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   Oct 01

Aztec seed that can help you lose weight: Tiny chia seeds are high in nutrients, low calorie and hitting the mainstream

Chia seeds are nutritious and low in calories

Just a year ago, you would only have found chia seeds in health food stores, but the tiny, super-healthy seeds have gone mainstream — and can now be found in virtually every supermarket.

Retail analysts Mintel say the use of chia seeds as an ingredient in products has seen a ten-fold increase globally in the past five years.

The Chia Co, which produces 60 per cent of the world’s chia seeds on farms in Australia, Kenya, Nicaragua and Tanzania, has enjoyed 100 per cent year-on-year growth in turnover since 2003.

The seeds can be sprinkled on breakfast cereal, yoghurt, salads or cous cous, are high in protein and contain a wealth of health-promoting minerals and antioxidants.

Their nutritional qualities have made the seeds popular with athletes but they are low in calories, too, so are attractive to dieters.

Earlier this year, Tesco began selling five chia products and will be selling three more next month. Wholefoods buyer Rosie Goodson said: ‘Chia has had an incredible rise to mainstream prominence. We launched some chia products as a trial in 250 stores at the beginning of the year, and since then demand has grown, especially for the seeds, on a weekly basis by word of mouth.

‘We will be doubling the amount of stores that stock them later this year, and are also considering widening the range.’

Meanwhile, at Waitrose, nutritionist Joanne Lunn says: ‘We recently launched Chia seeds into our Waitrose LOVE Life range and we’ve already seen sales grow by 67 per cent.’

Chia, a plant from the mint family that develops both black and white seeds, is said to be one of the world’s oldest sources of nutrition, eaten by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans as early as 3500 BC.

Products containing chia include Burgen Sunflower and Chia bread (£1.40 a loaf, widely available), Chia Pods — dairy, sugar and gluten-free pots made with coconut milk and fruit (£2.49/170g, Tesco), Sunflower and Chia Rolls (M&S, £1.50 for four) and Helen’s Seeds for Cereal Milled Linseed, Gojiberry & Chia Seed (£2.69/230g, Ocado).

Source: Daily Mail

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