Khee chia how much

Chia Seeds: Really a Superfood?

Superfood - this term is constantly haunted by the press, appears as an advertising slogan, is popular with health-conscious people. These include foods like goji berries, pomegranate, and acai, and they are said to be incredibly healthy. Chia seeds are also touted as a superfood. But do they live up to this statement?

The Mexican chia belongs to the genus of sage plants. The pseudograin played an essential role in the diet of the Mayas and Aztecs as early as 5000 years ago, and other Native Americans have also valued it as a filling ingredient for centuries. The plant was first brought to Europe by the Spaniards in the 15th century, but was largely forgotten again.

A maximum of 15 grams of chia seeds per day

In the last few years there has been a real chia boom in the USA. The European Food Safety Authority then also checked whether it was safe to import them into Europe. In 2009 it allowed baked goods that contain a maximum of five percent chia seeds. In 2013, the authorities increased the permitted proportion to ten percent and also approved the import of whole chia seeds as packaged food, with a daily intake of no more than 15 grams being recommended. "This consumption is considered to be harmless to health as long as long-term studies are still lacking in this country," explains nutritionist Antje Gahl from the German Nutrition Society. The US authorities recommend consuming a maximum of 48 grams of chia per day.

Chia fans mix the rather neutral-tasting seeds in mueslis, smoothies, pudding or jam. They also eat the seeds in pastas like crackers, pancakes, and bread. Or simply sprinkle a spoonful over yogurt or ice cream as a topping. After germination, chia enriches the salad in the form of sprouts. The versatile ingredient is also gaining a growing following in this country. Gahl observed a high level of sympathy, especially among vegans, because the seeds can replace animal ingredients as a vegetable binding agent: "Poured on with water, soy, rice or almond milk, the seeds form a filling gel that can be used in baking recipes instead of eggs." Gelatine and agar-agar are also interchangeable.

Ingredients: antioxidants, minerals and fiber

Is chia a superfood now? "In fact, the seeds contain a number of interesting ingredients, for example five times as much calcium as milk," says nutritionist Harald Seitz from the Federal Institute for Nutrition. The iron content of chia seeds exceeds that of spinach. They also contain many antioxidants, such as phenolic acids. These active ingredients are said to protect the cells in the body as radical scavengers.

Fiber makes up 34 grams per 100 grams. They are considered to aid digestion and, thanks to their swelling, ensure a lasting feeling of satiety. Because, like Indian flea seeds, they can bind many times more water, you should always drink enough liquid with chia seeds - unless from a medical point of view there is nothing against it. Some people do not tolerate large amounts of chia so well, they react with flatulence.

Are the small grains so filling that they are a secret weapon for weight loss? "So far there is no scientific evidence for this," says Seitz. "And of course it depends a lot on what you eat apart from the chia seeds."

High quality proteins and fatty acids

With a protein content of over 16 grams of protein per 100 grams, chia seeds outperform grains such as wheat, with a relatively high value of vegetable protein. However, adverse consequences can very rarely also occur through consumption: "There are now first case reports of side effects, such as allergic reactions or interactions with blood-thinning medication from the consumption of whole or ground chia seeds," explains Gahl. Much is currently not known and needs to be researched further.

Attention side effects:
Chia seeds may work blood thinning. Anyone who suffers from a blood clotting disorder or is taking blood-thinning medication should clarify with their doctor whether they can eat chia seeds. It is therefore also advisable not to consume the seeds before an operation. also reduce Chia seeds under certain circumstances the blood pressure. Those who tend to have low blood pressure should therefore also be careful.

Chia seeds are made up of around 30 percent fat. "It mainly contains the essential, polyunsaturated fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. From this, the body can produce certain amounts of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which are otherwise only ingested through fish," says Gahl. Among other things, these fatty acids are considered to be anti-inflammatory. "Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to have a positive effect on the lipid profile of the human blood," says Seitz. For example, there was evidence of an increase in unsaturated long-chain fatty acids in the blood. "However, studies have yet to show to what extent regular consumption of chia seeds can influence the occurrence or course of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer," says Gahl. Until then, advertising statements about chia seeds should be questioned critically. It should also be noted that the small grains are also high in calories due to their high fat content.

Domestic products as a substitute for chia seeds

Do experts now recommend consuming chia seeds? "Anyone who likes to eat them should be happy to do so. You can also find a similar fat composition in domestic seeds such as linseed, rapeseed oil or nuts," says Seitz. Regional products are cheaper. Chia seeds have a longer shelf life. "But in times of climate change you should also ask yourself whether you want to take responsibility for the high CO of food imported from across the Atlantic," said Seitz. In doing so, the expert is addressing the carbon dioxide emissions required to transport the chia seeds into the atmosphere and the corresponding energy consumption.

Conclusion: Chia seeds actually contain quite healthy ingredients, fill you up and can be used in many ways. However, they are also rich in calories, they are quite expensive and similar ingredients can also be found in local foods. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether the superfood should enrich the muesli or the yoghurt.


 

Nutritional table: Chia seeds (per 100 grams)

energy

580 g

fat

31 g

carbohydrates

42 g

Proteins

16 g

Fiber

34 g

Minerals

Sodium (Na)

15 mg

Potassium (K)

405 mg

Calcium (Ca)

630 mg

Magnesium (Mg)

335 mg

Phosphorus (P)

860 mg

Iron (Fe)

7.7 mg