Chia seeds

Research suggests that the Aztecs used Chia seeds, a tiny black seed similar in appearance to the poppy seed as a pre-battle source of energy. They are part of the same family as Mint and originate from South and Central America.

Chia seeds may help to support our digestive health as they are packed full of fibre. A single portion (25 grams) of Chia seeds is thought to provide approximately 9 grams of fibre. A healthy addition to a balanced diet, fibre helps to contribute towards our feeling of fullness and may help to prevent the urge to indulge in the consumption of unhealthy, sugary snacks.

Chia seeds are also a great source of omega-3 alpha linolenic acid (ALA) which is known to support our cognitive health, important for people living with fibromyalgia who may suffer with mental health issues such as stress, anxiety and fibro fog. They also have anti-inflammatory benefits which may alleviate the symptoms of people living with chronic pain conditions.

For those who are vegan or vegetarian Chia seeds may provide a good source of protein. Chia seeds have a low glycaemic index and therefore take a relatively long time to be broken down by our digestive system due to the balance of fat, protein and fibre in their nutritional composition. This may help to maintain energy levels. They are also a rich source of non-dairy calcium; with a single portion providing more calcium than a 100 mL glass of milk.

Overconsumption of Chia seeds may have side effects for some people who may not be used to the increased levels of dietary fibre. Care should be taken to ensure that an adequate supply of water is also consumed when making this dietary transition.

For more information on Chia seeds visit BBC Good Food