The latest superfood – Chia seeds

Acai, wheatgrass and goji berries are common place on the shelf of any health conscious person’s kitchen cupboards.

It seems rarely a year passes without at least one new health-food frenzy.

The latest product which is set to take Briton by storm is chia seeds.

Already a hit in LA and New York, they were once worshipped by the Aztecs as the food of the Gods, the tiny seeds are from the same family as mint.

They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, minerals and antioxidants. They are also meant to help make you dieter lose weight as they make feel fuller, as mixed with liquid they expand.

Now the seeds could be approved for use in products in the UK.

They are currently only sold here as a bread ingredient but the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods, an expert panel which helps the Food Standards Agency, looks set to give it the go ahead.

It could lead the way to be introduced to baked goods, breakfast cereals and nut and seed mixes.

Chia seeds
Chia seeds

Health food chain Holland & Barrett already offers whole and milled chia seeds online, as a bread ingredient.

The chain’s nuts and seeds manager, Douglas Thompson, said chia were relatively new addition to the UK market.

‘Interest in chia has been building for the last two years, but it is only in the last six months that the product has been readily available in the UK,’ he told the BBC.

The seeds originate from South America but now many of them are produced in Australia, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Some say the seeds, which turn black or white as they mature, are flavourless while others say they have a nutty aroma.

Unlike some of the other superfoods, the taste of the seeds has not been widely condemned.

Wayne Coates, co-author of Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs, started experimenting with the seeds in South America more than 20 years ago as part of a project to identify alternative crops for farmers in Argentina. He then started cultivating the seeds commercially.

‘I hate to call it a miracle food because there are too many miracles that turn out not to be, but it almost is.

‘Literally, you could live on this stuff because it’s pretty much everything you need,’ he told the BBC.

He said the seeds can be added to literally anything and added that his wife always sprinkles it on their salads.

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