Home Diet and Nutrition What is Chia Seeds?

Have you heard about a new rage in International food markets called Chia seeds? Everywhere people are talking about Chia seeds, Chia bars, Chia drinks and Chia snacks!  They have become very well known and demanding within the last few years

Chia is a species of flowering plant in the mint family.

The word Chia is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily. From centuries, people in Mexico and Eastern Europe are using them for various medicinal purposes.

This tiny seed is a powerhouse of energy. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

An ounce (28 gram) serving of Chia seeds contains

  • 9 grams of fat,
  • 5 milligrams of sodium,
  • 11 grams of dietary fiber and
  • 4 grams of protein.

The seeds also have 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27% phosphorus and 30% manganese.

It also has vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin E and calcium.

There are more than 7 types of Chia seeds discovered till now but black and white Chia seeds are most common and also the most popular types.

Let us have a look at some of the health benefits of this wonder seed:

  • Chia seeds are beneficial for heart patients because it can control high blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol from the body.
  • The daily consumption is very helpful for diabetic type 2 patients because it produces healthy effects on gallbladder and pancreatic follicles.
  • This seeds are very rich in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, other essential minerals and vitamins. Its omega 3 properties make it a healthy product, so it’s a good source of getting instant energy.
  • Its anti-inflammatory characteristics keep you away from various kinds of acute and chronic infections. They  are also very useful for kidney and bladder infections
  • They are low in calories and its high value nutrition properties boost up your metabolism, so it’s very useful diet to reduce weight. Actually, the feeling of fullness after eating those seeds aids in weight control as well as weight loss.
  • Chia seeds contain much more antioxidants properties than blueberries and red grapes so it’s a very good food for cancer patients.

For centuries these seeds were “the running food” of ancient Aztecs and Tarahumara Indians of Copper Canyon. They ate this food in various forms. I would like to specially mention a drink called iskiate (iss-key-ah-tay), or Chia fresca..

It’s actually made up of water, Chia seeds, lemon or lime juice, and sweetener.

 

When Chia seeds are kept soaked in water for some time, gelatinous coating forms around the seed. This is very similar to a tomato seed. This makes it easy to swallow so the seeds don’t get stuck in the throat
It’s so much more fun than drinking plain water! It can be prepared in following method:

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water or coconut water
  • 1.5 tbsp Chia seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Sweetener, to taste (I like 1/2 tbsp maple syrup)

1. Add Chia and water into a jar or glass and stir very well to combine them.  Let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the seeds to swell up. It’s preferable to use a jar with a lid so we can shake it up really well and break up the clumps of Chia.

2. Add lime or lemon juice and sweetener to taste. Stir (or shake) well to combine and enjoy the drink!

 

Note: Chia seeds will sink and collect at the bottom of the glass quickly. Give it a good stir as needed.

 

Other ways of using them in your food:

  • These seeds are easy to carry with you and are readily available online or in health food stores. Now the big question, how do they taste? They taste like flaxseed and they are kind of nutty.
  • Chia seeds may be added to other foods as a topping or put into smoothies, oatmeal, and yogurt, made into a gelatin substance, or consumed raw. Partly because there is no perceptible shell, addition of Chia seeds to other products may not alter taste.
  • Chia seeds do not need to be ground to be absorbed by the body and they can be stored for long periods of time without going rancid. You can also sprout them in much the same way as you sprout alfalfa seeds and use them in salads. They are edible and have the same health benefits as the Chia seeds.

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