Chia seeds are an amazing but often overlooked food source that really should be on everyone’s shopping list, both for everyday use and for times of trouble.
Chia seeds are tiny black seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is related to the mint family. don’t be fooled by their size, these little darlings pack a punch way above their weight!
This from Kris Gunnars, Authority Nutrition
A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:
Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.
This is particularly impressive when you consider that this is just a single ounce, which supplies only 137 calories and one gram of digestible carbohydrate!
Interestingly… if you subtract the fiber, which may not end up as usable calories for the body, chia seeds only contain 101 calories per ounce.
This makes them one of the world’s best sources of several important nutrients, calorie for calorie.
To top things off, chia seeds are a “whole grain” food, are usually grown organically, are non-GMO and naturally free of gluten.
Looking at the nutrition profile of chia seeds, you see that an ounce has 12 grams of “carbohydrate.”
However… 11 of those grams are fiber, which isn’t digested by the body.
Fiber doesn’t raise blood sugar, doesn’t require insulin to be disposed of and therefore shouldn’t count as a carb.
The true carb content is only 1 gram per ounce, which is very low. This makes chia a low-carb friendly food.
Because of all the fiber, chia seeds can absorb up to 10-12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like expanding in your stomach.
Now although Kris is discussing chia seeds and weight loss due to this gel like quality they process I have been doing a few experiments and the results are very interesting from a survival food point of view.
Over the last couple of weeks I have added chia seeds to all sorts of foods with some rather amazing results.
- I blended two dessert spoons of chia seeds, a handful of berries and half a pint of milk and left it standing in the fridge for an hour. The result was a delicious, thick enough to be eaten with a spoon dessert OR an equally delicious thick ‘milkshake’ if i whisked in another half pint of milk.
- Putting two tablespoons of the seeds in a six pint crock pot casserole was not a good idea…the casserole increased in size to the point of me having to ladle out a full two and a half pints of the casserole to stop it overflowing onto the counter.
- Chia seeds added to butternut squash soup right before serving adds colour and texture and makes the soup so filling after eating it for lunch dinner needed to be delayed over two hours that evening. Ditto, onion soup, broccoli and Stilton soup and good old vegetable soup.
- Adding a desert spoon of chia seeds to muesli resulted in half a lunch box coming back from school because the youngest was still full from breakfast!
- Chia seeds added to my salads mean I get extra vitamins and minerals, a change of texture and a low carb way of adding fibre to my food. I also stay fuller longer, sometimes a difficult thing to accomplish when you have almost zero carbs in your diet.
- Dog food goes twice as far when pre-soaked chia is added to it. Dog doesn’t seem to mind, it’s good for her coat and one teaspoon of seeds halves the dog food used. (she’s a small dog)
Chia seeds aren’t expensive either. Amazon.co.uk have 2kg (4.4 pounds) of chia seeds for £9.99. When you consider that that equates to over 40 pounds of filling when they are gelatinous that equals a lot of extra casserole in a crisis and a lot of full bellies for a tenner! Amazon.com is even better value with 6 pounds for $20.89.
Dealing with dwindling supplies and growling stomachs is a major issue for those of us that look at life with a prepper perspective. To find a food thats lightweight, keeps well, packs a massive nutritional punch and can make food go further is the answer to a preppers prayer.
Looking at the nutritional evidence I think they will be a valuable addition to our diet even in non-emergency times and they are definitely on my shopping list from now on.