Product Profile: Chia

Cha cha cha chia!  We’ve all heard of the chia pet but did you know the seeds inside were good for you?  Like, really good for you!  Before you go eating your chia pet realize that those seeds have chemicals on them to help with growth.  Instead you can find varieties of chia seeds at your Fort Street Hy-Vee HealthMarket.  Before I go over the reasons why chia is so great for you, let’s explore what chia seeds don’t do:

  1. You will not grow more hair by eating chia seeds.  Specifically green hair.
  2. Just because you eat chia seeds doesn’t mean you can fill the rest of your diet with ho ho’s and ding dongs.  It is a high nutrient food that is a great addition to a diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy and whole grains.
  3. It will not add a specific gourmet flavor to your meal.  Chia seeds really don’t have much in the way of taste which is actually a great thing.  You can add their nutritional boost to anything and not alter the flavor of what you are making.

Chia History

Though the chia pet first debuted in 1977, chia seeds themselves have been around much longer.  Between 1500 and 900 BC, chia was cultivated in central Mexico and grown into the 1700s. Authorities banned the use of chia seeds after the Spanish conquest because it was used in religious ceremonies as offerings.

Pre-Columbian Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a main part of their diet. Aztecs used the seed to stimulate the flow of saliva and to relieve joint pain. Aztec warriors survived on rations of chia seed – it was light, easy to carry in small pouches, and provided them energy and endurance. Indians who lived in what is now southwestern United States would chew on chia seeds during forced marches or on trade missions, running from the Colorado River to the west coast. These seeds were valuable enough to be used as trade currency and potent enough to prevent infections and stimulate healing when used as a poultice for gunshot wounds & injuries. Now whether the stories of 1 tablespoon sustaining a man for 24 hours are true or not, it is clear that the chia seed has some important nutritional properties. (source: healthyfoodforhealthyliving.com)

Chia Seed Benefits

As I mentioned before, chia has a myriad of health benefits, those of which include:

  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids – even more than flax seed
  • Antioxidants – in fact, chia seeds are so rich in them that they can be stored for long period of time without going bad
  • Fiber – mainly soluble which helps to lower your cholesterol levels and help prevent diverticulitis.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc

Also, chia seeds do not have to be ground like flax for you to enjoy all their health benefits.  They can also soak up ten times their weight in water, so you can understand how they can help with weight loss.  They are very filling.   When soaking up water, the seeds form a gel which can help balance blood sugar by slowing down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars.

That gel can also be used to bake with less fat.  Whisk together 1 or 2 Tbsp chia seeds with 1 cups of water.  Let sit for 15 minutes, re-stir and you have chia seed gel!  You can then use that gel to replace 1/2 the fat in your recipes.  As you can see, with chia the possibilities are endless.

How Do You Use Chia Seeds?

How do you NOT use chia seeds?  Honestly, you can add them into anything.  And as I mentioned before, they can be used as a fat replacer when turned into a gel.  But there are also other great chia seed recipes available for you to utilize this magnificent seed.

Endurance Crackers

Basic Oatmeal Squares

 

 Chocolate Chia Pudding

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Balls 

 Berries and Cream Chia Pudding

Hope you all enjoy!

-Lindsay

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