Largely overlooked by North America until recently, chia seeds have been around since 3500 BC. Discovered in central Mexico, chia seeds were a staple food of the ancient Aztecs, Incans, and Mayans. Chia has a rich history within these ancient civilizations and was valued so highly that it was even used as currency. A portable, high-energy food, chia was often taken into battle by warriors. In fact, the word “chia” means “strength” in Mayan. Though small, chia seeds are indeed a “superfood” and can easily be added to your diet as a healthy source of fiber, fat, and protein.
Chia seeds are small seeds with a neutral taste, ranging in color from black to white. Incredibly versatile, they can be sprinkled on your cereal, yogurt, salad, or whole grain dishes to add a lightly crunchy texture. When soaked, chia seeds become plump and take on the flavor of whatever is added to them, making them ideal for puddings, smoothies, or as a thickener.
Store in an airtight container after purchase.
One serving of chia has 4g of protein and is a complete source of vegetarian protein.
Chia seeds are rich in fiber. A high fiber diet has been shown to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, improve digestion, help to lower blood sugar levels, and contribute to healthy weight.
Chia can be sprouted and added to salads or eaten on their own. Sprouting seeds increases their digestibility and availability of nutrients.
Chia seeds are a good source of Omega 3 oils. According to the Mayo Clinic, Omega 3’s are beneficial to brain, immune, and cardiovascular health, and are thought to improve cholesterol levels.
Chia seeds are cholesterol-free, sodium-free, and low fat. They are anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy.
Chia is a fantastic source of magnesium, calcium and phosphorous necessary for the growth and maintenance of healthy bones.
The first “Chia Pet” was produced in 1977. Marketed as novelty gift, chia seeds are sprouted on terracotta figurines in various shapes (animals, pop-icons, even Presidential heads) and sold around the holidays each year.
In Mexico, they make a drink out of chia seeds and fruit juice called “Chia Fresca”.
Ground chia seeds can be used as an egg replacement in your recipes and is a perfect addition to low cholesterol diets. Just mix 1T of ground flax with 3 T water and let sit for 15 minutes to gel, and proceed as usual.