Cha Cha Cha Chia Seeds!
Chia pets are no longer a holiday gag gift. The little seeds used to sprout your favorite chia pet have REAL nutritional value. Chia seeds have been around FOREVER! Seriously, they date back to 3,500 B.C. in Central America.
Chia Seeds – The Benefits
Complete protein: Chia seeds are a plant-based COMPLETE protein. They are also the RICHEST plant source of omega 3 Fatty Acids. Did you know that by weight, they even have more omega 3′s than salmon?
Chia seeds can help balance your blood sugar: If you eat chia seeds with a meal or in your smoothie, they can help balance your blood sugar. Their unique combination of soluble and insoluble fiber (1 ozs contains 11 grams of fiber, 42% of the RDA) combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars along with their high protein content, they help to balance your blood sugar level and give you steady energy levels.
High in Calcium: By weight, they have MORE calcium than whole milk. They also contain magnesium and boron which help your body to absorb the calcium. Anti-oxidants? YES! Like blueberries but are much more versatile in terms of cooking and baking with them.
Chia seeds may AID in weight loss: In addition to MANY nutritional advantages, chia seeds may also aid in weight loss. The reason is that chia seeds have a high fiber content and absorb water up to 50 times their weight, expanding in your stomach giving you the feeling of being full for hours all while eating less. The downside is that it can leave you feeling bloated.
All of this is GREAT, but how should you use them?
You can add chia seeds to any food: You can add them in their raw state to ANY foods; Use them whole or ground in smoothies, yogurt, pancakes, stir-fry, cake mixes (think poppy seed),mix with ground turkey meat to make meatballs, the possibilities are endless. You can substitute chia gel (see below for recipe) for butter and oil in your favorite recipes, by using half chia gel and half butter or oil called for in the recipe. Due to the high antioxidant content, they are also a natural preservative, so your baked goods will last longer. Because they have no flavor, you can use the seeds in all your cooking including sauces, salad dressings, dips, whatever you love to eat or drink
A GREAT sports drink replacement? Forget costly sports drinks. Here is something to try: soak 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in water for 15 to 30 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Stir the mixture into your water to keep you hydrated during your long run, hike, or strenuous workout.
How much should I eat? A serving size is 1 tablespoon of seeds. One tablespoon of seeds makes approximately 9 tablespoons of gel. A serving size is only 68 calories but has 2 grams of protein. That being said, if you are trying to REPLACE your protein serving with chia seeds, you need to have a lot of them 2 grams of protein is NOT enough to replace other sources.
How to store them? Raw, they can be stored at room temperature for up to two years. Toasted, you should store them in an air-tight container (jar or plastic ware) out of sunlight. If you won’t eat them within two months, put them in the refrigerator.
How to prepare them? They can be eaten raw, they have a VERY mild, nut-like flavor. They can also be ground (use your coffee grinder, blender, or food processor) or toasted (bake at 375 on a baking sheet, stir often, until toasted.
Want to make a Chia gel?
1-2 Tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup of liquid (water, fruit juice, milk, soy milk, vegetable broth, egg)
Combine seeds and liquid in a bowl and whisk with a fork so they don’t clump together. Whisk again a few minutes later. Let stand 10-15 minutes for a thick, gel consistency.
There is a downside to eating chia seeds: The high fiber content can cause bowel irritation and bloating in people that are not used to eating lots of fiber in their diets (fruits, veggies, whole grains). As mentioned earlier, they can cause bloating too. Also make sure you buy the seeds from a trusted source as they are a raw product from Mexico or central America and food handling standards and fertilizers used are not always the best.
Not ideal if you are on blood pressure medicine: Chia seeds can also lower blood pressure. Great, RIGHT? If you are taking blood pressure medication, the seeds may lower your pressure TOO much which can be very harmful. People with heart conditions should also check with their doctors due to the interaction of chia seeds with blood thinning medications.
Excuses or solutions… YOU decide!
For Smoothie and Juice ideas that you can add chia seeds to, look HERE
About Natalie Jill
Natalie Jill helps people across the globe reach their health, fitness, life and business goals. Natalie is a well known Licensed Sports Nutritionist and Certified Personal Trainer who was diagnosed as having Celiac Sprue over 12 years ago, and that is why she specializes in weight loss consulting and helping people with food allergies and intolerance’s. Learn how Natalie handled adversity and find out how she "made her own luck". Ready to change your life today? Start by CLICKING HERE.