Are Chia Seeds Worth the Hype? Chia seeds are a clear winner in fibre content -- not just in the grains category.

Quinoa, chia, amaranth… you would be forgiven for being overwhelmed by the onslaught of seeds pouring into your health store with names that sound like characters from a bad YA novel. Dubbed ‘ancient grains’ by the food industry’s marketing team, chia seeds are one of the more popular members of the club. A staple food of many Aztec cultures, they claim to be high in protein, omega-3 fatty acid and fibre. They also have a mesmerising ability to expand into gel balls, which I theorise is 95 percent of the reason people like them.

Whilst chia seeds do contain omega-3 fatty acid, it is in the form least beneficial to cardiovascular health. Chia seeds are 17 percent protein, so 2 tablespoons will give you about 4 grams of ‘complete’ protein, which contains the amino acids our bodies cannot synthesise. However, if your diet is already well-balanced then increasing your protein intake is unnecessary.

The same cannot be said for fibre. Most people’s diets are abysmally fibre-deficient, with few reaching the recommended 30g per day. Chia seeds are a clear winner in fibre content, not just in the grains category but in food as a whole. They are 34 percent fibre, compared to white rice at 0.4 percent. Slipping two tablespoons of chia into porridge or a smoothie gives you a third of your daily fibre allowance.

However, they are pricey, so if you are not willing to pay for Aztec-approved colon health, opt for cheaper sources of fibre and omega-3 like lentils and oily fish.

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