Chia seeds – new superfood craze set to hit the UK soon!
Many people in the UK won’t have heard of chia seed’s yet, but if regulators give the thumbs up, this US slimming superfood craze could soon be on it’s way.
Goji berries, kombucha, wheatgrass and acai berries. It rarely seems a year passes without at least one new health-food frenzy and Chia will soon be joining the list. So what exactly is it?
Chia, or Salvia hispanica L, is a member of the mint family from Mexico and South America. The flowering plant can sprout in a matter of days, but chia’s appeal is in the nutritional punch of its tiny seeds.
With more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, tons of antioxidants and minerals, a huge source of protein and more fibre than flax seed, the seeds have been dubbed a “dieter’s dream”, “the running food”, “a miracle”, and “the ultimate super food”, by advocates and athletes.
To some the seeds taste utterly bland, but to others there is a slight nutty flavour. They also can seem expensive compared with other seeds and nuts.
In the UK, the seeds are only currently allowed for sale as a bread ingredient, but soon, the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes are thought to allow chia seeds in a wide variety of products including baked goods, breakfast cereals and nut and seed mixes.
Elsewhere in the world, chia-seed products have been popping up over the past few years. In 2011, 72 new chia products were brought on to the market and 28 new chia foods are already out this year, according to research group Mintel. Compare that with only seven new chia products for all of 2006 and you get an idea of its growing popularity.
In the US it is found in sweets, snack foods, seasonings, yogurt and even baby food.
To chia cheerleaders the seeds do no wrong. They claim chia reduces inflammation, improves heart health, and stabilises blood sugar levels and can aid weight loss A few tablespoons are touted as remedying just about anything – without any ill effects
What’s in 100g of chia?
(of which fibre is 41.2g)
Niacin (B3): 613mg
Thiamine (B1): 0.18mg
Riboflavin (B2): 0.04mg
Chia can be use in many added to many food and drinks, it can be mixed with yoghurts, added to soups and sprinkled on salads, the list is endless!
Here’s how to make a delicious Chia Seed Smoothie:
- Handful of frozen* blueberries
- 1 Banana
- 1/2 Cucumber
- Tsp Coconut oil
- Purple corn tea
- Tbsp Chia seeds
- Peel and pop the banana in the blender first
- Chop the cucumber and add (you can remove the skin if you prefer, though I like to keep it for the fibre)
- Pour in the berries
- Brew approx. 200ml purple corn tea and add (this is optional – you can use water or juice if you prefer)
- Add the coconut oil and chia seeds
- Blend together til’ smooth and to your desired consistency to drink
- Simple as that!
Would this ‘superfood’ be something you would add to your weekly shop?