Chia, Not Just For Animal Shaped Pottery

November 7, 2013

Chia seeds are another one of those food items that have received a lot of attention lately. Its somewhat strange to see something that was used as “hair” on animal shaped pottery now being one of the “hot” diet additives.

Chia seeds are actually considered to be grain. They come from the plant Salvia hispanica and are often ground and used to supply dietary fiber and fatty acids

(think Omegas). The fiber is mostly insoluble and absorbs a lot of water while the fatty acids are mostly Omega-3 fatty acids. There is actually a lo

t of protein in the chia seed. The general breakdown according to the weight of the seed is protein is at 19-23% of total seed weight, fatty acids at 30-33% and fiber estimated to be at 30%.

There are a lot

of claims that chia seeds are better sources of antioxidants than blueberries, great for weight loss, and are a great source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. Much of what the public knows about the chia seed comes from authored books espousing certain diets, recipes and healthy lifestyle changes. Healthy lifestyle changes are great, but when the claims made by authors are not backed by actual research you need to question their expertise, even if they happen to have MD after their name. Research paints a different, yet positive, picture of the chia seed.

Chia has been sho

One thing that sets chia apart is the ability of the human body to breakdown the entire seed to get at its nutrients, which we cannot do with other seeds like flax.wn to reduce appetite due to its fiber content and the feeling of fullness it provides. This appetite reduction should be cause for weight loss, but the long term research does not show that. So far there is not any evidence to consider this a viable dietary additive to improve weight loss in humans. Chia is a good source of essential amino acids so it can be used as a good protein source even though research does not say this directly, as the amounts in general are so low that to get enough dietary protein through chia use you would need to be eating a lot of chia seeds.

If you like its flavor and texture there is nothing wrong with eating it, especially if you want the extra fiber in your diet. As for a lot of the other claims there isn’t any real scientific evidence to back them up.


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