You've probably heard all the hype about chia seeds. They're popular little things nowadays, but rightly so. They may be small, but they are mighty! I highly recommend trying them if you haven't yet. Here are some ways to eat them and some of their benefits.
Where do chia come from?
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. In past history, they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. They would eat chia and run with energy for hours and days. One tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours! It is said that the Aztecs also used chia medicinally to relieve joint pain and sore skin.
How do they benefit me?
- Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds.
- Chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid.
- Chia seeds provide tons of fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. Whew! That's a lot of great stuff!
- Chia seeds also support healthy digestion and proper absorption of nutrients and aid in maintaining hydration throughout the body.
Another benefit: when added to water and allowed to sit for a while (30 minutes even), chia seeds forms a gel/pudding substance. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place when they are in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar, helping stabilize blood sugar levels, lessen cravings, make you feel full longer and giving you long lasting energy. You can also use this gel in baking in place of oils or butters!
Chia seeds are also high in protein, making them a great resource for vegetarians, vegans or raw foodists If you have an active lifestyle, are vegan and/or an athlete, I highly recommend adding these to your diet!
How do I eat them?
You can add them to pretty much anything you eat or drink. I love adding them to my fresh squeezed juice, my tea, my water, my kombucha, my kefir, my yogurt, my salads, my veggies, my almond milk, and so on. Sprinkle them on anything you want! They won't alter the flavor. One of my favorite ways to eat them is the simple, healthy and delicious chia seed pudding. See my recipe here.