Chia seeds: from gag gift to super food
I'm not one to jump on the latest "miracle food" hype, so when I heard about Chia seeds, I listened but I hardly ran out to the store to purchase some. But just the other day, a friend of mine was telling me how she soaks Chia seeds in juice, which turns into a jelly like substance that she then spreads on her toast in the morning. Then today, I read an article about how a pro football player incorporates Chia seeds into his diet due to its energy and muscle building benefits. These two separate stories intrigued me enough to research what all the hype was about.
According to Chiaseedsguide.com, in Mayan, the word "Chia" means strength. The Aztecs considered the Chia seed to be an important part of their diet and even used Chia as currency because it was so valuable to them. Even Dr Oz considers Chia seeds as one of his top 5 supplements saying:
"Chia seeds are quickly gaining popularity for their powerful health benefits. Rich in protein, minerals and fiber, Chia seeds also contain 500 (percent) more calcium than milk and the same amount of omega-3s as wild salmon. Thanks to their cancer-fighting and appetite-suppressing properties, it's not difficult to see why Chia seeds are the new super seed."
In my research, I found that Chia seeds are believed to help with:
Blood glucose control
Increase HDL cholesterol, lower LDL cholesterol
Increase energy and muscle mass
Lower inflammation in the body
Increase hydration status
Lower blood pressure
Aide in weight loss
Enhance sex appeal.
Just kidding about the sex appeal folks; I just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.
According to NutritionData.com, 1 oz of Chia seeds contain the following:
9 grams of total fat
1 gram saturated fat
5 mg sodium
12 grams of carbohydrates
11 grams of fiber
4 grams of protein
4915 mg Total Omega-3 fatty acids, 1620 mg Omega-6 fatty acids
Chia seeds are low in cholesterol and sodium. They are a good source of calcium and phosphorus, and a very good source of fiber and manganese. Chia seeds have a glycemic load of 1, which means that it is a very low glycemic food and contains anti-inflammatory properties.
According to Paradise Food Project Farm to School Program, Chia may be nature's most perfect food. It contains more omega-3 fatty acids than flaxseed, three times more antioxidants than blueberries, six times more calcium than milk, three times more iron than spinach, two times more potassium than bananas, and two and a half times more protein than kidney beans and even more fiber than All Bran.
Chia seeds are not going to change your life or cure all that ails you but it might give your diet a little boost in the right direction. I was unable to find any science based information about recommended daily allowance so please follow the information provided on the package and talk to your doctor.
I'd love to hear how you are using Chia seeds and if you have noticed any health benefits. My husband is hoping they help him grow hair. Please leave a comment to share with others. Ch Ch CH Chia!