Why You Should Be Eating Chia
As a kid, I grew up raising chia pets and munching on the sprouts, more for the fun of it than understanding that chia is a super food. Now that I'm all grown up, those nutrient-dense chia seeds are a staple in my kitchen. Here's why you should be eating chia and a few chia recipes to put on your family's weekly menu.
What exactly is chia?
Chia seeds are an unprocessed whole food that dates back to the Mayan and Aztec cultures, who lauded the tiny seeds as a strength and energy booster. Chia seeds are small like flax seeds, but unlike flax seeds, chia seeds don't have to be ground for your body to absorb their nutrients.
Chia seeds are a concentrated food source of omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium. One tablespoon contains about 60 calories, 6 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and a healthy dose of antioxidants, omega-3s, calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.
According to HealthWarrior.com (my go-to choice for chia), a 16 ounce pouch of chia contains the equivalent of:
That's one power-packed pouch of whole food goodness.
Health benefits of chia
Though clinical studies are few, chia advocates recommend adding chia to your diet because it is dense in nutrients, can increase energy and mental focus, keep you feeling full longer and help you maintain a healthy weight. Chia is a low-glycemic food and high in fiber, both of which can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent overeating. Chia isn't a miracle food, but it can certainly boost the nutrition of your meals.
Cooking with chia
Chia seeds have a mild, nutty flavor, which makes them perfect for sprinkling on cereal, whole grain dishes, pasta, vegetables and fruit as well as to mix into yogurt, sauces, baked goods and drinks. When you mix chia with water, it forms a gel, which can be a thickener or binder in foods and even sipped as a filling, healthy drink.
Almond Blueberry Chia Smoothie
Chia Power Bars
Harvest Chia Muffins
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