Say hello to the small but mighty chia seed. Despite their size, chia seeds are among the most powerful superfoods on the planet and have been a sustainable source of energy for thousands of years.
Named after the Mayan word for “strength”, chia seeds have long been known for their vast nutritious qualities and their abundance of vitamins. Historians say that it was cultivated by the pre-Colombian Aztec people and was probably even as important a grain to them as maize is to us today. Most of the chia seeds available today are grown organically from a sustainable source, leaving you satisfied that you are eating and drinking a non-GMO product with little to no chemical interaction, from seed to plate.
Some of the benefits:
- High in essential oils and vitamins including calcium, zinc, copper, Omega-3, potassium and vitamin B (niacin, thiamine and riboflavin)
- Contains around 6 grams of Fibre per tablespoon – assisting in cleaning the digestive system and the regulation of bowel movements (also aids weight loss and are used to treat obesity
- Stabiliser of blood sugar levels and an excellent supplement for diabetes patients who require insulin
- Helps to raise HDL cholesterol levels (the good one) meaning it aids in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes
- Known to increase serotonin, energy rates and skin clarity
Chia seeds can be used as a garnish on most meals or made into breads, smoothies, granola bars, cakes, tortillas, cereals and yogurts. They are also a key ingredient in the world famous Aguas frescas drinks which are very popular in Mexico and the United States (cold beverages containing seeds, flowers, fruits and cereals).
Below are a few simple ways in which chia seeds can be used on a daily basis to facilitate your healthy lifestyle.
Chia seed smoothie:
Blend 1 sliced banana and a handful of frozen raspberries or strawberries in your food processor along with 400ml of coconut or almond milk. Add a tablespoon of honey and a squeeze of lemon, along with 3 tablespoons of chia seeds. Blend until smooth and pour into a glass and enjoy this delicious, nutritious drink. There are many smoothies you can make with chia seeds, have a play around with different ingredients until you find the right blend for you (spinach and kale are excellent additions for green smoothies).
Puddings and deserts
Perhaps one of the most popular ways of integrating chia seeds into your diet is by using them in your puddings and deserts. Chia seeds can be used as a topping for most puddings (including ice-cream sundaes, pavlova, lemon meringue pie and flapjack) and also used to bake cakes. Adding a good handful of chia seeds to any cake batter will improve the taste, texture and nutrition of your family favourites.
With the rising overuse of the enzyme in our stomachs that is responsible for breaking down carbohydrates such as wheat, we are moving towards healthier, gluten-free products for our nutrition and staple source of carbs. Using chia seeds in your bread mix is a great way to eliminate these carbohydrates without sacrificing any flavour and adding texture with a wholesome bite. There are many recipes available for chia seed gluten free bread which are excellent alternatives to using wheat which give you peace of mind that what you are eating is actually what your body needs, not something that it struggles to digest.
Thanks to the ancient knowledge of pre-Colombian South America, we are able to see the huge health benefits of using chia seeds, and they should undoubtedly have a permanent space in all of our kitchens.
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