Reaping the Benefits of Chia Seeds

Let’s Cha Cha Chia!

chia

Perhaps you’ve already tried chia seeds— or at least heard about this very popular superfood. If not, then maybe in a few minutes you could turn into a new fan of this exuberantly healthy little seed!

Chia seeds belong to the mint family (surprising as it may sound!) but unlike mint, it almost has no flavor, which makes it easy to add to almost any recipe, from beverages to foods, so you can boost your nutrient intake! Its long history can be traced back to Mexico and Guatemala—where the word Chia actually means “strength” in the Mayan language—and is said to have been used by both the Mayan and Aztec cultures for supernatural powers.

Many studies have recently been done to understand the advantages of chia on health, and the secret fell into the different components of its nutrient-dense composition: 1 Serving of Chia, which is around 2 tablespoons (approximately 1 oz or 28g) is packed with 5g of Omega 3 fatty acids, 11g of fiber, 4.4g of protein, antioxidants, 18% of the daily value for calcium and many more minerals for 138 calories. Yep, that’s rather calorific, but then again think of the value behind one serving of chia, considering the seed’s amazing nutrient density.

Having said this, chia seeds are no doubt beneficial in maintaining bone health, promoting a healthy digestive system, and bringing on satiety. The high content of omega 3 also helps in supporting a healthy heart (by raising  HDL and improving cholesterol levels) and maintaining healthy brain functioning (for more on the benefits of Omega 3’s, check out our section, Omega’d). Containing a potent antioxidant as well, chia seeds help in fighting diseases naturally. This also gives the seeds a longer shelf-life, especially when compared to flax seeds, which may go off in a shorter period of time. In an NSRI study, it has been reported that the nutrition analysis of white and darker chia seeds were almost identical; however, the darker Chia had an additional important antioxidant, the flavonoid quercetin (which is also found in garlic and onions). Therefore, it is best to get a combination of dark and white chia seeds and to avoid the red seeds (immature chia) for optimum results.

What more is that when combined with liquid, chia seeds form a gelatinous paste/coating; when consumed, it forms a stomach barrier that slows the absorption of sugar into the blood. By doing so, it controls the speed of sugar that enters the blood, hence stabilizing its levels.

Another advantage of chia is that it can be used as a substitute for eggs to help bind food together when baking, especially for vegetarians and vegans (1 tablespoon=1egg). It also serves as a nutrient-rich thickener in soups, and it adds fluffiness to gluten-free flour (or any other flours).

You also have the option of choosing between whole or ground chia seeds. When it comes to either benefits or taste, they are both exactly the same, as they both don’t taste like anything at all. However, if you don’t want them stuck in your teeth or in the blade of your smoothie blender, then I guess the ground version of chia is best–for convenience.

Ground chia seeds

Ground chia seeds

Indeed, Chia has amazing nutritional benefits that can be reaped in numerous ways. So just in case you were wondering about how to start, you may want to check out our chia-lemon cake and morning smoothie !

For a great energizing morning smoothie, here is a recipe inspired by Dr. Oz’s 2-week detox program. It’s not exactly the same as the diet’s recipe, but it’s just as nutritious, yummy, and convenient (we substituted almond milk with Greek yogurt and added a tablespoon of ground chia). Simply mix the following ingredients, and blend for about 1 minute:

1 cup Greek yogurt (plain, 0% fat)

1/2 banana

1/2 cup blueberries (preferably frozen)

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

1 tbsp ground chia seeds

 

Morning smoothie with ground chia and flax seeds--inspired by Dr. Oz (from his 2-week detox diet plan)

Morning smoothie with ground chia and flax seeds–inspired by Dr. Oz (from his 2-week detox diet plan)

 

lemon-chia cake

lemon-chia cake

Enjoy!

Sana and Roula

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Chia Seed Benefits, Nutri-Nut

One Comment on “Reaping the Benefits of Chia Seeds”

  1. September 12, 2014 at 2:29 am #

    been feeding chia seeds to my doggies aswell and can’t wait for my daily chia pudding now with delicious fruits!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: