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What is Chia Seed Oil? Breaking Down the Superfood

What is Chia Seed Oil?

What is chia seed oil, and why is it good for me?

Chia seeds are small black or white seeds derived from the annual herbaceous plant, Salvia hispanica L. The oil from these seeds contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). These essential amino acids are associated with brain and heart health, as well as decreased inflammation. Omega-3’s are essential to your diet, meaning you must consume them from food sources. Research has shown these healthy fats can help increase HDL (good cholesterol), reduce blood pressure, and reduce triglycerides- all ways to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease.

How is chia seed oil made?

Chia seeds are pressed to extract chia seed oil. The oil is expensive and often imported from other countries, such as South America. 

What nutrients are found in chia seed oil?

Chia seeds contain a healthy dose of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants, and calcium. 

They also contain an abundance of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, the brain-boosting ingredient responsible for much of this little seed’s big reputation. Omega-3 consumption is an essential part of a healthy diet. Fortunately, they are found in various heart-healthy and satisfying nuts and seeds. 

What kind of healthy fats should I eat?

Often, we think of fat as being “bad” for us. Time and time again, we hear people following low-fat diets. However, not all fat is unhealthy. There are four main types of fat: trans, saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.

Trans fat is the worst type of fat. The American Heart Association recommends avoiding trans-fat altogether. Slightly less harmful than trans fats, medical professionals recommend saturated fat should be limited to less than 10% of your daily calories. Saturated fat sources, such as butter, are solid at room temperature. 

Monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated (PUFA) are good fat types and should be included in your diet as often as possible. Both MUFA and PUFA are liquid at room temperature. Olive oil contains healthy monounsaturated fat, as do avocados. 

One specific type of PUFA you will hear often is an omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3’s are essential to consume from your diet because the body cannot make omega-3’s on its own, so you must get them from the foods in your diet. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is the PUFA in the plant sources like nuts and chia seeds. Chia seed oil is a rich source of ALA. It is an excellent source of polyunsaturated fats.

Omega-3’s are a healthy type of fat that helps prevent or lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Research has linked omega-3 fatty acid consumption to heart, brain, skin, joints, and immune system health. 

How do I consume more chia and chia seed oil in my diet?

Chia pudding has recently become a trendy and social-media worthy breakfast item. 

Fortunately, it can be a healthy, nutrient-dense way to start your day off right! It also makes for a great grab-and-go snack. Try this recipe using CF(Protein)® for a double dose of healthy omega-3’s!

CF(Protein)® Tropical Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 1, 8oz bottle of CF(Protein)® Mango Peach (contains chia seed oil!)
  • 3 TB chia seeds
  • 2 TB maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1 small mango, peeled
  • Toasted coconut flakes for topping
  • Almond slices for topping

Instructions:

  1. Stir together CF(Protein)® Mango Peach, chia seeds, and maple syrup in a bowl or mason jar. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir the mixture again to remove any clumps of chia seeds. Place mixture in the fridge to set, at least 30 minutes.
  2. While chia pudding is setting, peel the mango and scoop the fruit into a high-powered blender. Pulse lightly or blend until smooth, depending on texture preference.
  3. After chia pudding has set, scoop into two jars. Pour a thin layer of mango puree. Top with coconut and almond for a satisfying crunch!
  4. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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