Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chia Seeds

When I used to hear the word Chia I would immediately think of the pet, but since learning more about this powerful seed I think less of the pet (though the jingle does still come to mind) and more about OMEGA-3's!!!

I know, who would have thought a plant that was fun to grow as a child would one day become something I well planted in my own body. 

A few months ago I started reading articles and seeing features on TV shows saying, "Super Food: Chia Seeds, the New Flaxseed" 

At this time I had been incorporating flax seeds into my diet for a few months and was curious as to what was so great about chia seeds. Here are a few key items. 

- Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds
- Chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don't deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body
- Chia seeds provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
- When added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.
- Chia has a nutlike flavor

Some ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet:
- Sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or salads, eat them as a snack
- Grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods
- Add to a smoothie or a juice 
- Mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sugar to make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as "chia fresca" 
- Or toss them in a bottle of water when going for a run

Any way you add these to your diet will be beneficial! I like to start my day with a fresh green juice with a tablespoon of chia seeds!


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