Do any of you remember chia pets? Seen those warm and green and fuzzy things? If not, then let me clarify. Chia pets are American styled terracotta figurines used to sprout chia where the chia sprouts grow within a couple of weeks to resemble the animal's fur or hair.
The same fuzzy and green seeds have loads of other benefits, apart from looking cute by growing fast on a terracotta figurine of a pet. Let’s get started on today’s health train.
What is Chia?
When we say it like this, we get reminded of these novelty collectible items automatically. On the health and information note, chia seeds are edible seeds that come from a desert plant grown in Mexico, dating back to Mayan and Aztec cultures. Chia means “strength”, and as far as the folk tales go, these cultures use these seeds as energy boosters.
Chia seeds are unprocessed and whole grain food that can be absorbed by the body as seeds. They are full of nutrients. Also, these fuzzy, green seeds have a mild and nutty flavor, which makes it easy to add to foods and beverages of most types. You can sprinkle these on cereals, sauces, vegetables, rice, dishes or even yogurt. You can also mix these into drinks and baked goods. Want it simpler? You can mix it into water and make a gel.
10 Health Benefits of Chia Seeds:
- Increase fiber intake: Did you know that just 28 gm or 1 ounce of chia seeds has as much as 11 gm of dietary fiber? It is about a third of recommended daily diet intake for adults.
- Omega 3 content: An ounce of chia seeds contains about 5 gm of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are very important for brain health.
- Combat diseases: Did you know that chia seeds are considered a natural treatment for Type 2 diabetes? That is mainly because of its ability to slow down the pace of digestion. Also, the gel like coat that chia seed develops when exposed to liquids – can also prevent blood sugar spikes.
- Manganese! The “Oops I forgot all about it” nutrient: One serving of chia seeds, or around 28 gm, has 30% of your recommended intake of manganese. It is good for your bones and helps your body use up other essential nutrients.
- Get stronger teeth and bones: One serving of chia seeds contains about 18% of the daily recommended intake of calcium. I don’t think I need to emphasize on how important calcium intake is for your health.
- Phosphorous isn’t just a metal: Chia seeds contain 27% of your daily recommended intake of phosphorous, which clearly has a lot more value to our lives, than just being a metal.
- Proteins! Pack it all in: One 28 gm of chia seed serving contains 4.4 gm of protein, nearly 10% of our daily recommended intake.
- Fight that belly flab: Chia seeds have a stabilizing effect on insulin resistance, which is the main reason for your ever increasing belly size.
- Get your hunger fulfilled faster: How many of you felt guilty for hogging high calorie foods all up and later on burning it out at the gym? Chia seeds contain Tryptophan, the amino acid that helps regulate appetite, sleep and improves your mood.
- Listen to your heart: Chia seeds have shown to lower high blood pressure. They are also known to take the level of healthy cholesterol higher, while taking the unhealthy one down lower. This keeps your heart in good shape too!
Chia Seeds for Weight Loss
Till date, nothing official has been proved on this point. Scientists and researchers have observed the chia seeds intake of people of varying age groups, for specific periods. They did not pick any change in the weight of the body as a whole. Though it showed positive signs on count of all the benefits that chia seeds promise to give us. Probably, more research is needed before the weight loss theory can be officially certified.
Fun Recipes for the Super Food “Chia” in your Daily Diet
Now comes my favorite part. The health food and the “yum factor” associated with it. There are a many delicious ways of consuming this little wonder of nutrition. Let me just throw light on some of these:
Recipe Ingredient – Replace Egg with Chia Seed
To prepare any recipe with egg as an ingredient, you can add 1 tablespoon of finely ground Chia Seeds + 3 tablespoons of water, per egg, to replace it.
Soups and Gravies – Thicken those up!
Well, this will need a bit of work on your part, as you cannot use Chia seeds with the usual sprouters. Instead, try these:
- Sprinkle a thin layer of seeds on the bottom of an unlaquered terra cotta dish or plate.
- Put the terra cotta dish in a larger plate of water.
- Cover with another plate.
- Small amounts of water permeate the terra cotta plate upon which the chia seeds sit, and provide exactly the right amount of water to sprout them.
- On day 2, lightly mist the seeds (or sprinkle) with water.
- On day 3, they should be right to eat.
Chia Seeds + Chocolate Brownies/Truffle = Protein Bars
Need I elaborate further on the nutrition plus the super yummy flavor factor? I hope not. Sprinkle some chia seeds on your brownie and feel super energized!
Thicken your Omelette
This one is fairly easy. Add Chia seeds to beaten eggs, let those soak for 10 minutes and turn into a yummy thick and appealing omelette.
Cinnamon Chia Butter for your Toast
Add finely ground chia seeds to your nut butter, to increase its nutritional value. It will oomph up the taste and make the butter thicker and healthier. You can add it with cinnamon too, on you daily hot breakfast toast.
I am sure your mouth must be watering at these fun recipes that I shared here. These little wonder grains, have got it all, taste and nutrition. Include it in your diet, for a healthy lifestyle.
Wondering where to buy Chia Seeds? Click HERE!