You know that we are big fans of ground Chia seed and recommend adding them to many of our smoothie recipes. This is because of their high nutrients and antioxidant content. But Chia isn’t new.
Chia (Salba Hispanica) is native to Mexico and parts of South America and was cultivated as a staple food source by both the Aztec and Mayan peoples in pre-Columbian times. In those cultures, the seed was so prized that it was sometimes given to rulers as tribute or payment of taxes.
The word itself, “Chia” come from the Aztec word “chian” meaning oily. And the modern Mexican state of Chiapas derives its name from the plant. Today, Chia is cultivated in many different areas of the world and the Ord valley in Australia grows about two thirds of the world’s total production. The use of Chia as a dietary supplement is expanding as more people become aware of its many nutritional benefits.
The Chia seed is, typically, oval shaped and about a millimeter in diameter. They aren’t much to look at being mottled with brown gray, black and white coloration. But Chia makes up for its lack of looks by being rich in may nutrients with significant levels of antioxidants, protein, oil, and dietary fiber which is mostly soluble. The Chia seed oil has a very high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, about 64 percent. Omega 3 acids are good fats, which lower cholesterol, deter cardiovascular diseases and help relieve joint pain and inflammation.
The soluble quality of the dietary fiber in Chia is a great help to people watching their weight. Once ingested, the dietary fiber absorbs many times its own weigh in liquid and forms a gel type of substance in your digestive tract. This slows the breakdown of carbohydrates which, in turn, slows the conversion to sugar. This results in your body deriving more food energy from the Chia and feeling “full”.
Chia is gluten-free, trans-fat free, sugar-free, high in fiber and protein, and can be combined with many foods as you are already aware. Besides adding Chia to your smoothie, you can add it tor oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, taco meat, hamburgers, or even mix it with the spice rub you use on chicken, seafood or steak. Chia has no taste of its own which is why it mixes so well with so many other foods.
For a more complete look at Chia seed and its many health benefits a good site is Chia Benefits.
For a good deal on Chia seed, just follow this link to Amazon.com.
Have a few minutes? Watch the video below to see what Dr. Oz thinks about Chia seeds.
Why We Like Chia Seeds