I have been doing some research on Chia seeds… (pronounced “chee-ya” – Yes, as in “cha-cha-cha-CHIA PET“) and discovered some amazing things about them.
History: Chia seeds come from a flowering plant belonging to the mint family. “Chia” is the Mayan word for strength. Chia is native to Mexico and Guatemala and was cultivated by the Aztecs and Mayans many years ago. One of the major Chia farms today is located in Australia (The Chia Co.). There are black Chia seeds and white Chia seeds. It doesn’t matter what color they are, they have the same nutritional value. This ancient superfood was used by running messengers, who would carry a small pouch of it on their runs. It’s been called “Indian Running Food” and provides long lasting energy. It’s no wonder runners are taking Chia seeds daily, including Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run. It provides the energy and endurance, nutrition and hydration runners need to get though a race.
Health benefits of Chia seeds:
2 times the protein of any other seed or grain
6 times the calcium of milk
2 times the amount of potassium as bananas
3 times the antioxidants in blueberries
3 times more iron than spinach
packed with huge amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 (100% more Omega-3 than salmon!)
41% of your daily fiber
6 times more iron than spinach
More Niacin than corn, rice and soy
It’s a gluten green whole grain – Perfect alternative to grains like wheat, barley, rye and oats. (great for baking!)
Daily Chia seed consumption can help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure
Increased energy levels, improved digestion and better complexion. It’s known to tone your muscles, boost mental sharpness and allow you to sleep better at night.
Chia Seeds can help you lose weight: Because of the high fiber and density from the way it absorbs water, Chia gives you a long lasting fullness to help prevent over eating. Less likely to get the muchies or cravings for junk food during though out the day! Great tip: Take 1 tsp Chia seeds in your drinking water 30 minutes before each meal. You won’t over eat at meal time. It’s also great in the evening to prevent those night time cravings for snacks.
Natural aid in controlling diabetes: If you soak the seeds in water, it forms into a gel form resulting in a soluble fiber known as mucilages. Science believes that this gel like texture is created in your stomach. This gel would create a barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, slowing the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar.
How to make Chia Gel:
1/3 cup of Chia seeds
2 cups of water
Wait 10 to 30 minutes and to see the Chia seeds transform into a gel
Stir it up a bit, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Use it in recipes and begin enjoying the benefits of Chia seeds! What’s great is it has very little taste to it. You can sneak it in your kid’s food, too!
The perfect before-the-gym endurance drink. Try it 30 minutes before your workout!
1 cup spring or filtered water
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
Whisk the chia seeds into the water and allow them to soak for 10-15 minutes. Stir in lemon or lime juice and agave and whisk well. Drink immediately. Makes 1 serving.
Tiffany Lee Bymaster (makeup artist, health nut and fitness enthusiast) loves Chia seeds… “I’m cuckoo nuts about Chia seeds! I first learned about it from a local ABC news story last year. What caught my attention in the story is that Chia seeds help make you feel full/satiated & I’m always fighting night time munchies so I had to try it out. I soak 1tablespoon of chia seeds in 1/2 cup of water for 1/2 hour. The chia seeds will bulk up & turn into a thick gel. I mix in 1/4 cup of pomegranate or acai juice & it’s my evening cocktail. It really does work to make you feel full & of course there’s a lot of other health benefits to chia seeds like the high omegas & fiber.
Since then I’ve found you can add (sneak) Chia seeds into just about anything, turkey burgers, Paleo “meatzza”, smoothies, steel cut oatmeal, sprinkled on top of yogurt, added into protein pancakes.”
Tiffany’s favorite Chia treat – Chia Pumpkin Bread
One box of pumpkin bread mix, 1 can organic pumpkin. Mix those two things together, the canned pumpkin replaces the oil & eggs. Mix chia seeds into batter & bake!
Candice Cendaña (PR & social media consultant, health advocate, vegan & runner) uses Chia in: Green smoothies, granola, parfaits, oatmeal before long runs, nut mixes for nut bars to carry while racing, and as part of fruit and veggie flushes (cleanses). “Chia seeds are a GREAT source of omegas, protein and fiber!” – Candice.
Chia seeds are my new daily staple. You can sprinkle it on your salads, in your yogurt or oatmeal or put them in your smoothie. I even added Chia gel to my jelly in my PB & J sandwich the other day. It makes for a great pre-work out drink and an evening anti-night-munchie potion. So healthy and nutritious. I look forward to my green smoothies every morning, to the point where I don’t even care for coffee anymore! I think the Chia seeds combined with the veggies and Vanilla Fit Frappe protein powder by Big Train is an awesome combo!
Here’s my latest favorite green smoothie:
6-8 ounces apple juice
1 handful of washed spinach leaves
1 stick of celery (I always have sliced celery in the fridge, soaked in water)
1 scoop of Big Train’s Vanilla Fit Frappe protein powder
2 teaspoons Chia seeds
Blend. Enjoy! It tastes sooo good. Don’t let the green color scare you. You don’t even realize you are drinking veggies because of the fruit and vanilla protein powder. I’m not kidding you, it tastes really good and it’s such a great way to start the day. If you haven’t tried a green smoothie, I highly recommend it!
Cheers to a healthy life!
P.S. Where did I buy my Chia seeds? I found my Chia seeds in the dry bulk area at Sprouts!
More info & sources:
Dr. Oz – Chia: Ancient Super-Seed Secret
Huffington Post article by Christina Pirello: Change You Life With Chia