granola with chia seeds

The Health Benefits of Chia Seeds

Remember the Chia Pet?

chia petRecently I have been learning more about Chia seeds and what great health benefits that they offer. The Chia seeds come from a plant called Salvia Hispanica and is originally found in South America. The Chia Pet was made with the chia seeds because the seeds sprout so quickly and look great!

 

 

Some of the nutrients that you can find in chia seeds are:

  • Vitamins A, C, and E – These vitamins help with skin health, eye health, general immune system function and the absorption of iron.
  • Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc – Your body needs these minerals to function properly. Minerals are important for things like building strong bones and healthy teeth, keeping blood healthy, clear skin, healthy hair, proper nerve function, strong muscle and for turning the food we eat into energy.
  • Chlorophyll, Amino Acids – Amino acids are building blocks for our bodies and are a big part of what makes up proteins.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants make our cells healthier by eliminating free radicals.
  • Protein: 20-25% – Proteins are what a large part of your body is made of.

 What to do With Chia Seeds

Juices: I put chia seeds in juices and they expand and have a strange texture like fish eggs. This is because they are mucilaginous. Mucilaginous means moist and sticky basically. When the seed gets wet it absorbs water and forms a little gel-sack around itself so it can be independent of surrounding conditions because it has all the moisture in needs to sprout. Pretty cool!

Baking: Chia flour that is made from the seeds is great to bake with. It can take the place of the gluten that is found in wheat or eggs as it is a great binding element. The whole seeds are excellent for baked goods that need some texture such as muffins, cookies and nutty breads.

Topping: I like to add chia seeds to my morning bowl of oatmeal or yogurt and granola. It gives it a nice texture and is a great start to a healthy day.

Smoothies: I use chia seeds in smoothies in the same way as I put them in juices but I don’t notice the fish eyeball texture as much because you have the fibrous parts of the smoothie ingredients.

 Sprouting Chia Seeds

Microgreens are incredibly good for you and chia is a very easy to grow and sprout. You can learn how to sprout chia seeds at The Happy Raw Kitchen blog. Microgreens are a great addition to salads, as a topping for your veggie burger or to add potent nutrients to a juice or smoothie.

I enjoy sprouting because the time it takes to see results is very short so you can use the sprouts right away. Some of the other microgreens that are great for sprouting are:

  • arugula
  • broccoli
  • buckwheat lettuce
  • flax
  • garlic chives
  • kale
  • mustard greens
  • sunflowers
  • turnips

Chia for Athletes

The secret ingredient for athletes, especially runners, was revealed in the book Born to Run. According to the book, chia seeds were a dietary staple of the Tarahumara Indians and gave them what appeared to be almost supernatural endurance.

Chia seeds can help with sustaining energy, reducing dehydration, inflammation reduction, joint pain, weight loss and exercise recovery acceleration. These are all important to both the professional and amateur athlete.

Conclusion:

Adding chia seeds to your diet can help keep you healthy and give you energy and many of the nutrients that you need to have optimum health. We would love to know what you think about chia seeds and how you use them in your diet. Please leave your comments below.