Chia seeds are popping up everywhere these days – in fresh baked breads, cereals and even drinks, but you may well ask, what is all the fuss about?! What makes these teeny tiny little seeds so magical? And how can they make my tummy sing again?
10 x the power
Chia seeds are harvested from the flowering Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family, native to Mexico and Guatemala. They were used as a common crop for centuries as they were regarded highly for providing sustained energy in such small amounts.
These magical seeds can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, which creates a gel-like outing, allowing them to easily travel through the digestive system.
Chia seeds are so ridiculously high in fibre, its almost unbelievable! They boast approximately 16% protein, 31% fat, and 44% carbohydrate of which 38% is fibre. Roughly a quarter of the fibre contained in chia seeds is soluble fibre. Soluble fibre gets a big thumbs up as it helps to:
- promote healthy gut microbiome by fermenting in the gut
- feed the good bacteria helping them to flourish
- and converts into butyric acid (short-chain saturated fatty acid) which provides nourishing benefits to the large intestine – bonus points!
The insoluble fibre component of chia seeds does not breakdown as easily in liquid, meaning it actually passes through your digestive tract mostly intact allowing for:
- bulking up of stools
- a slower rate of glucose absorption
- and acting like a internal broom, sweeping out waste in the intestines
Chia seeds expand quite a bit and form a gel-like coating when they come into contact with water. They can help keep our bowel motions regular as well as helping to prevent constipation. The added bulk also may help you feel fuller and so you eat less – win win!
So, that starts to explain why chia seeds are now appearing more in our everyday foods, and why they are so good for our tummies!
If you would like to incorporate chia seeds into your diet, a standard serving suggestion is 20 grams (approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons) 1-2 times a day. An ideal addition to smoothies, muesli or cereals, chia seeds can also be used in baking or cooking without heat effecting their benefits.
If you have any concerns or queries relating to digestion and chia seeds, you may find it beneficial to talk to your healthcare practitioner.