Chia is yet another edible seed that has nutritional benefits similar to those found in flax seeds. But, the chia seed has some additional qualities not found in flax seeds that goes beyond the obvious, which is being able to grow a head of hair on a terra-cotta bust of Bart Simpson. (I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Omega-3s, Antioxidants and Gel
Here’s the run-down on the properties of chia seeds that make them even more of a superfood than their close neighbor flax.
Chia seeds are higher in omega-3 fatty acids than flax, and the abundance of antioxidants they contain extends the shelf life so that they can be stored for long periods of time without becoming rancid. They also provide calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.
Chia provides 5 grams of fiber per tablespoon which is a significant amount. The daily recommended amount of fiber is 14 grams (approximately 1 tablespoon) per 1,000 calories. If you need something to compare this to, a Fiber One Bar has 9 grams of fiber.
What may be one of the biggest attribute of chia seeds are the way they form a gel when they are allowed to sit in water for 30 minutes. Research suggests that this same reaction takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and converts them into sugar.
When added to green tea, protein shakes, juices or smoothies, the seed’s gelling action causes the liquid to become thicker and more filling.
Chia seeds can be added to oatmeal and cereal, home-baked breads, cakes and muffins, and sprinkled on yogurt and other foods. There’s no need to grind chia seeds before you eat them.
Proceed With Caution
Because of the high fiber content, it’s a good idea to add chia to your diet slowly. Rapidly increasing the amount of fiber in your diet can result in some unpleasant symptoms including stomach cramps and flatulence. Start with a teaspoon a day and work your way up as your system begins to tolerate the increase in fiber.
Research has shown that eating chia can lead to improvement in certain health conditions and can actually result in lower doses of prescription medications being needed and in some cases eliminated altogether. People that are taking prescription medications to manage heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or have obesity and lifestyle related conditions should consult with their doctors before eating chia seeds because an adjustment in the mediation may be required to prevent overdosing.
Here’s a quick, easy and nutritious recipe for chia seeds:
Cinnamon Chia Seed Granola
1 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons of honey
1 tablespoon of canola oil
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine oats, seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Slowly stir in honey and canola oil.
Spread granola mixture onto the baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Let cool until oats become crunchy.
Makes four ¼ cup servings.
Use the cinnamon chai seed granola as a topping for Greek yogurt, or put in a baggie for a healthy on-the-go snack.
What’s your favorite way to use chia seeds? Be sure and tell your friends about the health benefits of Chia Seeds.
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