The Chia Seed is an excellent source of fiber and packed with antioxidants, protein, and loaded with vitamins and minerals.
Chia is the richest known plant source of omega-3 fatty acids known.
Everyone can benefit from the wonderful nutritional qualities of this food as it is one of the most powerful, functional, and nutritious superfoods in the world!
When we think of this valuable food, we think of that famous Christmas gift advertised on TV as The Chia Pet.
Never did we think of this hilarious gift as such a powerful food!
Nutrition Benefits and History
2 Tablespoons Provide:
Chia Seeds come from the desert plant Salvia Hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows in southern Mexico.
In pre-Columbian times, they were a component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors; they even played a role in religious ceremonies. Supposedly, 1 tablespoon of the seeds could sustain a person for 24 hours.
The Aztecs also used it medicinally to relieve joint pain and skin conditions. It was a major crop in central and southern Mexico well into the 16th century, but it was banned after the Spanish conquest because of its association with the Aztec "pagan" religion. Over the past few decades, commercial production has resumed in Latin America. And here is more good news: Insects hate the chia plant, so it's easy to find organic seeds.
Unlike flaxseed, Chia Seeds can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid and don't require grinding (whole flaxseed is tough to digest). Chia seeds are a valuable food to hikers as they are light and easy to carry but provide a powerful nutritional boost.
In a preliminary study from the University of Toronto, researchers fed 21 diabetics either a supplement made from chia or grains with similar fiber content. After 3 months, blood pressure in patients taking chia dropped (10 points diastolic, 5 points systolic) while the grain group's BP remained steady.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy this super food is to add water to them and create a gel. This gel not only increases the nutritional benefit but can be added to many foods without notice for increased benefit to everyone consuming.
I can eat the gelled seed by the spoonful as it reminds me of a tapioca but it works well in smoothies and creates a texture in plain greek yogurt that is a real treat. The following recipe will hold one over for hours.
Add 1/2 Cup Chia Seeds to 2 Cups Water let sit for 4 hours until it is a gel. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
There are two types of chia seed, the white variety which are referred to as Salba. Dr. Wayne Coates of the University of Arizona is considered the world expert on chia seeds. He has done extensive research into chia and co-authored a book called Chia: Rediscovering a Forgotten Crop of the Aztecs. Dr. Coates claims there is no nutritional difference between the two.
A diet tip for you: if you struggle with hunger, keep a jar of gelled chia on hand and allow that to be your "go to" snack item. One spoonful can hold you over for a couple of hours.
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