There has been increasing talk over the last few years about Chia Seeds. They are not only creeping into grocery stores but also into packaged goods everywhere. What is this newly found super food? Well, at least part of the answer may be surprising.
The seeds come from the Salvia hispanica plant, found in Mexico, and is actually a member of the mint family. In case you were wondering, these plants are the same ones marketed to everyone as the beloved Chia Pet. At that time, people overlooked the benefits of the tiny little seeds from which those entertaining plants sprouted. Let’s explore these tiny treasures a little further.The really big shocker here is that these seeds are not new at all.
In fact, the Aztecs and Mayans utilized Chia seeds centuries ago to provide their warriors with stamina and endurance. The first known usage was around 3500 B.C. Supposedly, the ancients believed that just a tablespoon of these seeds would sustain them for about 24 hours. During the 16th century, the seeds were banned by the Spanish due to the close affiliation with Aztec religion. Until recently, only small regional crops still existed. Today, the Chia seed business is booming.
So what did they know then that we are starting to understand now? Chia seeds are higher than flax seed in Omega 3 fatty acids, they also contain Omegas 6 and 9. They also boast higher fiber and protein than many of their grain counterparts such as oats, rice, and barley. Iron, calcium and a variety of antioxidants round out this nutritional powerhouse.The antioxidants make it so shelf stable that it can be stored up to two years without going rancid. Chia is said to be helpful in stabilizing blood sugar, for weight loss, and with increasing energy. The Aztecs and Mayans found numerous medicinal and nutritional uses for these seeds.
Chia seeds have a nutty flavor and can be used whole or ground. They are great sprinkled on salads, ice cream, and yogurt. They can be added to beverages or used in cooking. Add them to your breakfast smoothie for an added nutritional boost. They even make a great egg substitute by using 1 tablespoon Chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water.
In Columbia, Chia seeds are sold at Natural Grocers and Clovers Natural Market. They are available in both seed and ground form. Either form is great and can be used in a variety of ways. If you get the whole seeds, the versatility increases since you can always grind them if you want. If you have not already tried these tasty treasures, now is the time. If you tried them before but don’t include them in your regular diet, consider giving them another chance. These are not just a fad food, they are a healthier way of life.
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