If you haven’t already heard, chia seeds are the latest addition to the growing list of superfoods on the market. It’s a plant native to the Americas, though its nutritional benefits can be traced all the way back to the ancient Aztecs. Today, more and more people are consuming chia seeds, thanks to the many ways you can eat it.

Chia seeds are a great addition to anyone’s diet. However, it triples its benefits for plant-based folks. From being a dairy replacement to providing essential omega-3 fatty acids, they are definitely something worth adding to your everyday dishes.

They’re good for your bones.

Calcium is one of the more prominent minerals in our bodies. It takes care of our bone health, muscle function, and even nerve signalling. However, it is mostly found in dairy products—which is obviously no good for us vegans. Luckily, they’re also rich in calcium. And if studies on The Healthy are to be believed, just three tablespoons of chia seeds contain more calcium than a glass of milk.

They promote heart health.

Perhaps one of the most important reasons to introduce chia seeds into your diet is that it can serve as a dietary substitute for fish. Health writer Sheena Dizon notes on Pretty Me that chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids—an essential substance that’s commonly found in seafood. Omega-3 is responsible for keeping your heart in tip-top shape, as it regulates blood pressure and slows the development of plaque in your arteries.

They pack a lot of protein.

Chia is also a good source of protein. In fact, nutritionist Alissa Rumsey writes that a mere two tablespoons of these seeds provide a solid 6g of protein. How much protein you need to stay healthy is entirely up to your body mass. But on average, it’s about 46g for women and 56g for men. It’s hard to reach these numbers by sticking to a purely plant-based diet, but chia has presented itself as a good way to do so.

They make you feel full.

Chia seeds are rich in soluble fibre. This means that it’s a type of (non-carb) food that makes you full—even if you only eat a little. As such, it’s not only recommended for vegan diets, but also for those looking to maintain their weight. After all, if you’re constantly full, then you don’t have to worry about mindlessly reaching for that bag of chips.

They make yummy desserts.

Nearly any fruit or seed can be used to make desserts. However, what makes chia seeds so interesting is how they can make tasty toppings, and can also be a viable egg substitute. Dietitian Nicole Magryta explains that chia seeds have properties that, when mixed with liquid, turns them into a concoction very similar to raw eggs. Elise Catterall, one of our health practitioners here at The Vegan Company, shares how chia makes excellent pudding—a dessert that’s usually made with eggs. With chia seeds, you can finally have your cake, and eat it too.

All in all, despite their small size, chia seeds are full of nutrients—sometimes even more than individual ingredients combined. Adding them to your diet can only be great.

Photo credit: FitnessGenes