What are chia seeds and why are they so popular in healthy foods?
You may remember them as the luscious green “hair” of those wacky “Chia Pets” from the early 80’s, but chia seeds are much more than just a pop culture sensation. These tiny seeds have a long history of human use, and it’s no wonder, as they are jam packed with proteins, vitamins and nutritional benefits.
Chia seeds are produced by Salvia hispannica l., a plant in the mint family indigenous to Latin America. Chia has been cultivated in places like Guatemala and Mexico for thousands of years, and to this day the seeds are a staple in traditional markets. The U.S. and Europe have just started to catch on to this traditional knowledge, but better late than never! Science has helped us more fully understand the many health benefits of the chia seed.
Why Betsy’s Best Uses Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a nutrient and protein-packed powerhouse, making them a healthy addition to almost any recipe. Chia seeds are flavorless, but add a nice light texture to whatever they are in. Chia seeds also give our products an amazing crunch. This combination is why we love adding them to our Betsy’s Best Gourmet Nut and Seed Butters. But what exactly are the health benefits of chia seeds?
Chia Seeds are a Complete Protein
Chia seeds are a complete protein, meaning they contain all 9 essential amino acids that can’t be produced by the body. They are also the richest plant-based form of omega 3 fatty acids, which makes them especially important for our vegan and vegetarian friends. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have a positive impact on cardiovascular health. So they’re a heart healthy food that everyone can benefit from!
Chia Seeds are a Fully Functional Food
Functional foods are those whose value goes above and beyond simple nutrition. Foods like the chia seed actually help the body to function optimally. For example, chia seeds have been shown to improve gut health and lower metabolism. Their fibrous outer shells scrub the intestines, increasing its ability to absorb nutrients . Other potential health benefits include aiding in weight loss by decreasing appetite, lowering triglycerides and stabilizing blood sugar levels.
High in Fiber and Rich, Crunchy Texture
One of the most unique properties of chia seeds is their ability to absorb up to 12 times their weight in water. This is due to their high fiber content which is mainly in the form of soluble fiber and mucilage. The clear gel that forms on the outside of the seed is soluble fiber, which slows down digestion to keep you fuller, longer. This slows the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars, adds bulk to improve elimination, aids in hydration, and helps lower cholesterol. Chia seeds add a rich texture to many foods including puddings, smoothies, and of course, our gourmet nut and seed butters.
At Betsy’s Best, we firmly believe that food should be healthy as well as absolutely delicious. We set high standards for every single ingredient we use, from cardamom, cinnamon, organic honey, Himalayan pink salt and of course, chia seeds. You can be sure that the chia seeds in our butters are high quality, all natural, and non-GMO. So each bite will make you both healthier and happier.
Chia seeds are a great way to boost overall health, and pretty tasty to boot, which is why we use them in all five blends of our nut and seed butters. We love the extra bit of superfood nutrition and unique crunch they add to our butters – and we hope you will too!
So, if you have been asking “what are chia seeds” we hope the above information has been helpful. Try one of Betsy’s chia seed pudding or smoothie bowl recipes. Two great ways to add chia seeds to your daily diet! If you love gourmet PB&Js we recommend fruit spreads from World of Chia!