Thursday, December 01, 2011

Chia for health

Remember those clay animals that grew grass. All you needed to do was soak the pottery, spread the seeds, keep it watered and soon your bear, dog or cat would be full of “fur.” The same seeds are becoming popular again, but this time due to their nutritional value and their mention in the book Born to Run.

Chia seeds are whole grains that have a high content of fiber amongst other nutrients. Even though the seeds are small and don’t appear to be nutrient dense, they are packed with protein, potassium, dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. They contain roughly 8 times the omega-3 found in salmon, 5 times the calcium in milk and double the fiber of bran flakes.

A recent study conducted by St. Michael’s Hospital in Canada showed evidence that adding 37 grams a day of chia seeds to a patient’s diet that was previously diagnosed with diabetes and undergoing medical treatment could reduce their risk factors for cardiovascular disease. These findings are hope that this could hold true with those that are not diagnosed with diabetes and could be used in combination with a heart-healthy diet to lower the risk of the number one killer in the US, heart disease.

Not only are the seeds good for you, they are easy to incorporate into your diet. They can be added to a salad, yogurt, smoothies or cereal. They can even replace an egg when baking (see recipe below). They can also be eaten by themselves as a snack. A powerful energy drink that the Aztecs and Mayans drank is Chia Fresca and can be quite refreshing. These seeds are special because they absorb water and form a gel so make sure to keep that in mind when cooking or baking as to not change the desired consistency.

Try them out for yourself and start getting eating more whole grains without even noticing it!

To replace an egg in a recipe:
• 1 tablespoon chia seeds
• 3 tablespoons water
 Combine the water and seeds and let sit for 5-10 minutes until the gel is formed and then add to the recipe of choice.

To make Chia Fresca:
• 10 oz of water
• 1 tablespoon chia seeds
• 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
• Honey, agave nectar or sugar (to taste)
 Combine ingredients and add the sweetener of choice to taste. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until the seeds have absorbed the water.

No comments: