Chia – Tiny Seeds of Health

To be completely honest, for the longest time I have been very skeptical about chia seeds… Not until a year ago when my curiosity prevailed over my restrain from the mindless “health-conscious” food flow, enticing almost all people around my age today. So, I bought a small package of chia seeds from a local organic foods store with not a single idea how I was going to make use of it…

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I must admit, since then I’ve been going back to this store regularly and coming home with larger and larger quantities of chia. I’ve been trying out different recipes and ways to incorporate it in my diet – the sprinkle of magic it adds to a meal is simply adorable. I’ve became a true chia enthusiast! :)

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Over the past couple of years chia seeds have been gaining increasing popularity among people from all around the world. Nowadays, everybody concerned with the nutrients they are putting in their body is well familiar with chia and the health benefits it contains for us humans.

Chia has been known to mankind for far longer than this.  The tiny black and white seeds from the Salvia hispanica plant have an extensive and rich history. The natural habitat of the chia plant is Mexico and South America where local people grow and consume chia as their national food. Chia seeds are an essential ingredient in the Mexican and Central American beloved drink chia fresca, in which the seeds are mixed into lime or lemon juice with added sweetener. Interestingly, chia is said to have been used by Mayan and Aztec cultures for good health, strength and stamina, and even supernatural powers.

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When combined with liquid, chia seeds expand and form a gel-like substance. The taste of chia seeds is mild and nutty. Sweet or savory, chia seeds combine well with other foods, adding more crunch and texture than flavor.

They can be used as a substitute for eggs in baked goods, which is particularly useful for vegans or those with egg allergies. Simply mix one part chia seeds to six parts water. About one tablespoon of this gel equals one large egg. Chia’s ability to gel is truly amazing!

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Health benefits of chia have been proven through generations of hale and hearty South Americans. Chia seeds are repeatedly referred to as a “superfood” – the reason for this is that chia is fairly denser in nutrients compared to other foods.

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*One tablespoon of chia seeds contains approximately 70 calories, along with a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein.

*They also contain all nine vital amino acids, which are the muscle-building protein structure blocks that our bodies need but don’t produce naturally—we have to get them through our food.

*And if that is not enough, consuming chia will bring into your body a decent amount of Calcium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

More than clear, the nutritional value of chia is indisputable.  And I personally think that there is something charming about these miniature seeds of health! :)

Have you ever tried chia? What your favorite recipes with the tiny seeds are? Let me know!

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