which would typically go rancid fast (as is the case with your quickly browning avocados). Store your seeds in the fridge for a prolonged shelf life - that is, if you don’t become obsessed and go through the whole bag in one week. Chia’s are quick and easy to use for any meal - breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner. Our favorite way to use chia’s by making over-night chia seed pudding, or tossing a couple spoonfuls into a smoothie. They also make great additions sprinkled on top of salads and soups. And next time you bake a cake, brownies, or cupcakes, try using chia-gel instead of eggs. It works like a charm.

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