You’ve seen them in those cute little pudding pods at your local supermarket and sprinkled over glorious, colourful acai bowls on your Instagram feed.
You’ve probably heard your fitspo friends talk about them and for some reason there’s a packet of them lurking in the back of your pantry (your housemate went through a phase).
They’re quite literally everywhere – not just when you accidentally knock over the packet when scrounging around for spaghetti in the cupboard.
With the above considered, we’re slightly embarrassed to ask this question but, erm, what actually…are chia seeds? And how exactly are they good for you?
Well, so we can all be brimming with expert nutrition knowledge at our next brunch date with that friend who’s always in active wear, we approached a dietitian and naturopath to answer all our chia-related questions.
Tanya Kumar, accredited practising dietitian at TherapyCare, clued us in on just where these tiny little seeds came from.
What are chia seeds?
Surprisingly, the chia plant comes from the mint family.
“Chia is a flowering plant in the mint family, native to Central America,” Tanya explained.
“The common name “chia,” derived from a word meaning “oily,” was given by the Aztecs and inhabitants of pre-Columbian South and Central America. They come in black and white varieties — both of which are now produced in Australia.”
What is the nutritional value of chia seeds?
“They are a rich source of plant-based Omega 3 fats, high in fibre and minerals, and packed with antioxidants,” says Tanya.
“Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains about 140 calories, 4 grams of protein, 11 grams of fibre, 7 grams of unsaturated fat, 18 per cent RDA for calcium, and trace minerals including zinc and copper.
“Chia seeds are a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body. This is what makes them stand out from other seeds.”
Woah – and they’re so tiny!