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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! ~ Chia Seeds the Ancient Superfood

By on July 26, 2018
chia-seeds

by Tami Raco CPT, CNWC

Little did we know that the popular sprouting grass pet-plants from the 1980s would later be recognized as a superfood! Chia seeds are an edible seed from a desert plant which is a close member of the mint family. Since 3500 BC, chia seeds have been a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diet and a survival food to Aztec warriors. Some say that one tablespoon of Chia seeds were believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours.

Chia seeds are deemed a modern day superfood due to their richness in fiber, healthy fats, protein, important minerals like calcium, zinc and potassium, vitamins like A, B, E, and D and an array of antioxidants. One ounce of chia seeds contains 137 calories, 12 grams of carbs of which nearly all of them are fiber (non-impact carbs), 8.6 grams of healthy fats (Omega 3) and 4.4 grams of protein.  The amazing nutritional profile of these tiny seeds can aid in digestion, slow insulin release, help control diabetes, improve heart health, increase energy and help build stronger bones and muscle tissue.

Chia seeds have a nutlike flavor and can easily be mixed into foods and drinks. They can be used whole, ground or soaked in water. Unlike flax seed chia seeds can be eaten whole. Simply add them to cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, protein shakes, rice dishes or on a salad.  Chia seeds can be ground in a coffee grinder and added to flour for baked goods and pastas. Be sure to store ground chia in sealed containers in the refrigerator to retain its health properties. Chia seeds soaked in water can hold up to 12x their weight. They are excellent to help prevent dehydration. They can also absorb water in digestion so be sure to drink with plenty of water. To soak chia seeds mix them with water in a 1:10 ratio, 1½ tbsp. to one cup of water. Let them soak for 1-2 hours and then mix into a smoothie or a drink. You can mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sweetener to make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as “Chia Fresca.”

Chia seeds are versatile, easy to use and pack a wallop of nutritional punch. Improve your healthy by adding up to 2 tbsp of chia seeds to your diet a day. Check our website www.greecenewsny.com for easy chia seed recipes.

Blueberry Chia Jam

Ingredients (Serves 6)
1 1⁄4 cup frozen wild blueberries
1 1⁄2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, add blueberries and maple syrup. Stir and cook the blueberry mixture for 10 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash blueberries.
  2. Next, add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and continue to cook and stir for about 2 to 3 minutes or until blueberry mixture resembles a jam consistency. Remove from heat and blend in vanilla extract. Refrigerate and use within a week.

Cucumber Chia Seed Salad

Ingredients: (Serves two)
1 large cucumber, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow sweet onion, sliced
4 ½ tbsp. rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp. sweetener of choice (Stevia, Splenda, agavenectar or sugar)
Salt, to taste
½ tbsp. chia seeds

Instructions: Combine all ingredients except for chia seeds in a bowl and let sit for an hour. Right before serving, sprinkle with chia seeds and enjoy.

Blackberry Chia Protein Smoothie

Ingredients: (Serves One)
6 oz. of unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup blackberries
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
Ice

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender, blend and serve.