Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) are native to Central and Latin America.
They have been a traditional food in Latin American countries for many decades, and their popularity is now rapidly spreading to other parts of the world.
While in the past millions of people were advised to consume a low-fat diet that was considered to be healthy, most recently we see more nutritional professionals recommending an increased intake of fats, particularly from a variety of plant-based sources.
Fat (oil) is now believed to be an essential nutrient for strong health in general, and especially so for heart-related and cardiovascular conditions. (Ref. 1)
Chia seeds have a very high content of healthy fats - from 25% to 40% in total, with 60% of it being omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and 20% omega-6 linoleic acid. (Ref. 2)
Apart from lipids, chia seeds also contain protein (15-25%), carbohydrates (26-41%) and dietary fibre (18-30%). (Ref. 2)
The USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory reports that the seeds offer a number of vitamins (vitamins A, C and E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, vitamin B12) and minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium). (Ref. 3)
Among some other bioactive compounds, chia seeds have: myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol and caffeic acid. (Ref. 2)
We consider chia seeds to be not only a great overall health food, but also an excellent energy food.
This is because: a) chia's fats offer a high amount of healthy calories - as a basic source of fuel for the body, and b) chia's vitamins and minerals keep the body well-nourished with numerous essential nutrients.
Fats and other essential nutrition can improve the general tone of the body, remove tiredness and further boost our energy levels.
Chia seeds are gluten-free - useful for those with gluten allergies.
They can be taken on their own, added to salads or other types of foods, or even sprouted for higher enzymatic content.
You can alternate chia seeds with hemp seeds for the best variety of nutrients.
Written by: Irina Bright
Original publication date: 2013
Republication date: 2020
1. William C. Stanley, Erinne R. Dabkowski, Rogerio F. Ribeiro, Jr., and Kelly A. O'Connell (March 2, 2012). Dietary Fat and Heart Failure: Moving from Lipotoxicity to Lipoprotection. Published in Circulation Research by American Heart Association. Retrieved April 21, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356700/
2. Norlaily Mohd Ali, Swee Keong Yeap, Wan Yong Ho, Boon Kee Beh, Sheau Wei Tan, and Soon Guan Tan (November 21, 2012). The Promising Future of Chia, Salvia hispanica L. Published in Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. Retrieved April 21, 2013 from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3518271/
3. USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory (2013). Nutrient data for 12006, Seeds, chia seeds, dried. Release 25. Retrieved April 21, 2013 from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3591?fg=&man=&lfacet=&count=&max=&sort=&qlookup=&offset=&format=Full&new