Chia seeds are one of the newer diet supplements to enter the food market. We seem to have moved on from mangosteen juice, goji berries and even the hoodia gordonii quicker than a hungry dog mounting a meat truck in search of the next best thing.
Depending who you ask, chia seeds are THE next big thing. An Aztec “superfood” no less.
So what are chia seeds and where do they come from?
Chia seeds come from the plant Salvia hispanica – basically a form of Mint. Once the plant has flowered it sets seeds, like most annuals, and then withers and dies. These seeds can be collected for future plantings or allowed to self-seed and propagate themselves naturally.
However, because of chia’s nutritional benefits they have now become a very sought after health supplement.
Chia Seeds and Weight Loss
Studies, as noted by the NY Times, have already proven that the benefits of weight loss from chia seeds are a falsehood. While their nutritional profile can supplement a healthy diet there’s no proof to suggest that weight loss is one of the chia seeds benefits.
How to Grow Chia Seeds
As already mentioned chia comes from the plant Salvia hispanica. It’s a very common genus that many people may already be growing in their gardens and if not sourcing it from your local nursery garden centre or nursery should be a cinch.
So, I can hear you already asking how does growing chia seeds aid weight loss. Well, if you’ve ever grown mint you’ll know that while the plant is easy enough to grow – containing it isn’t.
Taking into account that health specialists prescribe a dosage of 25-28g of daily intake this means that you’re going to need grow more than 9m.sq for your annual needs (based on a 500kg per Hectare yield). NINE METERS SQUARED!
While the daily supplement of chia will have very little effect on your weight loss the exercise required to maintain and nurture a plot that size of this rampant plant will have you shedding kilos before you know it. And that’s the weight loss benefit!
Now to the serious side of growing chia:
- It’s best to start them off as seedlings in an area that won’t allow the plants to dominate outside their boundary. A large pot would suffice.
- A punnet of 6-8 chia seedlings should be enough to cover a large tub
- Plant in well-draining potting mix – doesn’t need to be well fertilised
- Water in.
- Once the plants have grown they should flower and then set seed towards the end of summer. Do not pick until the seeds have become dry.
- When the seeds are dry, cut them off their stems and place on a baking dish covered with newspaper. At this point you can begin to shake the pods until the chia seeds fall onto the paper.
The chia seeds are now ready for consumption or you can save some to replant the following year.