I recommend chia seeds quite often in my articles, talks and recipes. It dawned on me though, that I don’t always talk about the many benefits of chia, so I decided to make chia our super food of the month!
Commonly associated with Chia Pets™, chia seeds have amazing health benefits that are often kept quiet and hidden. The use of chia as food has been dated as far back as 3500 B.C., especially in Mexico, where chia was ground for flour, used in medicines and even pressed for oils.
When chia seeds are mixed with water, they form a gelatinous substance. This same substance is believed to form in your stomach when you eat them. The coating this creates, makes it harder for carbohydrates to be digested which in turn slows down the process of transforming carbs into starch and ultimately sugar.
Chia also has a tremendous ability to hold water – up to 12 times its weight. This helps our bodies to hold on to the water and moisture inside, giving strength and support to precious electrolyte balances.
Given the fact our bodies are mostly water, staying hydrated is incredibly important.
Other benefits of chia include:
- A rich source of omega-3 fatty acids
- A favorable .3 to 1 ratio of Omega 6 to omega 3 fats. Research shows that when you eat foods with more omega 6 fats than omega 3 fats, you are much more prone to inflammation, which causes pain and disease.
- An excellent source of calcium
- High in fiber content
- Rich in antioxidants
- Great source of protein
Chia seeds are fast becoming known as a superfood.
In the popular book, Born To Run, author, Christopher McDougall, tells us how chia seed is the secret food of the powerful runners of the Tumahumara tribe in South America. They make a drink called chia fresca, made with 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 12 ounces of water, lemon or lime juice and a splash of honey.
Chia has long been regarded as a superfood for athletes. Several studies with long distance runners and triathletes have shown superior performance in the groups that ate chia seeds over the groups that did not.
The uses of chia are almost limitless. Breads, crackers, puddings and sprouts are just a few ways to use chia seeds.
You can make a gel from the chia seeds by placing 1 cup of chia and 5 cps of water in a bowl and allowing it to seit for several hours or overnight until all the water has been absorbed and a thick gel is formed. This gel can be used as the basis for purring, added to smoothies or salad dressings or made into dehydrated crackers or crisps.
Chia seeds are available as white seeds or black seeds. There is no significant nutritional difference between the the colors. The black ones are more common. Chia seeds are also sold as Salba and Milo, at a much higher price. These are identical to chia seeds.
When purchasing chia, be sure you are getting organic or a very high agricultural standard chia. Those used for the Chia Pets, are generally loaded with pesticides and not suitable for consumption.
This month I’m including two of my favorite recipes: Chia Pudding and Chia Crisps. Watch my video on making chia pudding.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo, drritamarie.com, and the experts who have contributed. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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