|Chia, Quinoa the Superfoods|
Superfoods what are they..? Why are they suddenly so popular..? How can they keep us healthy..? This article will introduce you to two of the major players in the Superfoods group, Quinoa & Chia Seeds.Most of us have become familiar with the names Quinoa (pronounced Kin-Wa) and Chia Seeds (pronounced Chee- Ah). These two foods have become increasingly popular in recent times. Although tiny in size, they pack a mighty punch when it comes to beneficial healthy ingredients. In recent years they have gained so much good publicity from the health industry, that it has lead to many food companies adding them to their breads, cereals, baby foods, juices, health bars and biscuits.
Quinoa is a native, ancient seed (although it is often labelled as a grain, botanically it is actually a seed) from a plant found in the Andean Mountain region. It's history dates back over 5000 years. Although it has been a staple part of the South American Indians diet for a very long time, in the Western World it is a welcome newcomer and of great health benefit to our less than healthy, highly processed diets. The reason it is has earned the title of being a Superfood, is due to it being a vegetarian food source that has the highest, complete, protein level of any grain, (a complete protein is a protein that contains all the essential amino acids) making it an excellent source of protein for vegans and vegetarians. There are countless quinoa recipes on the web, as it can be used in much the same way as rice, pasta and cous cous.
Quinoa also has a high level of lysine, an important amino acid needed by our bodies for tissue growth and repair. It has higher levels of iron than other grains and is a good source of manganese, zinc, some B vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and B6 as well as Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, copper and phosphorus. Because of it's content, many health professionals consider Quinoa to be of health benefits for people with conditions such as Diabetes, Migraines, Atherosclerosis and Heart Disease. Quinoa is also an alkaline grain, high in fibre and gluten free. The carbohydrates in Quinoa are slow releasing, so they keep you feeling full for longer. Quinoa comes in 3 colours, white, black and red. The seeds have a bitter Saponin coating that should be washed off thoroughly before cooking. It is extremely versatile and you buy it in its pure seed form, or in flake or flour form.
They also are high in antioxidants, fibre (both soluble and insoluble), protein and all of the 8 essential amino acids, as well as other non-essential amino acids. This tiny seed is also packed with vitamins, minerals and trace elements. They contain more calcium than milk and double the amount of potassium than a banana. Chia seeds are also a good source of folate, iron, B12, magnesium and phosphorus. Another benefit is that they are gluten free. http://www.ihealthdirectory.com/chia-seeds/
When the seeds are left to soak in water they turn into a highly nutritious, tasteless gel, which can be added to anything from smoothies, juices and yogurts through to soups, salad dressings and even herbal teas. They are also a great addition to cakes, breads and muffin recipes.
Important to Notes : While we love Chia Seeds and use them all the time, there are a few precautions you should take. If your Chia Seeds smell or taste fishy, this is a sign not to eat them they have gone 'off'. The smell is due to the Omega 3's oils in the seeds going rancid and eating them can do more harm than good. The safety of using Chia Seeds whilst pregnant, or breastfeeding has not yet been established as there has not been enough studies done to assure their safety. Likewise if you are at risk of prostate cancer you should avoid foods and supplement that contains omega-3 fatty acids called ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) which are present in Chia Seeds and Flax Seeds etc.. as there was one study done to suggest a link, that being said have now been other studies done to say that 'plant-based' sources of omega-3's are unlikely to raise the risk of cancer . Read here and make an informed decision.
Superfoods Healthy Banana Breakfast Cake
Here is my own homemade recipe for Superfoods Healthy Banana Breakfast Cake. My 4 yr old is a very fussy eater and being vegetarian I want to make sure she gets the proper nutrition and this cake has been a hit and is her, my husband and my toddlers, staple breakfast. Much healthier than cereal and toast!
4 organic free range eggs
1 cup organic rice milk
2/3 rds cup of organic olive oil
5 tablespoons of organic raw sugar
1 tbls organic cinnamon
7 tablespoons chia seeds
1.5 cups of organic cooked red or white quinoa
3.5 cups of organic wholemeal spelt flour ( you can choose any flour you like)
4 small organic bananas mashed
2 heaped teaspoons baking soda
Beat eggs and mash bananas with fork, add oil, rice milk, chia seeds and cooked quinoa. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon, sugar, baking soda and sift in flour. Mix well with a fork.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients together and mix well with a fork.
This mixture makes enough for two rectangle cake loaf tins (use silicone bakeware or Pyrex, stay clear of non-stick teflon coatings)
Bake for 45 mins on 175 degrees.
Note: this cake is very heavy and dense, more a bread than a cake.
You can also freeze the spare one and defrost it when needed overnight in the fridge.
Enjoy and send me a line or two on Facebook to let me know how it goes.