The chia seed can comfortably claim the title of the world’s oldest superfood and here, Liam Colleran examines why this seed is particularly beneficial to vegans and vegetarians.
Chia seeds were a staple for the Aztecs and Mayans and the word ‘chia’ even comes from the Mayan word meaning strength. Until recently, the food and its myriad of health benefits stayed hidden in the South American jungle. Now though, it has started to receive the attention it deserves.
Chia seeds are packed full of fibre, protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds are made up of about 40 per cent fibre, which makes it one of the densest sources on the planet. This fibre is critical in keeping you feeling fuller for longer and also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut which has wide-ranging health benefits.
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For vegans and vegetarians, in particular, chia seeds are hugely useful. They are a great source of protein compared to other plants and also contain lots of minerals necessary for bone health, such as calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Omega-3 fatty acids are massively important to the body. They have been shown to improve heart health, brain function, eye health and sleep quality. Chia seeds are such a great source of omega-3 that just one tablespoon easily covers your recommended daily intake.
Thankfully, chia seeds are very easy to incorporate into your diet. They can be added to smoothies, porridge or even a glass of water. For egg-free baking, mix one tablespoon of chia seeds into three tablespoons of water to create a quick and easy egg replacement.
Chia seeds pack a hefty punch into a very small package. Their list of benefits goes on and on and for that, chia seeds have definitely earned their place as a superfood.