Chia is a species of the sage plant which produces pods filled with tiny seeds. It is a New World plant that has long been used by the Native Peoples of Central America, northern South America and southwestern North America. The term chia is the Aztec word for strength. When soaked in water, it changes into a gelatin-like consistency that was used to make refreshing drinks and porridges. The Aztecs also dried and ground the seeds to make flour for baking breads. They sprouted the seeds for salads and sprinkled them on many dishes and stored the seeds for future use. These seeds are very oily and the extracted oil is used in cooking and high in nutritional value and can be a great energy booster.
While chia seeds have an interesting history, their healing properties are even more fascinating. Here are 5 wondrous properties of these seeds:
1. This little seed is packed with nutrients! One ounce or twenty-eight grams (which is equal to approximately two tablespoons), contains 139 calories, with eleven grams of fiber, four grams of protein, nine grams of Omega-3 fat, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, thiamin and riboflavin.
2. Chia seeds are unprocessed. They are a whole grain that can be eaten, unlike flaxseed. They are easily digested, which improves nutrient absorption. They are also naturally free of gluten.
3. Chia seeds are a good source of antioxidants. Because these seeds are a food and not a supplement, they have a positive effect on the body, reducing the production of free radicals. Therefore, chia reduces the aging process and helps the body fight disease.
4. The carbohydrates found in chia seeds are almost all fiber. Of the eleven grams of carbohydrates in one ounce of chia seeds, most consist of fiber. This means insulin is not required in the digestion process. This fiber can hold ten to twelve times its weight in water and changes to a gel when in the stomach.
5. Chia seeds promote healthy bones because they contain a high amount nutrients that support bone health, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and protein. They contain more calcium than dairy products.
Chia seeds are used as a drink, in cereal, sprinkled on salads and made into puddings.
Vegan Chia Pina Colada Pudding
Yield: 1 serving
¼ cup Chia seeds
½ cup Pineapple juice
½ cup Coconut juice
1. Pour the pineapple juice and the coconut juice in a small pitcher and blend.
2. Add the chia seeds to the juice and stir to be sure all of the seeds have been exposed to the liquid.
3. Let the mixture set in the refrigerator for approximately fifteen minutes to firm.