9 Things You Didn’t Know About Chia Seeds

Chia Seed Facts - An Apple a Day - Alyse Co-cliff

Chia seeds have been around for awhile now, so we all know they’re high in fibre, high in protein… blah blah blah. But did you know that we almost lost the mighty Chia Seed for good? Or the Omega 3 content isn’t quite what they have led us to believe? Didn’t think so; and there’s a whole lot more where that came from.

Rich in ALA Omega 3’s (but not the active form)
Chia seeds’ are a rich source of the omega 3 ALA (we get it), but what they don’t tell us is that ALA needs to converted into the “active” forms of EPA and DHA, before it can be used by the body. Unfortunately, we as human beings, aren’t too crash hot at this task. If you’re a meat eater, it’s best to get your omega 3’s from other sources, but if you’re a vegetarian, chia seeds are a good place to start. The active forms EPA and DHA are anti-inflammatory in nature and have also recommended to help prevent dementia

Chia was a HUGE hit in the 90’s
Remember the chia pets? Or the make at home version using some seeds, an old stocking or eggshell and some water? They were grown from chia seeds (and were probably a lot less expensive per kg back then). 

They last ages
Apparently, Chia seeds can be stored in a cool, dry place from anywhere between 4-5 years. I haven’t tested this theory or found much evidence to back my claims, so please refer to the best before dates on your product packaging 🙂 

Western Australia was the world’s largest producer of Chia Seeds in 1998.
Stop it. This was listed in an ABC article that has since been removed. Still true? Let’s hope so! 

Water Weight
The chia seed can absorb up to 12 times it’s weight in water. Woah. 

Improves Endurance
Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. Known as the “Indian Running Food”, chia seeds were used by runners and warriors for sustenance during battle and/or travel. 

We almost lost Chia
When the Spanish invaded Mexico, they banned the the use of chia, citing its ties to the Aztec religion. As a result, it was almost wiped off the continent for approximately 500 years. In the 1990’s, Dr. Wayne Coates and a team of scientists, nutritionists, and agriculturalists began collaborating on the commercial production of chia in Argentina, in hopes of rediscovering the lost nutritional plants of the Aztec tradition. As a result, it’s here today! 

Perfect substitute for eggs in baking
To substitute for an egg: Use 1 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds (grind them dry in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder) and 3 tablespoons of water per egg in a baked recipe. You can find more egg substitutes here

May help Type 2 Diabetics manage blood sugar
Studies suggest Chia may help those with type 2 diabetes better manage their blood sugars. A white-seeded variant of chia, called Salba, helped diabetic volunteers control their blood sugar, as well as their blood pressure. You can view this study here. (OK, maybe you knew that one).

If you’re looking to get a little more chia into your life, you can find some delicious chia recipes here:


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Meet Alyse

I’m a qualified Nutritionist who believes an evidence-based approach to modern nutrition is severely under-rated. Patients are so often left in the dark when it comes to health-care and as a firm believer in the old saying “knowledge is power”, my ultimate goal is to provide my readers, students and patients with clear and actionable advice that ultimately helps you reach your full potential.