Instead of growing your chia seeds into a pet, try eating them instead. We are finally beginning to rediscover what ancient Aztecs and Mayans have known for centuries – chia seeds are a healthy, nutritious food. Native to Mexico, chia seeds (salvia hispanica) are said to sustain the body through strenuous exercise and physical stress.
While chia seeds have an impressive nutritional profile (1 ounce has 9 grams of fat, 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 18% of the US RDA of calcium, and Omega-3 fats), there are many benefits that can’t be understood by simply studying the nutrients.
For example, chia seeds, like flax seeds, form a thick, gelatinous substance in water. This implies that they would be helpful for blood sugar imbalances. In the stomach, this sort of thickening action can slow the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar.
There are other benefits of chia seeds, indicated in a recent study. Participants’ blood clotting factor was reduced, as was inflammation. Body levels of Omega-3 fatty acids were greatly increased, and blood pressure was reduced.
Did you know that chia seeds can do all of the following things for you? They can promote anti-aging, balance insulin levels, aid in digestion, assist with weight loss, strengthen bones and teeth, protect the heart and build healthy muscle, improve brain function and help relieve depression, provide you with B-vitamins and lower lipid levels, improve blood and nerve function, and help you re-build DNA.
If you wish to read more in depth information on the vast array of health benefits that these wonderful little seeds hold for you, you can find some great advice in this article from the Cooking Detective. There are some great recipe ideas here too!
So how can you enjoy these healthful seeds? They are said to have very subtle flavor, making them palatable mixed with or sprinkled on other foods. Here are some ideas for you:
- Make a traditional Mexican beverage by mixing chia seeds with water, then adding lemon juice and sugar.
- Sprinkle chia seeds – ground or whole – onto hot or cold cereal, yogurt, salads, or soup.
- Ground or whole chia seeds can be mixed into baked goods.
- Chia seeds can be sprouted very easily, and the sprouts can be eaten on sandwiches or soups. Sprouts can also be mixed into salads or blended into a green smoothie.
- Sprinkle some seeds on peanut butter that you spread on crackers, a sandwich, celery sticks, and so forth.
- Mix chia seeds into homemade or commercial granola.
- Add a tablespoon or two to a smoothie.
- Mix ground or whole seeds in to baby food for a brain-building food that is not prone to incite allergies.
I found this fantastic recipe for Quick Chia-Nut Granola, and the kids love it! Why not give it a go?