I remember when I first tasted chia seeds about ten years ago. I was a Raw Foodist for about 7 years already and to find a new incredible Raw Food like this, which tasted incredibly good with so many health benefits felt God Sent to me. When soaked in water, it gelled up and the texture was like a porridge to me. Chia Seeds opened a new door for Raw Foodists everywhere.
Chia seeds have taken the health food industry by storm! The famous chia pet’s seeds come from a plant that is in the mint family and cultivated in Central and South America. These seeds were once a major source of food for those in Mexico and Guatemala. They are gluten-free and great for those with celiac disease. They are high in fiber and protein and when added to liquid they form a gelatinous coating. This coating makes them a perfect vegan egg substitute, just one tablespoon of chia powder dissolved in a quarter cup of water can replace one egg! (1)
Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language. These little seeds were known as the “Indian Running Food” because warriors would use them to help sustain their body when running long distances during battle. These became a staple of the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans. (2)
One randomized trial tested a beverage that combined chia seeds, soy protein, oats and cactus versus a placebo. Sixty-seven patients with metabolic syndrome consumed this beverage or the placebo for two months. After testing, those assigned the chia beverage lost weight and improved triglycerides and blood sugar levels. (1)
Chia, soy protein, oats, and cactus beverage helped patients with metabolic syndrome lose weight, improve triglycerides and blood sugar levels!
A one ounce serving of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams of omega-3- fatty acids, 18 percent RDA of calcium, 30 percent RDA of manganese, 30 percent RDA of magnesium, and 27 percent RDA of phosphorus. (3)
These seeds are loaded in antioxidants, which protect the seeds from going rancid. Antioxidants fight the production of free radicals and protect the cells from aging and diseases. Due to their protein content, they are perfect for weight loss! Protein has been found to reduce appetite and obsessive food related thinking by 60 percent! (3)
Chia seeds contain more omega-3’s than salmon but it’s still important to supplement EPA and DHA as the omega-3’s found in chia seeds are mostly ALA (alpha linolenic acid). Studies have shown that by milling chia seeds, they can increase the blood levels of ALA and EPA but not DHA. (3)
Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants
These seeds are also great for those who do not consume dairy. Their nutrient profile of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and protein make them important for bone health! (3)
Another study examined the impact of chia seeds on type II diabetes. The study had 20 diabetic patients receive either 37 grams of chia seeds or wheat bran for 12 weeks. The chia seeds showed improvements in several health markers. The patient’s blood pressure when down by 3-6 mm/Hg and an inflammatory marker, hs-CRP, went down by 40 percent. (3) Another risk factor, vWF, which is a blood glycoprotein involved in homeostasis (4), decreased by 21 percent! (3)
Thirty-seven grams of chia seeds for 12 weeks lowered blood pressure, inflammatory marker (hs-CRP) and blood glycoprotein, vWF!
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition reported that chia seeds used as a source of dietary fat can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol. The study found that substituting chia seeds with other sources of fat, allowed the body to prevent high triglyceride levels and reduce obesity! (5)
Enjoy chia seeds with your breakfast cereal, topping your salad for lunch, and as a quick and easy chia pudding dessert!
Chia seeds will store for years in a cool dry place. Adding chia seeds to your diet is easy to do. Many people like to eat chia pudding! Mix 1/4 cup of seeds with one cup of almond milk, sweeten with maple syrup, honey, or stevia and then flavor with vanilla, chocolate or fruit! Making chia pudding takes as little as 15 minutes and can be stored in the refrigerator for days! Enjoy this quick and easy dessert on a hot summers day! (5)
Chia seeds are a perfect addition to smoothies, juice, yogurt, oatmeal, or sprinkled over a salad! (5) Replace bread crumbs in recipes such as meatloaf or meatballs for a gluten free alternative! (2) Chia seeds have little flavor, so adding them to baked goods or other meals is easy to do!
By Matthew Monarch, August 2015