What do you know about chia seed? Frankly, before the past year, the only thing I knew about chia was from the commercials and jingles we hear every Christmas:
Little did I know that chia is an amazing superfood! Here are some of its almost-too-good-to-be-true health benefits, from mychiaseeds.com:
- Full of calcium, boron and magnesium
- High in antioxidants
- Provides omega-3s
- Is a complete protein
- Excellent form of both soluble and insoluble fiber
- Balances blood sugar
- Can even replace butter or oil in recipes
All of these benefits are incredible, but the reason I take it daily is for its fiber benefits. According to WebMD, the average American ingests about 15 grams of fiber each day. What’s actually recommended by experts is 25g for women and 38g for men each day. If you carefully watch your diets and add enough fruits, vegetables and grains daily, you can achieve this goal….but it does take practice, careful observation and preparation to accomplish this. We seriously try to do this, but in the past I have let busy life really infringe on healthy eating for my family. I’m doing my best not to go back there, but now, in addition to healthy meal planning, I include chia for my family daily. When you combine chia with water, the chia seed mixes with the liquid to form a gel coating around itself. The combination of these two provides all the above benefits plus helps move everything easily thru your intestinal tract.
In this photo, you can see what 1/2 TBSP chia looks like before you add water (on the left) and the same amount after you add water (on the right). The chia absorbs the water and the gel is produced. It is pretty amazing! So how can one add chia to his or her diet? I’ll share the wonderful recommendations that were given to me by an excellent nurse practitioner:
- Start with 1/2 teaspoon daily.
- Work up to about 1 teaspoon daily.
And how can you eat chia? I heard a story that ancient Aztec warriors used to carry chia in a pouch. A handful of chia seed plus water gave them enough strength to go 25 miles! But, since that really doesn’t fit my lifestyle, here is what I do instead:
- Add it to yogurt
- Add it to applesauce
- Put it into a smoothie
- Drink it with milk (regular, rice, soy or almond)–especially chocolate!
- Sprinkle it on oatmeal
- Toss it with a salad
You can buy chia online or in natural foods stores (we’ve found it at Whole Foods and Sprouts). It comes both in bulk form or package, in organic or non-organic forms. I recommend it highly!