Over the past couple of years, the chia seed has grown in popularity becoming a super food staple for health conscious consumers. The Mayan word for strength, Chia is nothing new however and has actually been around for hundreds of years. It’s a seed that comes from the desert plant Saliva hispanica that was a staple in the Mayan and Aztecs diets. The Chia seed has resurfaced in recent years and is a superfood that is here to stay, and with good reason. This seed has numerous health benefits with just one tablespoon containing 5 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. Chia is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids, more so than flax seed, and has more antioxidants than blueberries.
Since chia seeds are high in fiber, it slows the conversion of carbohydrates to sugar and therefore helps to manage blood sugar levels. Chia is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6, both of which the body does not produce naturally and are nutrients that we rely on our food for. It’s also a great source of calcium, which is a great option for vegans to supplement their diet since they don’t eat dairy. When chia is exposed to water it forms a gel like substance, so once it’s ingested into the stomach it forms a gel and will keep you feeling full longer, which is great for weight management. Since chia can absorb such large amounts of water, it’s able to help hydrate the body and is ideal for athletes.
Unlike flax seed, you don’t need to grind up chia seeds to reap their health benefits. They don’t have much of a flavor and can be eaten alone or mixed with other foods. Since it forms a gel when it comes in contact with water, it can be difficult for some people to drink alone. For some though, having a chia gel on hand is a healthy option for sauces, salad dressings, and soups. Chia is very versatile and can be mixed with a shake or smoothie for a nutrient packed breakfast option or sprinkle into oatmeal or on top of a salad for some extra crunch. You can also mix into any of your favorite foods like yogurt, cereal, granola, and so on.
So now that you know how healthy chia seeds are for you, its time to get your chia on. Luckily, since chia has become such a popular ingredient, you can find it in many products at your local supermarket. Here are a few of our favorite products featuring this nutrient packed ingredient.
Mamma Chia, www.mammachia.com
This popular beverage is a mixture of infused chia seeds with organic juices and sweetened with organic agave nectar. This gluten-free and vegan beverage is jam packed with omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, protein and calcium. Available in delicious flavors like blackberry hibiscus and coconut mango, Mamma Chia is the perfect on the go healthy breakfast beverage or mid-afternoon refreshment.
KIND Maple Walnut Clusters with Chia and Quinoa, www.kindsnacks.com
A personal favorite, this granola mix is delicious and packed with chia, the whole grain quinoa, walnuts and topped with a hint of maple. This granola features 300 mg of omega 3 fatty acids and 17 grams of whole grains per serving. Mix it with your morning yogurt or bring along with you to work for an afternoon snack when you need a burst of extra energy later in the day.
LesserEvil Chia Crisps, www.lesserevil.com
A much less evil option than traditional potato chips, these new Chia Crisps are a healthy snack that adults and kids will both love. Available in four delicious flavors like Crunchy Dill Pickle, Jalapeno White Cheddar, Feta and Back Olive and Southern Barbeque, these snacks harness the power of chia combined with black bean for a tasty and healthy treat.
In the spirit of full disclosure some brands mentioned in this article were, are or could be in the future, client’s of our parent company, the leading healthy lifestyle agency, ADinfinitum, Inc.