The word “chia” may trigger a certain image in your mind such as planted pots or creatures sprouting green “hair”. Though chia seeds are a great craft project, they can also provide us with many health benefits when added to your favorite foods!
What are Chia Seeds?
Chia is an annual plant that produces small white or purple blossoms. A relative to mint, this plant originated from pre-Columbian South and Central America where it was used as a medicinal and staple food. Chia is mainly grown for their seeds which contain multiple health benefits. These seeds contain high levels of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), fiber, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. Also, unlike flax seeds, chia seeds are fully digestible in their whole form which allows us to absorb the nutrients they contain. Studies have shown that ALA, the main component of chia seeds, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and hypertension.
How to Incorporate Chia Seeds…
- Soak chia seeds in water for about 10 minutes until plump; the soaked seeds will have a gel-like texture (chia gel) that can easily be added into oatmeal, yogurt, or milk and cereal!
- Baked goods can be improved with chia; up to 25% of oil or egg in cake recipes may be replaced chia gel without affecting weight, volume, or taste of the final product.
- Add chia seeds directly into smoothies as shown in the Morning Sunshine Chia Seed Smoothie!
Chia seeds can be purchased at most grocery stores in the health food section or online. Give these amazing seeds a try in your favorite snack!
Information gathered from http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0117p44.shtml