So what’s the big deal about Chia Seeds I hear you ask! Well, I personally like to use chia seeds to add extra nutrients as well as texture to a recipe (check-out my over-night oats, summer green smoothie or chocolate chia pudding!), however the seeds were originally known as a ‘running food’. Chia means “strength” in the Aztec language as messengers could run all day with just a small handful of chia seeds (or so they say!). Chia seeds come from the plant salvia hispanica, and are native to Mexico and Central America.
Chia Seeds are a wholegrain and are a great source of anti-oxidants (to keep us healthy), protein, soluble fibre, omega 3 and minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. There aren’t many published research studies on the health benefits of eating chia seeds however emerging research shows that chia seeds can help to lower both cholesterol and blood pressure. The seeds have also been shown to be a suitable option for enhancing performance in endurance events lasting more than 90 minutes, whilst allowing athletes to decrease their dietary intake of sugar and increase their intake of omega 3 fatty acids i.e. swapping a sugary energy drink for chia seeds (Illian et al 2011).
If you want to include this nutritious seed into your diet then try sprinkling ground or whole chia seeds on salads, cereal, rice, yogurt, granola or vegetables. Chia seeds are very absorbent and create a ‘gelatinous texture’ when soaked in liquid which makes them a great thicker for soups or puddings. When baking you can substitute chia seeds for eggs or oil by mixing a tablespoon of chia seeds with a 1/4 cup (60-65ml) of water and leaving for 10 minutes to absorb.
How do you like to enjoy Chia Seeds?!
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