The miraculous chia seed
Although the chia seed has recently piqued the interest of health experts, it has been around for centuries. Ancient Aztec and Mayan warriors used it to fuel their performance as it provided them with plenty of sustainable energy. Chia seeds have secured a leading position in the list of super foods that we revere and consume today. In this article, we will address the benefits of chia and how we can incorporate it in our cooking.
Despite their size, chia seeds are nutrient dense and offer a myriad of benefits. Here are a few:
- They are an excellent source of protein. 28 grams (2 tbsp) of chia contains 4.4 grams of protein. They have more complete protein than any other grain. Along with Spirulina, it is the highest plant based source of protein. Chia seeds only contain a small amount of complex carbohydrates but lots of healthy fat and protein, making them extremely energizing.
- They are high in fiber. 28 grams (2 tbsp) of chia contains 11 grams of dietary fiber. This is not only essential to digestive health but also supports weight loss.
- They are loaded with antioxidants. This helps fight the production of free radicals, which contributes to premature skin aging and diseases like cancer.
- They are packed with omega-3 fatty acids. This helps reduce inflammation which is critical in fighting heart disease, joint pain and arthritis.
- They are rich in calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, all of which are essential for bone and oral health.
Chia seeds can be eaten raw, soaked in water, added to smoothies and puddings, or added to baked goods. Because they lack flavor, you can also sprinkle them on top of cereal, yogurt or vegetables.
One point to note is that chia seeds absorb 10 – 12 times of their weight in water so you need to soak them before you consume them or you might risk dehydration. To soak chia seeds, mix 1.5 tbsp of chia in one cup of water. Then, let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. You can also mix them with almond milk to create chia pudding.