Do you incorporate chia seeds into your diet? I put them into our daily smoothies to give them an added nutritional boost. In case you aren't familiar with these little seeds and their benefits, I want to share with you some information on why you may want to pick up a bag and start including them as part of your nutrition routine!
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that's native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds were once a diet staple of the Aztecs and Mayans because of its nutritional value and ability to provide sustainable energy. It's remained in regular use in its native countries, but was largely unknown in North America until researcher Dr. Wayne Coates began studying chia as an alternative crop for farmers in northern Argentina.
Dr. Coates started his work on chia in 1991, and since then has become an advocate of the tiny seed's health benefits. This powerful little seed is known as a 'superfood' because of its high calcium and dietary fiber content. It's also a good source of iron, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Chia seeds are a rich source of the B vitamins thiamine and niacin and a good source of the B vitamins riboflavin and folate. They are also rich in the dietary minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.
Chia seeds boost energy, stabilize blood sugar, aid in digestion, help to lower cholesterol, and assist with weight loss. They are super easy to use and can be eaten whole or ground. While flax seeds have to be ground before consumption in order to access their health benefits, chia seeds can just be eaten. Chia seeds also have a better conversion than flax seeds of omega 3s into the plasma or into the food. They also don't go rancid like flax seeds.
The mild, nutty flavor of chia seeds makes them easy to add to foods and beverages. As I mentioned, we add them to our smoothies, once we blend it up you don't even notice that they are in it. You can also add them to your oatmeal or granola, or sprinkle some on top of your salad.
When added to liquid chia seeds turn it into a gel-like substance which can serve as a natural thickener, so they work great when added to homemade salad dressings to thicken them up. They make great puddings and can also be used as an egg substitute. Chia seeds can be used to make an awesome sport recovery drink too that is a lot healthier than the store bought brands.
Chia seeds are an easy, versatile and nutritionally packed superfood! I would love to hear how you already use chia seeds in your diet or how you plan to incorporate them in the future. Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!!!