Foodwatch nutritionist Catherine Saxelby brought chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) to our attention in 2009. In August GI News that year she wrote that they: “look like tiny sesame seeds and can be black, white or grey. Like all seeds, they are high in fat especially the good fats… They are one of the richest sources of the plant form of omega-3 called ALA. They are also big on fibre. In fact, at 37% they are an outstanding source of fibre, in particular of soluble fibre. They have the ability to absorb a high volume of liquid and become thick and gelatinous, thanks to some mucilages … They contain 15% protein – as much as from wheat – and a variety of vitamins, minerals and trace elements including folate, phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper and potassium. Like almonds and sesame seeds, they have a surprisingly high content of calcium, usually found in dairy foods, but how well this is absorbed is debatable.”
It’s easy to add them to your daily diet.
- Sprinkle them on yoghurt, cereal, oatmeal, muesli, granola and salads.
- Stir them into dressings. The seeds don’t form a gel in oil-based foods.
- Blend into a morning smoothie.
A recent study by GI Labs Director of Research, Dr Alexandra Jenkins, and the research team at St. Michael’s Hospital found salba-chia was effective in promoting weight loss and improving obesity-related risk factors in overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes. “Lately, there has been a lot of research interest in satiety,” says Dr Jenkins. “Acute satiety studies can be useful in selecting foods and ingredients that cause feelings of fullness and highlighting which will be best suited for weight loss studies. Weight loss studies, which typically last 6 months–1 year, can demonstrate concretely that a product promotes feelings of fullness and result in lasting weight loss. Long term studies such as these are powerful because they allow researchers to investigate the effect of these products not only on body weight, but also detect whether there are other, additional, health benefits of incorporating the product into the diet.”