Chia Seeds are the focus of the next installment of my Superfoods 101 Series. This series was created with the intention of diving into some of my favorite superfoods, discussing their nutritional benefits and showcasing a simple recipe to highlight the versatility of superfoods.
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia Seeds are now mainstream and can be easily found in supermarkets and on restaurant menus. Chia is an herb that is part of the mint family and is of Central American origin. Similar to Goji Berries and Maca, Chia Seeds have been consumed for thousands of years and are thought to have been a staple in the Aztec, Mayan and Incan diets.
Chia Seeds are multidimensional and incredibly absorptive. They become gelatinous when mixed with liquid and can serve as a thickener in recipes. The gel-like consistency is ideal for making a pudding or overnight oats, they can be sprinkled in raw seed form on yogurt, oats, vegetables or salads, or they can be added to a smoothie for a boost of nutritional benefits.
Aside from their versatility, what makes these little seedlings a superfood? They are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation occurs as a result of environmental and internal stressors that cause the body to react defensively. Over time, an inflammatory state can be detrimental to one’s health. Gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, such as Crohn’s, IBS and celiac disease, along with arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's, are all related to inflammation.
Chia Seeds are also cardio protective and help to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. These seeds are also a fiber-rich powerhouse and contain up to 10 grams of fiber per two tablespoons. If you are new to Chia Seeds, I recommended starting slowly, since a sudden uptick in fiber can cause some GI issues. Chia Seeds are also great plant-based sources of protein, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc – all of which are beneficial for individuals, but especially for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
Looking for a way to try out Chia Seeds? Ease in with one of my favorite recipes: Super Seedy Crackers.