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Food of The Month: Chia Seeds

Why would you want to eat Chia?

Chia seeds are said to have:

  • 2 times the protein of any other seed or grain,
  • 5 times the calcium of milk, plus boron which is a trace mineral that helps transfer calcium into your bones,
  • 2 times the amount of potassium as bananas,
  • 3 times the reported antioxidant strength of blueberries,
  • 3 times more iron than spinach,
  • copious amounts of omega-3 and omega-6, which are essential fatty acids.

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They are a complete source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids in an easily digestible form. They are also a fabulous source of soluble fiber.

One advantage of chia is that because it has such a high antioxidant content, the seeds stay stable for much longer, whereas flax, for example, may turn rancid. Chia can be used in so many kinds of recipes – savory, sweet, it works with anything. You might want to try them in salad dressings, cookie mixtures, smoothies, crackers, ice creams, juices and so on.

Chia seed protein contains no gluten. This makes it ideal for anyone with a gluten sensitivity or simply wanting to find a replacement for gluten-containing grains like wheat, barley, rye and oats.

What are some other benefits of eating Chia?

  • Provides energy
  • Boosts strength
  • Bolsters endurance
  • Levels blood sugar
  • Induces weight loss
  • Aids intestinal regularity

Due to the exceptional water-absorption quality of chia, it can help you prolong hydration and retain electrolytes, especially during exertion. Whole, water-soaked chia seeds are easily digested and absorbed. They feel light in the body, yet energizing. Their nutrients can be quickly assimilated into the body.

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may have seen chia sprouts growing on the novelty planters called Chia Pets, but historically, the seeds have been the most important part of the plant. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors.

How to use Chia Seeds?

Wondering how to use chia seeds? Chia seeds are very easy to incorporate into your diet.

  • Mix seeds through yogurt.
  • Add seeds to salad dressings.
  • Sprinkle seeds over a salad.
  • Mix ground seeds with ground meat to make meatballs.
  • Mix ground seeds with butter or peanut butter for a nutritious spread.
  • Soak chia seeds in milk and mix through hot oatmeal.

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  • Soak 1 level tablespoon of chia seeds with a quarter cup of water to make an egg substitute for baking cakes and cookies.
  • Add seeds to soup to thicken and add nutrition.
  • Grind seeds and mix with flour, milk and eggs to make pancakes.
  • Eat chia seeds whole and raw as a snack.
  • Blend chia seeds into smoothies.
  • Add chia seeds to beaten eggs soak for 10 minutes and make an omelet.
  • Pureed fruit, chia seeds and a little fruit juice is a good topping for ice cream.
  • Add whole seeds to granola.
  • Mix white chia seeds that have been soaked in milk through mashed potatoes.
  • Cinnamon, ground chia and butter is great on hot scones.
  • When eating canned tuna in spring water, don’t drain it. Put the entire can of tuna and spring water in a bowl and add chia seeds. Let it stand for a while so the seeds soak up the water and use in sandwiches. Add about 1 tablespoon of chia seeds for the largest size can, less for smaller cans – very filling and more nutritious than just tuna.
  • Add 1/3 cup of seeds to 2 cups of water; stir gently with a wire whisk off and on for 5 minutes to prevent clumping, and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Use to thicken puddings, sauces, fruit spreads, or dips.

Refreshing Chia Seeds Recipes

Chia Limeade

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3 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed

Directions

In a medium bowl, mix the chia seeds with 1 cup cold water. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the seeds.

Mix 4 cups cold water and the sugar in a medium pitcher, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the lime juice and stir to combine. Mix in the chia seeds. Garnish with mint leaves and serve over ice.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie with Chia Seeds

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1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and cleaned

1 peeled banana, frozen

4 cubes of ice

1 T chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup of water

1/3 cup light coconut milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Pulse to desired consistency, adding more water to thin if necessary.

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

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2 cups coconut milk

1 cup almond milk, room temp

2 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup chia seeds

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

1 cup water

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp nutmeg

Pinch of salt

Combine coconut milk, water and coconut in blender, high speed until creamy. Empty in bowl and set aside. In same blender combine almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup and salt. Mix on high until creamy. Pour into bowl and add chia seeds until thickens. When mixture resembles a pudding texture, add coconut milk mixture and whisk more. Top with nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes before serving. ENJOY!


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