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Chia seed smoothie bowl
Photograph: Ala

Food Ticket: eat your way to Peru with chia seeds

Chia seeds prove that size doesn't matter, these tiny guys pack a powerful nutrient punch

Time Out Hong Kong in partnership with Trade Commission of Peru

Peru’s unique crops – born from biodiversity and the Andean man’s ancestral wisdom – are part of the modern world’s superfoods that contain exceptional health properties.

Chia, or Salvia hispanica, is a flowering plant of the mint family. Native to Central America, it's been cultivated by Aztecs and Mayas since pre-Columbian times. Fast forward thousands of years, chia seeds are now a staple in the modern day pantry. These tiny seeds have dominated the health and wellness industry’s attention thanks to its superpowered nutrient profile.

RECOMMENDED: Eat your way to Peru with sacha inchi.

Small but mighty
Photograph: Trade Commission of Peru

Small but mighty

Fibre is an essential part of a healthy diet, helping to maintain overall bowel health. With roughly nine grams of fibre per one-ounce serving, chia seeds make it easy to reach the daily recommended dose of fibre (30 grams a day). 

Alongside a high fibre content, chia seeds are also an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids provide the starting point for regulating blood clot formation and inflammation, as well as maintain heart, brain health, kidney, and skin health.

Omega-3 fatty acids are called essential fats because they are not made by the body, but derived from food such as fish. Chia seeds are one of the many superfoods that contain omega-3 fatty acids, and are especially beneficial for those who follow vegan or vegetarian diets. 

Make chia a part of your diet
Photograph: Libby Saylor

Make chia a part of your diet

Chia seeds have little to no flavour so they can be easily incorporated in a variety of meals and absorb their flavours. A tablespoon can be easily added into granola, smoothies, pancake and waffle batter, and to bread dough for an additional protein source. Sprinkle on top of toast, a bowl of fruit, oatmeal, or add to your favourite salad dressing for a bit of texture. When soaked, chia seeds absorb the liquid it sits in and become soft like tapioca which makes them excellent for home made puddings and jams. Chia seed flour is also a great alternative for those who are gluten-free. 

Chia seeds are widely available and you can stock up at ParknShop, Regency Spices, Pricerite, The German Store and O'Farm.

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