Healthy Chia Seed Facts
Most of us have become familiar with the name Chia Seeds (pronounced Chee- Ah). Although tiny in size, they pack a mighty punch when it comes to beneficial healthy ingredients.
In recent years Chia Seeds 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.
Chia Seeds Their History
Chia Seeds are the tiny white or blackish coloured seed of the Chia Herb, originally found in Mexico. They like Quinoa, also have a history that spans thousands of years. The Aztecs placed a very high value on this Superfood.
Chia Seeds Have The Highest Plant Source of Omega 3’s.
This tiny seed is also packed with vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
- Chia Seeds contain the highest plant source of omega – 3’s available
- They also contain high levels of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is thought to be very important for heart health and to ward off heart disease.
- They are high in antioxidants, fiber (both soluble and insoluble).
- Are a good source of vegan protein.
- Contain all of the 8 essential amino acids, as well as other non-essential amino acids.
- Chia Seeds contain more calcium than milk.
- They also contain double the amount of potassium than a banana.
- Chia Seeds are also a good source of folate, iron, B12, magnesium and phosphorus.
- Another benefit of Chia Seeds is that they are gluten free.
- Here is a link to the nutritional data of 1 ounce ( 28g) of Chia Seeds http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2
The Water Storing Wonder Of Chia Seeds. How To Make Chia Seed Gel.
Chia Seeds are amazing at storing water.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.
The ratio to make a Chia Seed Gel is one tablespoon of Chia Seeds to a cup of filtered water, stir and let the seeds swell.
Many vegans and vegetarians use Chia Seed Gel as an egg replacer.
Important – If you are are eating Chia Seeds dry and not as a gel, you should always drink plenty of water, as Chia Seeds absorb water and have a large fiber content, so if eaten dry without adequate water they can lead to dehydration and constipation, as they absorb the water in our bodies. This is especially important to be aware of in kids.
Keeping Chia Seeds Fresh & Chia Seeds Omega 3 Oils Unstable At High Heat.
*Important -Some people choose to bake with Chia Seeds, but as Chia Seeds contain EFA Essential Fatty Acids, they are not stable at high heats, so do not fry them and I personally believe you should not bake or boil them. Using them in a food dehydrator should be ok though.
Remember also that once the Chia Seed shell is compromised either by grinding or soaking in liquid the omega 3 oils are no longer stable and can go rancid quickly. So keep in the fridge and consume within no longer than a few days.
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.
Chia Seeds Safety
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.
One study has been conducted and suggested a link to cancer. That being said, other studies done, say that ‘plant-based’ sources of omega-3’s are unlikely to raise the risk of cancer. Read more about omega 3’s and prostate cancer link.
Chia Seed Uses
Chia Seeds can be added to any food as they are practically tasteless.
- Sprinkle Chia Seeds over cereals, salads, fruit salad and pasta.
- Stir them into dips
- Mix them with avocado, or coconut oil, or raw cacao or nut spread, as a healthy addition to sandwiches and wraps
- Add a tablespoon to your morning green smoothie
- Try out my Easy Organic Dark Chocolate With Chia Seeds Recipe. A delicious, healthy, crunchy, chocolate treat. Kids also love it. Also see my Organic Coconut Oil & Cacao Raw Bubble Slice Recipe and my Raw Cacao, Coconut Oil and Chia Seed Coconut Bark Recipe
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