Glossary of Foods: Chia Seeds

chia seeds

It has become daily hassle to make sure we are packing our bodies full of the right ingredients. We rely on meat for our protein, whole grains for our fiber, fruits and veggies for our vitamins and, if we are being honest, the occasional candy bar to satisfy our sweet tooth. What if we told you that the increasingly popular chia seed could put an end to your dietary problems? These little wonders are overflowing with just the right amount of nutritious benefits to keep you energized and full throughout your day!

Chia seeds were originally used by Mayan and Aztec civilizations, who believed that these tiny, power-packed seeds had supernatural powers. They quickly became a staple in the Aztec diet because of the various qualities they possessed. Ancient civilizations used chia seeds in medicines, foods, drinks, flours and oil. Chia seeds rapidly became a cash crop in Mexico between 1500 bc and 900 bc, and it appeared as if this little superfood was on the fast track to becoming a legend. The invasions of the Spanish conquerors in the 1500's marked a devastating end to the growth of chia seeds. Due to religious reasons, the conquerors banned elements of the natives' diets. It wasn't until the early 1990's that South American and American scientists began to recreate chia seeds in the hopes of rediscovering the lost nutrients.

Interested in some other flour substitutes? Click here for our 10 Best Healthy Flour Alternatives!

It is no wonder these little miracle-workers are so popular. They are absolutely packed with nutritious ingredients and health benefits, and can be used in a seemingly infinite variety of ways. You can eat them whole, grind them up into a gluten-free flour, combine them in all kinds of food and drinks as a healthy substitute to other ingredients, create a new and unique texture, and even create a gel-like substance that can be used in all kinds of recipes. Chia seeds are also known to promote weight loss and control hunger, promote heart health, and even reduce blood pressure. In just 2 Tbsp, these babies pack a punch with 138 calories, 9 grams of healthy fat, 10 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. Plus, they are a fantastic source of omega-3 (more than a serving of salmon!) and contain more calcium than a glass of milk!

Other uses for this amazing superfood include:

  • Serving as a substitute in your favorite recipes by replacing eggs, or thickening soups
  • Provide a crunchy breading for meats
  • Create an incredibly filling and nutritious oatmeal
  • Combine well with puddings and yogurt

You can also use ground chia seeds as a gluten-free flour substitute, or mix them in with some flour for a heartier, healthier option. They can even be eaten raw and whole as the perfect, afternoon snack!

For some of our favorite recipes with chia seeds, take a look at our Pomegranate Blueberry Powerhouse Smoothie or our No Bake Carrot Cake Energy Balls.


For more information on chia seeds, check out our sources here: Food and Nutrition, Chiatrition Chia Seeds, Wellness Mama, Chia Seed Recipes