Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Are Chia Seeds?

Believe it or not, I was introduced to Chia Seeds by my mother who learned about them from the Dr. Oz show.  She jumped on the bandwagon a lot quicker than I did, but after hearing about all the healthy benefits associated with these little guys, I am now a Chia convert as well.

So let me tell you a little about Chia Seeds in case you were like me and had never heard of this superfood before...

We can thank the Mayan Aztecs for our Chia Seeds.  They were the first civilization to recognize their greatness and incorporate them into their diet.  "Chia," by the way is the Mayan word for "strength."

  • Good source of protein & fiber
  • Good source of B vitamins, calcium & potassium
  • Contain phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, niacin & zinc
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Low glycemic index, helps control blood sugar levels
  • Contains boron which aids in the metabolism of calcium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus for bones and muscle growth
  • Contain the highest concentration of the ALA fatty acid (55-64%), which may help promote cardiovascular health

  • Stabilize or boost energy
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lose weight by creating sense of fullness
  • Natural detoxifier
  • Aides in digestion
  • Fights the effects of aging
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Cleanse colon, remove toxins and aid with regeneration
  • Early cancer research shows promise in this area

Better Than Flax Seed?

Chia Seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and some believe are a better source than Flax Seed.  And unlike Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds are shelf-stable and hold up much longer and better.  Flax Seed, if you don't know, needs refrigeration after opening as the oils can go rancid rather quickly.  Also, in order to reap the benefits of Flax Seed, the seeds must be ground as our teeth cannot break through the husk and therefore will be digested whole if eaten in whole form with little nutritional benefit.  Chia Seeds on the other hand do not require grinding to reveal their inner goodness nor will blending as part of a smoothie diminish their nutrients.

How To Use Them

When hydrated (soaked in liquid), Chia Seeds will increase in size by 10 times and will form a gelatinous outer layer which lends it self well to homemade puddings!  I enjoy the squishy outer layer and teeny, tiny crunchy inside, it's an interesting take on yin and yang.

Chia Seeds have a somewhat nutty flavor and a very gelatinous texture when hydrated.

Add to:
  • Cereal
  • Smoothies
  • Juices
  • "Milk" Shakes
  • Oatmeal
  • Soygurt
  • Salad Dressing
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles
  • Rice dishes
  • Baked goods
  • Water - drink it straight!

  • Pudding - try Hoff's Chocolate Chia Pudding!
  • Chia Fresca (classic Mexican drink) - mix Chia in water w/lemon or lime juice and a little sugar
  • Gluten-free flour for baking by grinding seeds

Some have even mixed the seeds with water to use as an oil/fat replacement in some recipes.

If you choose to use Chia Seeds without soaking first, be sure to consume ample amounts of water as they will soak up the moisture in your body.

Chia Pet?

Yes, the Chia Seeds that you eat and the very same seeds that have made the Chia Pet so enduring all these years...the Aztecs are rolling over in their graves.

Ch, Ch, Ch, Chia Seed!
The Hoff


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