The Antioxidants That Give Chia the Edge
Chia is chock-full of naturally occurring antioxidants that really give it the edge when it comes to packing nutrients into small spaces. Antioxidants protect delicate essential fatty acids from oxidation. Unlike other plant sources of omega-3s, such as flaxseeds, chia doesn’t require added artificial antioxidants in order to remain fresh.
So, chia seeds remain fresh longer and don’t require refrigeration, thanks to their abundance of natural antioxidants.
One measure that has been developed to describe overall antioxidant capacity of foods is called oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Chia seeds have a relatively high ORAC value, ranging from 60 to 80 micromoles. The antioxidants found in chia include flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin) and the phenolic acids (chlorogenic and caffeic acid).
These antioxidants have significant value to human health — they’ve been shown to reduce oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body, thus helping to prevent the onset of common degenerative diseases.