Finally an alternative to Flaxseeds... chia seeds

If you're ready to swap flaxseed for an alternate source of the heart-healthy omega 3 , try chia seeds.

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Many of us have been adding two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds to our muesli for a while now to get our dose of omega 3, enjoying the metabolism-boosting, heart-healthy and beautifying affects of this essential fatty acid. Studies in the US show that omega 3 deficiency is a significant contributor to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, senility and arthritis.

The challenge is that omega 3 is not found in many foods, and the foods that it is in are seeds and oily fish - not for everybody.

While flaxseeds are an easy way to get omega 3s there is a new seed that is increasingly available in the UAE (try local health food and speciality stores) that is even richer in omega 3 and has extra nutritional goodness, too.

Chia seeds are tiny seeds bursting with omega 3, protein, fibre and more calcium than skimmed milk and vitamins. The American cardiologist and television host Dr Mehmet Oz is a strong advocate for chia seeds, confirming many of their health benefits.

Chia seeds also have a fantastic absorption capacity, which means when eaten they soak up the excess in our digestive system, regulating appetite and keeping our bowels very healthy and regular, a necessity for a flat stomach.

To enjoy Chia, simply sprinkle it over your breakfast. Or make Chia porridge: soak 3 tablespoons of chia seeds in a cup of liquid of your choice (almond/rice/oat milk, water or juice) for a few minutes, stir, and soak again for five minutes. You may need to adjust the liquid to get to your preferred texture but this makes your basic porridge. To this you can add any flavours like cinnamon, ginger or vanilla, you can also stir in things like dried fruits, cacao powder and shredded coconut. Omega 3s never tasted so good!

• Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to