Unless you camp out in the aisles of an organic supermarket or are married to a nutritionist, chances are you've never heard of chia seeds - or, if you have, you haven't got a clue why everyone is so excited about them.
But while chia may have only struck the nutritional zeitgeist in recent months, the 'superseed' has been around for thousands of years.
And, given its rich nutritional value, we're surprised it hasn't been on the western world's health radar before.
Not only is it a great source of omega-3 fats, fibre and vegan-friendly protein, but it's easy to incorporate into your diet - chia seeds don't taste of anything and so they won't impair flavour.
According to Joyous Health, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence proclaiming chia's positive health effects, including boosting energy, aiding digestion, stabilising blood sugar, and lowering cholesterol.
We caught up with nutritionist Jenna Zoe - founder of foodstolove.co.uk, author of Super Healthy Snacks & Treats and ambassador for The Chia Co - to find out exactly why we should be incorporating chia into our diet.
For those hard-to-find omega3s...
Omega -3 fatty acids are essential fats. Our bodies are unable to produce them and so we must get them through our food.
Chia seeds are loaded with Omega-3 ALA which is known to be essential for a healthy heart by lowering cholesterol while maintaining proper artery function.
Omega-3 is also crucial for proper brain and nerve function, and cellular hydration which helps nourish skin from the inside. Adding one tablespoon of chia seeds to what you normally have for breakfast provides you with 100% of your plant-based Omega-3.
Chia seeds are composed of 20% vegan protein, which keeps your energy levels consistent and promotes the formation of lean muscle.
Eating a protein-rich breakfast sets our metabolism up for the day, and it’s true. But grilled chicken and nuts in the morning isn't always that appealing!
Adding chia seeds for breakfast is a great way to get the protein (and healthy fats) in your body.
The ancient Tarahumara tribe in central America were famous for covering long distances daily, and they would commonly fuel those runs solely with chia seeds.
The rich fibre content in chia slows the conversion of carbohydrate to sugar and provides a slow release of energy, stabilising blood sugars to avoid the usual highs and lows. Many athletes eat chia to increase their energy levels, aid joint mobility and contribute to muscle repair.
Whether you are active or not, these tiny little titans of super nutrition are a guaranteed way to put a pep in your step.
For that 'fuller longer' feeling...
Chia seeds are hydrophilic, meaning they can swell up to 16 times their size in water creating a thick gel in your digestive system. Consuming chia seeds, especially when soaked will keep you feeling full and keep those sugar cravings at bay.
For some help chilling out...
In today's high-stress world, our bodies burn through magnesium at a very high rate because it's responsible for relaxing us. Because of this, most of us have chronically low reserves in this wonder mineral (particularly if you work out a lot, sleep too little, or consume caffeine regularly).
Adding chia into your diet will help boost your levels of magnesium which in turn helps your body cope better with tress.
They fit into every kind of lifestyle choice...
Whether you are gluten-free, dairy-free, raw, vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, or foodie, chia seeds fit into every preference! You don’t have to change what you eat to boost your daily nutrition. Chia seeds have no taste so won’t affect the flavour of what you add them to.
Antioxidants are crucial because they safely carry free radicals out of the body - and free radicals are what kick off diseases and illnesses. Chia seeds are incredible because they boast one of the highest known antioxidant levels of any edible foods, double that of blueberries.Suggest a correction