Are chia seeds a “super food”? – Table

Every day of the week, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. Friday, it is Dr. Melina Jampolis, doctor specializing in nutrition.

Question asked by Julie S. from Chicago, Illinois

What do you know / say about chia seeds? Are they really a “superfood?” “
Expert response:

There is no real definition for a “superfood”, it really is just a marketing term, but the foods mentioned in this category often contain above-average amounts of health-promoting nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and most importantly phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients). Based on this definition, chia seeds would certainly qualify.

They are an excellent source of fiber and antioxidants, a good source of calcium, a good source of vegetable protein, and a great source of plant-derived omega 3 fatty acid (alpha-linolenic acid) ALA similar to walnuts and flax. . Like all nuts or seeds, they are low in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol, but like all nuts and seeds, they are more calorie dense, 139 calories per ounce, so it is important to watch portion sizes. and consume in moderation.

When chia seeds are combined with a liquid (such as water, milk, juice, or yogurt), they form a gel due to the soluble fiber they contain. This can have some weight loss benefit (although research in this area is scarce) by helping you feel fuller for longer and also by delaying the rise in blood sugar of the foods you eat that contain chia seeds.

As with almost all foods, to get the maximum health benefits, it is best to consume chia seeds whole rather than consuming them as an oil or supplement (grinding them is also acceptable. because they retain all the components of the seed). If you want to try them as part of your healthy diet, they work well as a topping in yogurt or oatmeal, tossed in a smoothie, or used as a binder and healthy fat in baked goods (especially baking. vegan or gluten-free).

But as with any “superfood”, they are part of an overall balanced diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein, and not as a replacement or supplement to a poor diet.

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