Chia Seeds Are A Great Protein Source

By Toni Lewis

Have you ever seen one of those annoying commercials for Chia Pets? 

The terra cotta shaped heads of animals, cartoon characters and celebrities?  I think there is even one fashioned for Barack Obama.  Those commercials have been around since I was a kid and strangely have outlasted the commercials for pet rocks and sea monkeys.

I used to wonder what the hell a ch-ch-ch...C-h-i-a was, and why would I want one for a pet.  

It's actually a member of the mint family.  It was a major food crop of Native American, Aztec, and Mayan Indians.  In pre-Columbian times, the seeds were an important dietary component. They were also used medicinally to relieve joint pain and skin conditions.  They also played a role in religious ceremonies.  Aztec warriors found that 1 tablespoon of seeds could sustain a person for 24 hours.  

That’s pretty good for a handful of seeds.

There are two different kinds of seed produced by the chia plant. 

  • “Black” seeds (actually different colors of brown) come from the plants with purple flowers. 
  • “White” seeds come in a mixture of white, gray and yellowish colors and are produced from the plants with white flowers.  

Although the seeds are pretty similar in nutritional content, the more expensive “White Chia” seeds are thought to have more nutritional value. 

Both seeds are a gluten free source of fiber and are packed with B vitamins, boron (for bone health), calcium (about 2 oz contain 600 mg), phosphorus, potassium (2 times more than a banana), zinc and copper and contains 60% of omega 3 fatty acids. 

Considered a complete protein because of the balance of essential amino acids, they also have 3 times more antioxidants than blueberries.

The Aztecs would mix roasted seeds with water to make gruel or grind them for baking.  Today there are a variety of ways to utilize this protein.  The seeds can be:

Sprinkled on cereal or yogurt, added to pasta dishes and sauces, added to fruit smoothes and protein shakes, or used in baking (grind and replace flour for gluten free dish).  You can even eat them straight from the package as a snack.

They can help kill hunger and help reduce snacking throughout the day.

But don’t reach for that Chia Pet.

The FDA as a food source has not approved those seeds.  You should look for organically grown seeds from companies you know and trust.

Note: These seeds are a great addition to an emergency survival kit because of their shelf life and because a small amount can go a long way in providing nutrition if access to food is limited.

I’ll keep looking into the benefits of this amazing protein source.  In the meantime, Give it a try. 

Walk in Beauty.



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