Salvia hispanica seed is marketed most often under its common name “Chia,” but also under several trademarks.
Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, since the seeds yield 25-30% extractable oil, including α-linolenic acid (ALA).
Chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. Additionally, insects hate the chia plant, so it’s easy to find organic seeds.
Chia Seeds Are Really Good For You
Chia seeds have been in health food stores since the 1970s at least, but they weren’t promoted until recently because the medical community now understands that fiber, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein are components to healthy bodies.
Dr. Oz from the Oprah show says: The truth is, chia seeds are actually good for you– we’re talking really good for you! In fact, they just may be one of the healthiest things around.
In a one ounce (28 g) sample, dried chia seeds contain 9% of the daily value for protein (4g), 13% fat (9g) (57% of which is ALA) and 42% dietary fiber (11g), based on a daily intake of 2000 calories.
How You Might Eat the Seed
The tiny seeds of the chia plant can be eaten right out of the bag, sprinkled on hot cereal and used in baking, for a nutritional boost comparable only to flax seed in Omega 3 and dietary fiber content.
You can 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.”
To make your own “chia fresca,” drink: Stir 2 teaspoons of the seeds into 8 to 10 ounces of water (you’ll end up with a slightly gelatinous liquid). Add lemon/lime and sugar to taste. I’ve made this simple recipe at home and it tastes delicious!
Use For Weight Loss, Diabetes, and Running
Eating chia helps so many different types of groups in a good way. If you want to lose weight, consuming chia seeds have been shown to help people feel fuller longer. And also by delaying the increase in blood sugar of foods that you consume with chia seeds.
Scientists believe chia may have great benefits for diabetics. Chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, and studies indicate they can help control blood sugar.
Chia even helps runners maintain their speed and endurance over longer distances, as it helps keep their body more hydrated throughout a run.
Chia Seeds an Early Look
Chia seed was one of the three primary foods of the ancient Aztecs, Mayas, Tehuantepecs, and Indians of what is now the American Southwest.
In pre-Columbian times, chia seeds were a component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors; they even played a role in religious ceremonies.
Eating the seeds was a Native American way to run long distances when traveling across North America.
I hope this brief discussion on chia seeds will prompt you to explore more about the wonderful seed that is chia.