What in the Health food: Chia Seeds

Full disclosure, the first time I saw Chia seeds was after they’d been soaked in some water.  My initial reaction was “those look like frog eyes. I am not eating that”……and then I talked myself into giving them a try later on down the road in a lemonade drink.  And it was actually pretty tasty….also, I didn’t die. So I figured there must be something to these little buggers.  And my whole purpose for “what in the health food” is to familiarize people with foods that may be a little odd, but are amazing for us- so Chia fits the bill!

Now, I’ll admit it.  I had no idea this now popular health food was those same little pets those of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s are oh so familiar with.  Ch-ch-ch- chia (ring any bells?).  Not gonna lie, if you click that link, check out the Groot chia pet…it will make your day.  Err, at least it made mine!

ANYWAYS….In my childhood, I seriously had no idea that these seeds were actually food and were actually really healthy for you.  Embarrassingly, I’ll admit, even once I got into learning more and more about nutrition, it still never dawned on me that they were connected. (I can be a little dense sometimes….like my cousin Paula said to me once- “at least you’re pretty”).  It actually wasn’t until a few months back that, while browsing through Amazon and a chia pet came across the “recommended for you” list I had that light-bulb moment.  It’s okay Jenn, at least you’re pretty.

So in today’s edition of “What in the Health Food?” I wanted to get into the nitty gritty about Chia.  What are they? How do you eat them? Why should you eat them?  . So let’s dig in!

 

batch blur chia close up
Photo by Delphine Hourlay on Pexels.com

What are Chia Seeds?

Long story short, they’re the picture on the left. Boom. You’re welcome.

But if you want to know more- Chia seeds are actually seeds from the plant Salvia Hispanica, which is in the Mint family.  The seeds themselves are considered a whole grain and are sometimes ground up and added to flour in breads.

 

What are the benefits of Chia?

There are many benefits to consuming Chia!  And because they are so versatile, there are many ways to consume them which makes them an easy way to treat your body to some nutrition! Let’s look at some of their components:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids– Chia seeds are rich in these.  Have you ever been told to take fish oil? Or been subjected to the crazed ramblings of a friend taking the supplements who boast how wonderful they feel and they’re now able to leap tall buildings and bend over without a backache? (I exaggerated the building thing). Well, Omega-3 fatty acids are to thank for that.  These are great for brain health, heart health, and joint health.  Why? Well it’s “thought” that these acids help to reduce overall chronic inflammation, which we’ve talked about on here folks so you all know that inflammation unchecked can wreak havoc on us!
  • Fiber– I shouldn’t have to explain this one too much. I hope. Fiber helps you poop folks. You need it in your diet to keep things “on track” and your bathroom schedule regular. ‘Nuff said? Okay. Thought so.  Chia seeds are helpful in this department as well.
  • Potassium– Chia is boasted to have 2 times the amount of potassium, an essential mineral, then a banana.  Potassium is helpful in controlling blood pressure and regulating fluids in our bodies.  It counteracts the negative effects of too much sodium.
  • Calcium– Yep. Rich in this too!  Of course most of us understand the importance Calcium has in our bodies.  It’s necessary to build strong bones, absorb vitamin D, keep healthy skins and nails, and is essential for nerve health as well.
  • Protein– fun fact, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds contains 2 grams of protein.  Reality check, that’s not a super high amount of protein, but it’s not a bad amount considering it’s a tiny seed.  It’s actually a higher amount then most seeds!

 

How do you eat them?

There are many  ways to consume chia.  So many in fact I’m pretty certain I am not even listing them all! (feel free to comment any ways you use chia that I’ve missed).  One thing about Chia is when they soak of expand, they get this gel like texture around the seed.  I’ve read this can be useful for your digestive tract- no idea what truth that actually holds. BUT, what I do know is that gel like texture can make it weird. At least for me it is.  They start to feel a little slimy and they look odd- I believe I mentioned frog eyes before? Yeah. That.  But seriously, strap on your big boy/big girl shoes and saddle up, cause the texture really isn’t as gross as I’m making it sound.  If you feel like the texture may be an issue for you, sprinkling them on peanut butter toast or mixing them into a smoothie can combat any of those texture concerns.

In seed form:

  • In smoothies
  • In beverages like lemonade or juice
  • sprinkled on toast
  • in oatmeal, pudding, or in dressings
  • Once soaked and in it’s gelatinous form, it can be whipped up and used as an egg substitute in vegan cooking.
  • Added to salads

Word to the wise- DO NOT just take a teaspoon full of dry chia seeds and swallow them with water.  While this sounds good in theory, it’s not. Trust me.  Chia seeds expand A LOT in water and they can actually choke you doing this….so not only would it be uncomfortable for you to do this, it could also be dangerous. Chia seeds should always be consumed with something else or in their gelatinous form after being soaked.

In sprout form:

  • Added as another green in salads
  • blended into smoothies
  • added to sandwhiches
  • literally anywhere else you use sprouts, okay?

 

Where can you get chia?

Chia seeds are becoming popular, so nowadays, you can pretty much get them anywhere.  Your local grocery store, a local whole foods co-op, Amazon, and even the big chain places like Target and Walmart carry them.  My own personal opinion is it’s best to buy organic Chia Seeds, and that may be my own anxiety about pesticides and other pollutant exposures that I’m paranoid about coming into play on my opinion.  But, alas, I’m not going to stop buying mine organic…call me paranoid all you want! HA!

 

So now that you know a little more about this super food, what will you do with this new found knowledge?  Please comment below! I love to hear thoughts and ideas! Happy healing!

 

Until next time,

Jenn

 

You know the drill- disclaimer here: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Do not substitute what you read on this blog for medical advice.  If you have a health concern, it’s always best to talk to your doctor or seek professional medical advice.

 

Sources:
What Are Chia Seeds | Ch- Ch- Ch- Chia Seeds. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://chia.com/chia-seeds/what-are-chia-seeds/
Salvia hispanica. (2018, July 29). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_hispanica#Climate_and_growing_cycle_length
Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements for Heart Disease. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/omega-3-fish-oil-supplements-for-high-blood-pressure
LD, M. W. (2018, January 10). Potassium: Health benefits and recommended intake. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287212.php

 

 

 

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