Chia seeds might not like much when you pick them up, but inside the walls of these tiny little black seeds lies a near infinite amount of nutrients.
If you’ve never heard of the chia seed, you’re in luck as we’re unveiling everything you need to know about this curious little seed, including its health benefits, nutritional information, how it can be prepared, as well as several healthy recipes.
What is the chia seed? Ever heard of the popular terra-cotta Chia Pet from the 90s? Then you’ve heard of chia seeds, which were the seed behind the fuzzy green-headed plants. The chia plant is in the mint family – although the two look nothing alike – and is native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds can be eaten raw, soaked, and incorporated into recipes in a variety of different ways. They pack so many vitamins and nutrients that they’ve practically been placed in a superfood category of their own.
Health benefits: For starters, chia seeds are incredibly high in antioxidants, omega 3 and 6, calcium and protein. The seeds absorb up to 10x their weight in water, which makes them ideal for keeping our bodies well hydrated. Just one ounce of chia seeds contains 4915mg of omega 3s – making them the most potent form of non-marine omega 3 fatty acids known to man. Chia seeds are also incredibly beneficial for healthy skin, hair and nails, and are a great form of insoluble fiber, which has been shown useful in lowering cholesterol and aiding in digestion.
Cooking methods: Unlike flaxseed, you don’t have to grind chia seeds up – they can be eaten completely raw and unprocessed. In this form, add them on top of just about anything, including toast, cereal, yogurt, salads and oatmeal. Another popular preparation method is soaking them and making a ‘gel.’ To do this, simply add 1/3 cup of chia seeds to 2 cups of water in a large jar or bowl and stir immediately to combine. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before placing in the fridge. Then scoop the gel out as needed and add to smoothies, oatmeal and a variety of other recipes.
Fear chia seeds no more and start incorporating them into your healthy diet today with these 10 delicious chia seed recipes!
April 29th, 2012