Cha Cha Cha Chia! The ’80’s Returns!

By  |  3 Comments

chia, chia seeds, chia nutrition, chia health Last weekend Dario and I attended my cousin’s wedding in PA.  My whole entire family was there from my Mom’s side – all Aunts, Uncles, cousins and family friends.  It was great to have my family all in one spot.  And unlike our own wedding, Dario and I remained OUT of the spotlight and were able to “indulge” a tad bit more at the bar :).  Towards the end of the night and a few glasses of wine later, my Uncle came up to me and started talking about chia seeds.  How they’re so wonderful, he’s eating them for breakfast and from the sounds of it has helped relieve many an ailment.

chia, chia seeds, chia nutrition, chia health Realizing I was in no condition to provide any nutrition advice, let alone the miracle powers of chia seeds, I deferred the conversation to another time.  But I figured I’d write a quick blog on the topic since my Uncle has been one of the many patients, friends or family to ask me about this wonder seed.  Plus, it’s popping up all over the news, in recipes, incorporated into baked goods, sold in bulk and showing up in grocery stores everywhere.  A quick chia seed education will do us good!

chiaseeds4 Chia seeds, are in fact, the seed of the plant used to form chia pets – Saliva Hispanica – a member of the mint family. The word chia actually means “strength” and Aztecs and Mayans used these tiny black and white seeds as energy boosters.  Most people remember them when they were popular back in the 1980’s (thankfully one of the few things to return from that era) as fun easy to grow plants for your home.  And let me interject here, that as I research chia seeds and chia pets, I realized they sell a Bart Simpson and Shrek chia pet?  Crazy.  Anyways, in addition to being a great household “pet” chia seeds have been proven to provide a whole host of health/nutrition benefits.   Here are the top 5 chia seed wonders:

  1. Concentrated source of omega-3 fats (the healthy fats).  Great for heart health, there’s about 6.5 g of these great unsaturated fats in one serving (1 ounce or 2 tbsp).
  2. Very…very high in fiber.  Two tablespoons of these tiny seeds has 11 grams of fiber!!!  11 grams people.  In two tablespoons.  Let’s just say you’re getting your money’s worth right there.
  3. Fully absorbable.  This sounds weird, but unlike flax seeds (which unless they are processed into flax meal cannot be broken down and absorbed by your body), chia seeds are fully digestible thus leaving you access to all the vitamins and minerals they provide.
  4. Good source of calcium!  Those same two tablespoons (about 1 ounce) of chia seeds also contain about 18% of your daily calcium requirements.  Again, for two measly tablespoons, that’s pretty darn good.
  5. New research suggests these tiny seeds might improve cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.  Though no confirmed proof is available at this time, I highly doubt it hurts to dump on a few tablespoons at your next meal!

chiaseeds2 I have to say, it seems like my Uncle is right on track!  Add chia seeds to breakfast cereals, porridges, salads, stir fries or sauces.  When added to liquid they create a gel and form into a “pudding” like mixture similar to tapioca.  You can also buy ground or grind them yourself and add to baked goods!

You tell me!  Have you tried chia seeds before?  What’s your favorite dish to add chia seeds to?  Did you ever own a chia pet?

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/truth-about-chia?page=2
http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442472548
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3061/2

3 Comments

  1. Colleen @ Culinary Colleen

    June 3, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I love chia seeds! I usually blend them into smoothies or use them as a topping for salads to add a little crunch (and nutrition).

    • mewinebrenner

      June 4, 2013 at 8:07 am

      I love adding them to smoothies too! Gives such a nice texture and crazy amounts of nutrition, right?!

  2. Tamara

    June 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Me three, I too love them in smoothies! I also add them to cooked oatmeal, overnight oats, and even to baked goods. I made a really good banana chia bread once… I should make that again! I love chia seeds!

Hey, thanks for reading! Share your thoughts!