What's so 'super' about the latest superfood? Ayesha Muttucumaru investigates the power of chia seeds
The term ‘superfood’ gets thrown around a lot nowadays. Not a month goes by without hearing about the latest wonder-food to hit our shores, yet again promising an unparalleled wealth of health benefits, only to be outdone by the next nut/vegetable/berry craze following shortly thereafter. However on this occasion, we may have just stumbled across something pretty remarkable that not only lives up to the hype but has sent the nutritional community into a frenzy too.
Introducing the small but mighty chia seed. Originally eaten by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs for their nutritional benefits, these seeds are packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to give your innards a serious health boost.
Sounds like a familiar spiel right? So what exactly does this super-seed have that others don’t? We’ve asked Nutritional Therapist Vicki Edgson to shed some light on the topic to see whether these seeds are truly worthy of being called the next ‘superfood’.
According to Vicki, chia seeds should be considered a superfood for the following reasons:
Rich in omega 3, incorporating them into your daily diet could hold the key to younger-looking skin. Vicki points out, “Omega 3 is an anti-inflammatory which can resolve a range of different skin complaints such as eczema, extremely dry skin following pregnancy and psoriasis by hydrating the skin at a cellular level.” She adds, “Regular consumption can also result in noticeably fuller, plumper and more toned skin.”
Let’s be honest, as amazing as the benefits sound, eating seeds isn’t the most appetising of mealtime prospects (unless you’re having a bird round for dinner of course). Vicki suggests trying the following in order to discreetly incorporate chia seeds into your diet. She points out, “They don’t have any flavour so you can pretty much add them to anything.”
Don’t fret if you suffer from food intolerances as it appears that the health rewards can be reaped by all. According to Vicki, “One chia shot contains 10% of your recommended daily allowance of calcium, which makes them ideal if you are lactose-intolerant. They are gluten-free as well.”
And the benefits don’t stop there; “They are also a great way to relieve stress-related constipation and IBS. This is due to the fact that they can hold 16 times their own weight in water and fluids, therefore greatly improving and aiding digestion.”
Vicki recommends buying chia seeds from The Chia Co, an Australian, family-run company which is dedicated to sustainably growing and cultivating the original chia seed. “They are very ethically bound. No herbicides or pesticides are used and the crops are grown 15 degrees south of the equator where the conditions are consistently perfect all year round.”
Unlike some of its predecessors, the pretty comprehensive list of health, skin and nutritional benefits have convinced us that this is one food fad that is the real deal (a fact evident from the huge array of Chia Seed packaging littering the desks at GTG HQ!).
As Vicki puts it, “The chia seed is considered to be the perfectly balanced combination of protein, carbohydrate and fibre - helping to balance blood-sugar levels, decrease cardiovascular disease, and improve the health and texture of the skin and so much more. Indeed a superfood!”