11 November 2017 0 Comments Posted By : Administrator

Ancient Food Secrets: How Chia Seeds Can Boost Your Health

In today’s fast-paced world, we’re all looking for ways to get more of a nutritional punch from our everyday meals, but it’s hard to do when we’re constantly faced with fast foods and other unhealthy options. That’s why we need more simple and delicious staples that are also quick to whip up at home. Chia seeds are one of those staples and they’re chock full of antioxidants.

Ancient Strength

Chia seeds come from the desert plant Salvia hispanica and have been considered a valuable source of nutrients since Aztec and Mayan times. In the Mayan language, chia actually translates to “strength” and modern health food fans are finding they offer exactly that. As one of the only seeds that can be absorbed by the body without being processed, those who eat them enjoy the full impact of the seeds, not a stripped down version.

Bountiful Benefits

If chia seeds are so old, why are they only now hitting mainstream popularity? One of the main reasons has to do with the fact that they’re a rich source of antioxidants. Chia seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, particularly a lot of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Our bodies can’t produce ALA and though fish is a popular source of omega-3s, fish contains docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), so chia seeds fill a key gap.

Just how rich in antioxidants are chia seeds? One of the most common ways to measure antioxidant values is by using the Vitamin C Equivalent Antioxidant Capacity. Expressed as milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, chia seeds score 1909, putting them ahead of blackberries, mango, and grapes, among other well-known health foods.

In addition to omega-3s and ALA, chia seeds are also high in calcium, magnesium, and manganese, and two tablespoons of the seeds contain a third of your daily value of fiber. The fiber helps you feel full and also aids in digestion.

Endless Options

Of course, what really makes chia seeds so popular is the countless ways they can be consumed, the most well known of which is as chia pudding. When chia seeds are put into liquid, they expand and turn into a gel. Just start with a simple ratio of 3 tablespoons of seeds per cup of liquid – coconut milk makes a perfect pudding base. From there, a little maple syrup and some fruit transform this simple combination into a healthy, on-the-go snack or indulgent breakfast.

Want to take your chia seed pudding to the next level and get your kids to eat it too? Add a powerful antioxidant combo like chocolate and apples, blend, and serve it for dessert. They’ll never guess it’s not a traditional chocolate pudding.

Another way to use chia seeds, and one that’s all the rage with the gluten-free crowd, is in bread. In bread recipes, you can use chia seeds whole for texture or grind them up for a nutritional punch.

Finally, on a truly on-the-go version of chia seeds, their rising popularity has made chia seed easy to find in portable snack forms. You can grab chia squeeze packs, much like the applesauce and yogurt packs popular with kids, or chia snack bars. Just pop one in your bag and skip the junk while running errands or at work.

These suggestions are just scratching the surface of the many uses of chia seeds, and it’s likely that we’re also just beginning to understand their nutritional value. So stock up on chia seeds now – a little goes a long way.

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