When it comes to nutrient-packed superfoods, chia is right up there with the best of them. What is chia, and what vitamins, minerals, and healthy properties does it contain?
You probably have seen the late night ads for ‘Chia Pets’ on TV at some point in your life. Okay, so the ‘pets’ were ‘interesting’ looking, but did you know that this chia is one of the most nutritional foods around? It is absolutely packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Chia is one of these foods that has been used for years by native cultures, and has been recently ‘rediscovered.’ The Aztec warriors of pre-Columbian times would consume chia while on hunting trips. Native Americans would have only chia seed mixed with water while they were on trading trips between the Colorado River and the Pacific Ocean. Obviously, these ventures take a lot of strength and energy. What exactly is in this chia that gave the natives their needed boost?
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Chia is actually the richest known source of omega 3s. Chia seed is 60 % omega 3!
- Fiber. Chia is one of the best fiber sources. It absorbs up to 30% its weight in water. It pulls and strips debris from the intestinal walls, efficiently cleansing the intestines.
- Antioxidants. Vitamins C and E are found in Chia. It also contains ferulates. Ferulates are esters (organic compounds that are the result of combining plant lipids and ferulic acid) that have anti-oxidant, free-radical scavenging properties.
- Cinnamic acids. Cinnamic acids guard the omega-3s in chia from oxidation, hence, chia stays ‘good’ for years!
- Blood sugar moderating properties. Chia forms a gel when combined with liquid, which slows digestion and evens blood sugar levels. This provides diabetes help and helps dieters.
- Tissue regeneration powers. Chia helps the growth of tissues during pregnancy and lactation, and also helps regenerate muscles, aiding body builders and runners.
- A high energy-to-weight ratio. With no gluten, chia provides more energy than corn, wheat, rice or oats. It is easily absorbed by the body. These characteristics make it great for long distance runners and athletes.
- Large amounts of B vitamins and calcium. Most notable are riboflavin, thiamine and niacin, with trace amounts of all the others. Chia has five times the calcium found in milk.
- Boron, magnesium and iron. Boron is important for bone health and muscle growth. It also can increase levels of natural estrogen. Magnesium is necessary for proper nerve function, and iron is needed by your red blood cells, increasing their oxygen-carrying ability.
How do you eat chia seed? It can be stirred into water or juice, or made into a gel and added to smoothies, jams, cereals, etc. The seeds in water or juice are tasteless, while chia gel has a slightly nutty taste.
Once again, our ancestors knew what was good for their bodies. And let’s face it — they needed to do much more with their bodies then than we do today to survive. Take chia and reap the benefits of the multiple vitamins and minerals in contains