Chia seeds may be tiny, but these mildly nutty seeds are a nutritional powerhouse – it’s no surprise they’ve become increasingly popular over the past few years.
Once a staple of ancient Aztec and Mayan diets, chia seeds are now sprinkled and blended into meals and smoothies all over the world.
Whether they’re baked, cooked, soaked, or scattered, you’ll be able to find a style of chia seeds to suit your needs here at Holland & Barrett.
What are Chia Seeds?
Native to South America, but now grown and easily available across the globe, chia seeds can be white, black, or brown.
Chia seeds are packed with nutrients like vegan-friendly Omega-3 and protein, are incredibly good for you and are extremely versatile, making them perfect for adding to your diet with no extra effort.
These small, crunchy seeds can be eaten as they are, milled into a powder or even soaked in water to help thicken sauces or make them into puddings.
The Best Chia Seeds at Holland & Barrett
Here at Holland and Barrett, we sell a range of different types of chia seeds that you can easily include in your daily meals and snacks.
If you’d prefer to mix your chia seeds into drinks like smoothies or bake them into protein-rich cakes or brownies, then milled chia seeds are ideal.
You won’t believe how many nutritional benefits can be packed into these tiny seeds!
Considered by many to be a ‘superfood’, chia seeds are rich in dietary fibre and a great source of healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. They’re an excellent way to add more protein to your diet and contain all nine amino acids (aka the ‘building blocks of protein’), so they’ll help support your muscles.
Chia seeds are also rich in calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium, as well as vitamin B and vitamin E, so they’ll support your immune system and overall well-being.
For more, check out our guide to the 10 Benefits of Chia Seeds (plus uses and recipes)
Whilst chia seeds can be eaten directly out of the packet as a crunchy snack, there are many more tasty, versatile ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Milled chia seeds are ground to a fine powder so you can easily mix these into drinks like smoothies with no fuss. They can also be used in baking as an extra ingredient for making cakes or brownies with some added protein. Whole chia seeds could even be sprinkled onto your morning porridge, granola, or yoghurt - it is that simple!
When putting dry chia seeds in water, they create a jelly-like mixture that can be used as an egg replacement, to thicken sauces and even used to make sugar-free jams, puddings, and bakes.
Chia seeds are suitable for both vegetarians and vegans as they are a completely natural, plant-based food.
They can be very beneficial to include in a vegan or vegetarian diet as they contain lots of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, commonly acquired through meat or fish, which might otherwise be missing in a more restrictive diet.
Chia seeds are native to Mexico and Guatemala and were once a staple food in Aztec culture. The word ‘chia’ itself is derived from the Aztec word ‘chian’ which means ‘oily’ and refers to the seed’s natural oils and fats.
After the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire, the cultivation of chia seeds declined, but their high nutritional value has led to renewed popularity and now they are grown and shipped all over the world.
Chia seeds come from the plant known as Salvia hispanica, which is a species of sage in the mint family (Lamiaceae).
These plants are incredibly easy to grow, especially in warm climates – just lay a nylon or linen cloth onto a plate, scatter the seeds lightly on top and keep them damp by misting regularly. The plant should sprout and be ready to harvest in just a few days.