So, about that whole chia revolution going on right now… I have some questions and I can’t seem to get a straight answer.

I bought some of the seeds in question about a month ago now and while I happen to think they’re awesome as an add-in to my smoothies or to sprinkle on top of stuff for a bit of interesting crunch, I’ve yet to be sold on them being a superfood.

There are two reasons I decided to invest in chia seeds:  The first is the omega 3’s which are apparently plentiful.  The second is that I’ve seen in a couple of areas now that they have 50% of your daily iron intake, which is impressive.  Since then I’ve seen other claims such as the gel formed can prevent some of the food you eat from being absorbed in your intestine because it cannot be absorbed and blocks the absorption, the gel helps to keep you hydrated because it soaks up so much water (but it can’t be absorbed so…), the carbohydrates in the chia seeds are converted to sugars very slowly, and chia seeds have 3x the calcium of milk.

There is, essentially, little way to prove the whole “blocking absorption of nutrients in your intestine bit and so I generally disregard it.  This is a statement which reminds me of bad dieting habits anyway and I’d like to avoid picking up any more of those.  Also, can they really prove it helps you stay hydrated?  I’ve no clue but plenty of websites devoted to information on chia seeds talk about this aspect.

As for the iron, some websites don’t mention the iron at all.  A couple of nutrition information websites list the iron content as 0% and the back of my bag of chia seeds (granted mine comes from nutsonline.com and so they stick their own label on it and it may not be 100% accurate) says 0% for iron… bummer.

And then there is the calcium claim.  I don’t have any cow’s milk here and so I’m at a loss as for what a serving of it is but in comparing the calcium it would seem this claim could be legit…depending upon if they’re comparing ounce for ounce or serving to serving… results change depending upon which method you use.

In doing my research I have found the fiber content of chia seeds to be quite high, which is nice.  It’s soluble fiber which is known to slow down the emptying of food from the stomach and thus the conversion of carbohydrates to sugars and so I’m going to take this fact as being true.  (Bonus!)

In the end, I’m disappointed I can’t seem to get a straight answer on the issue of iron.  I’m glad chia has calcium, and I’m pleased with the amount of soluble fiber and the omega 3’s.  I’m likely going to continue to consume chia seeds in my smoothies and throw them in to other things as well but yeah, I’m still not convinced about that whole superfood thing.  I guess I’m just cautious whenever I see something out there with so many websites devoted to it all claiming different things, some of which cannot be proven.  In the meantime, if anyone has proof one way or the other on the iron content of chia, I’d love to hear about it.

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