Chia is native to South America. It has been a staple of Mayan and Aztec diets for centuries. Chia seeds are a balanced blend of protein, carbohydrates, fats and fiber. It’s is one of the highest known sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs help with the support of our immune, cardiovascular, nervous and reproductive systems.
Chia is known to beneficial for many reasons.
Chia is high in antioxidants. It also provides a hefty amount if minerals including B vitamins, vitamin C, as well as calcium, iron and potassium.
• Can help reduce blood pressure.
• Chia has anti-inflammatory properties. It aids in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins and reduces C-reactive protein (a protein that is created by the liver when inflammation has occurred in the body).
• Stabilizes blood sugar which can lead to weight loss.
Chia slows down the rate at which complex carbohydrates are absorbed and digested by the body. Chia is a soluble fiber. The seed absorbs water and expands to form a gel that will fill you faster, resulting in the consumption of fewer calories. Fiber and protein slow down the digestive process so hunger isn’t triggered as quickly as it is with sugars, starches and simple carbohydrates. As a result of this, your metabolism is boosted.
• Energy and Hydration
In the Mayan language, Chia means “strength”. Aztec warriors used Chia as their main source of fuel during conquest. Due to it soluble properties and the ability to stabilize blood sugar, your energy levels are steady and sustained. Chia is also known as “Indian Running Food”. It helps regulate the electrolyte balance, keeping you hydrated for long periods of time. Fitness enthusiast have become very aware of its benefits and are adding it to their routines rather than the other options.
• Aids in constipation
Chia is also an insoluble fiber. The insoluble part of it does not digest, which aids in constipation and other digestive disorders.
• Mental health
Omega – 3 fatty acids have been proven to increase brain function and decrease depression. So, incorporating it into your daily diet on a regular basis can improve your mental health.
Now that I’ve listed all the reasons to incorporate Chia into your diet, let me explain the versatilities of it. It can be eaten raw, roasted, ground or mixed.
• Chia can hold more than 12 times its water weight and is virtually tasteless. It is a chameleon for flavors, which is a dream healthy ingredient. You can put it in oatmeals, puddings, jams and any beverage of choice. A popular Chia infused beverage in Mexico that can be made in your own home is a “Chia Fresca”. This includes water, lemon and a sweetener of your choice (I recommend liquid stevia).
• Chia can be used as an egg replacer. This is especially beneficial for those that are watching their cholesterol. All you have to do is mix one tablespoon of Chia with three tablespoons of water and let it sit for 15 minutes. The mixture will be thick, as expected. This is to be done for each individual egg required. I personally love doing this for baking treats. This is a safer and healthier way for the little ones to lick the bowls and beaters clean 😊
Chia is a fantastic thickening agent. You can use it in place of cornstarch to thicken gravies or soups. All you really need is a couple of tablespoons.
Sprouted Chia would me a wonderful addition to any salad or sandwich.
Making your own sprouted Chia is fairly simple. Just take a wet plate and sprinkle the seeds all over. Every 12 hours or so, sprits the seeds with a little water. Just enough to moisten them. You’ll see a gel coating on each of the seeds. Within a couple of days, the shell will crack and the sprout will begin to grow. Seems simple enough, right?!
These are just a few suggestions of a hundred ways to incorporate Chia into your diet. Your options are only limited by your imagination!
Look here for more information on complex vs. simple carbohydrates.