Chia seeds as a miracle superfood, promising better performance not only for athletes. These remarkable properties have been using the ancient Aztecs and Native American tribes, who have been eating chia seeds especially during increased physical exertion. Today glory Salvia Hispanica, from which chia seeds comes returns again into our diet. It is used at nowadays kitchen commonly, you can get chia seeds not only in health food stores. Try this unique source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids and include it into your diet.
What are chia seeds?
These seeds come from plant named sage Hispanic (in Latin Salvia Hispanica) which belongs to the mint family, formerly growing as an annual wild herb whose height is about one and half meter. This plant has at the end of each stem purple or white flowers. What has chia common with this plant? It is its small seeds. The plant originates from Central America and in the era of the Aztecs, it belonged with corn, beans and amaranth among the fundamental foodstuff of the diet of the local people. At that time, chia seeds became known as "food of runners," because they are able to provide energy to extreme physical performance.
The content of chia seeds
The content of chia seeds is really worth it. Although this would at first glance might not seem like that, but this tiny seeds contain large amount of fibre, protein, and unsaturated omega 3 fatty acids. It is these omega-3 fatty acids, which are very beneficial to our bodies, because we ourselves cannot create them. It is therefore necessary to provide their intake through varied diet. They play an important role for our health, because of their great effects. Chia seeds are a powerful antioxidant, they have anti-inflammatory effects, improve memory and concentration and have a beneficial effect on the heart and blood vessels.
Chia seeds have hydrophilic character
Does that seem like a small miracle? However, that is not all. The essentials with chia seed is also the content of calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. In addition, chia seeds contain many vitamins especially those from group B. Do not think that you can crunch these seeds during a snack like nuts. Among their amazing features in fact belongs hydrophilic character – chia seeds are able to soak water and enlarge ten times in their capacity. Using this enlarging chia seeds produce a thick gel, which is then usable for consumption in the form, which sometimes called pudding. However, you do not need to mix only with plain water, you can put in a cow, coconut, and almond or rice milk and have breakfast or snack or in already mentioned pudding. Likewise, they can be used for example in special juice, so that will provide not only refreshing, but also more nutritious values.
History of chia seeds
Chia seeds have been grown already in the year 3500 BC. The original inhabitants of the American continent - the Aztecs, the Mayans, and the American Indians did not have an easy life. Chia seeds helped them to overcome harsh natural conditions and military campaigns.
They wore chia seeds everywhere with them to have always at hand an immediate source of energy. It is no coincidence that the word chia translated from Mayan language means force. In addition to mixing with other foodstuff is chia seed (as indeed today) also milled into flour and from chia seeds can be also pressed oil or produced various therapeutic mixtures. Flour of the chia seeds lasted for several years and it was during long treks serve as an excellent resource to gain more power.
Chia seeds were for American natives very precious. It also demonstrates the fact that chia seeds were used as currency, but they were also part of religious ceremonies. It is this religious significance led the Spaniards during colonization to suppress their cultivation. Gradually they began to replace it with the European grain and vegetables, thus chia seeds began to disappear slowly from the world. Chia seeds only survived in regional locations in South and Central America. Only in the 90s of the 20th century, chia seeds slowly came back on the scene. South American team of experts and scientists in the field of food and agriculture began to investigate, and thanks to their discovery is growing of chia seeds again expanding, especially in Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Bolivia. And that’s why we can get in our kitchens this unique natural product.
Ten reasons to include chia seeds into your diet
Chia seeds are as food suitable for weight reduction
One might think that big content of calories within chia seeds is a clear reason to do not include them into our diet. Calories = weight gain. The opposite is true. Even though one hundred grams of seeds will bring your body roughly 490 calories, high content of quality protein causes that your stomach is filled and you quickly stop feel hunger, but at the same time a feeling of fullness will last much longer than with normal food. And who feels satiated, do not need much to eat and stops gaining weight.
Chia seeds are also suitable for diabetics
Eating chia seeds can significantly reduce the negative effects on diabetes of the second type. When patients consume daily an amount of 37 grams of chia seeds, it will significantly decreased blood pressure, and also indicators inflammatory indicators of organism and other risk factors. According to research of diabetes, which were made in Toronto, became the blood less prone to formation of blood clot after using chia seeds for only three months.
Content of quality vegetable protein in chia seeds
Our body needs every day portion of protein, and therefore we should try to deliver our body the highest quality, for example, is through chia seeds. Proteins make up the entire 16 grams of its weight, which surpasses even some meats. Simultaneously chia seeds contain a large amount of essential amino acids, which is not in very common plant sources.
Chia seeds have high content of fibre
Chia seeds belong among the foodstuff with the highest fibre content at all. Per 100 grams is 38 grams of fibre. To meet the recommended daily fibre intake you should eat five to six tablespoons of chia seeds.
Chia seeds also contain Omega-3 polyunsaturated acids
You will barely find this kind of fat in the diet of many people. Because the problem is that this fat is not usually in commonly consumed foods, however, our body needs for a proper function at least one gram a day. We can get it to our body also thanks to chia seeds, which does contain only vegetable form of ALA, even though they are very valuable resource of Omega-3 polyunsaturated acids.
This mineral is indispensable antioxidant for the human body. It is very important during the formation of antioxidant enzyme - superoxide dismutase 2. It is also important for building bones and in metabolic processes. The daily dose of manganese contains about 90 grams chia seeds.
In addition to the mineral manganese, we can also find in chia seeds phosphorus, which plays an irreplaceable role in energy metabolism. It should therefore be regularly replenished. In 100 g of chia seeds is about ninety-five percent of the daily-recommended intake of this mineral.
Calcium and magnesium
Sufficiency of calcium is very important for our bones. With sufficient amount of calcium, they will be strong and healthy. Chia seeds can easily aligned in amount of contained calcium with dairy products, as 100 g chia contains about sixty percent of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Similarly, it is also with magnesium. We need magnesium for healthy teeth and bones, but like for example phosphorus, it plays an important role in metabolic processes. Magnesium is necessary especially for athletes.
As a source of vitamins, chia seeds are not among the leading food, but some species still contain. One of them is just those of group B, especially B1 and B3. If we focus, again on the recommended daily dose of 100 g of chia seeds provide you with half the recommended daily nutritional intake of vitamin B.
Easy incorporation of chia seeds into your diet
The man has a lot of healthy food at disposal, but the problem is their difficult inclusion in the diet. Chia seeds, however, are in this way just the opposite. Their taste is not significant, so you can add chia seeds almost in any food, whether you add them into the yogurt, juice, porridge, or homemade pastries. You can mill them or you can buy them already milled. Milled chia seeds may substitute in recipes eggs due to similar properties.
How to use chia seeds? Here are some recipes:
Pudding from Chia seeds
- 15g of chia seeds
- 150 ml of milk (cow, coconut, almond, rice)
- 1 tablespoon of oatmeal
- ½ banana
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- ½ tablespoon of cinnamon
Liquidize all the ingredients except chia seeds until smooth. Then add chia and place everything for ten minutes in the refrigerator. Then remove, stir once more and put in refrigerator for at least four hours, but ideally overnight. If you do not want to mix the ingredients, you can choose a different approach. Mash only banana with a fork, add in the other ingredients, and put it in the refrigerator as in the case with liquidized raw materials.
Night energy from chia seeds
You have a long night ahead full of learning or you have to work overnight on the job? Try this drink, and thus increase your concentration.
- 1 dl of hot water
- 1 part of powdered guarana
- 1 part of chia seeds
- 1 dl of spring water
- 1 part of maple syrup or 1 part of cane sugar
Mix hot water, guarana powder, and maple syrup (sugar cane). Then let it cool slightly and add chia seeds, which are pre-soaked in water for 10-15 minutes.
Chia hemp bars
That chia seeds can be used not only in the form of cocktails or pudding we shall see in the following recipe.
You will need these dry ingredients:
- 3 ½ cup of oatmeal (or gluten free)
- ½ cup of hemp seeds
- ½ cup of chia seeds
- ¼ cup flax seeds
- ¾ cup almonds
- ½ cup of honey (or agave syrup)
- ½ cup of apple compote, apples liquidized into a smoothie
- ¾ cup of milk (for example almond milk)
- ½ coconut oil in liquid state
- 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
At first, grind flaxseed to release the nutrients from it. It will then be easier to digest. Blend almonds into small pieces, and mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a second bowl, mix the wet ingredients, then take them and incorporate everything into the dry ingredients. Knead it properly, until the components are well interconnected, if it is necessary, mix it with your hands. Put this mixture into a glass-baking dish or on a baking sheet on a baking paper and spread it properly. Thus prepared a mixture put in the freezer or refrigerator to stiffen. Cut into bars or squares and serve. Store these bars in the refrigerator, at room temperature to soften.
Tropical chia smoothie
- 100 ml of freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 small mango
- ½ cup of good quality plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Blend all ingredients together and serve immediately. With this orange summer, drink you will be immediately transported into a tropical landscapes.
Do you have problem to incorporate classic spinach into your diet? And what about try it in a delicious smoothie? Spinach is neutral in this form, does not significantly affect the final flavour, and you will be able to add a bit of green energy. Chia, of course, cannot be missing!
- 1 cup of milk (almond)
- 1 large handful of baby spinach leaves
- 1 banana
- 1 peeled kiwi
- 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
Wash properly baby spinach, and then mix all ingredients and place in a blender. Serve immediately.
If you would also be interested to enrich your daily diet with this miraculous seeds, you can buy it in health food stores, organic food stores or in specialized online stores.