Once a staple of the Incan, Mayan, and Aztec cultures, chia seeds have been long prized as an endurance food. The Mayans believed that they could run all day with the help of these seeds and so called them “chia”, meaning “strength”.
Today, we love chia seeds for their other strengths as well, notably their super abilities to improve your energy, boost your brain power, improve your mood, and relieve constipation. Wow! All that in a tiny, little seed.
The seeds are harvested in Western North America, where they grow wild, as well as in Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and Australia. In California, the flowers bloom from late spring through early summer. Once the flowers dry, the seeds can be harvested.
The incredible health benefits of Chia Seeds include:
- Chia seeds are a plant-based protein, making them a great source of energy.
- They are full of fiber, which is great for digestion, colon health, and constipation.
- Chia seeds are one of the top 5 vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids, second only to flax seeds. Omega-3 rich foods are brain tonics and improve mental focus.
- They are high in antioxidants that help to reduce free radicals and fight aging.
- Chia seeds help with weight loss by both blocking calorie absorption and helping you to feel full.
- They help to stabilize blood sugar imbalances.
- They are nature’s gatorade, helping to keep the body hydrated and promoting electrolyte balance.
Buying and Storing Chia Seeds:
There are two varieties of chia seeds: golden chia and gray-black, which is nutritionally superior. Find them at your local health food store or at larger health food chains in the bulk bins. Unlike most seeds, chia seeds can be stored for years without going rancid.
Quick Serving Ideas:
- Chia seeds can be eaten raw and whole, sprinkled onto your favorite breakfast porridge.
- They’re a great high fiber addition to breads, muffins and cakes.
- Adding chia to smoothies will have a thickening effect, similar to the consistency of a milk shake. Try my energizing Dairy-Free Vanilla Milkshake with chia.
- Prepare a Chia Elixir for natural electrolyte balance using 1 tsp of seeds per 8oz glass of water. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes. Stir before drinking.
- For a favorite dessert option, try my Chocolate Chia Seed Mousse.
Your Simple Action Plan:
Chia seeds are an easy way to upgrade your diet. They can be added to just about any food, from soups and salads to breakfast cereals, sauces, dressings, yogurt, puddings, and even drinks. Add them to your healthy pantry this week!