Chia: A Mountain Of Benefits In A Tiny Seed

chiaMore than three thousand years before the birth of Christ, the Aztecs and Mayans of modern-day Mexico noshed on chia seeds as a staple of their daily diets. They ground them into flour, pressed them for oil and drank them mixed with water.

Today, this diminutive import from Mexico is considered by some to be the holy grail of nutrients. Like the Mayans and Aztecs, todays chia devotees use these tiny seeds as building blocks to better health.

Petit But Potent

Chia is the Mayan word for strength and that couldnt be more appropriate because they are packed with vitamins, protein, antioxidants, fiber, Omega-3, and calciumpowerful nutrients that make for strong and powerful bodies.

While flax seeds have gotten a lot of flak because they have to be ground into a meal before use and can spoil easily, chia seeds are maintenance-free with an indefinite shelf-life.

High in fiber and low in calories, chia seeds can help with weight loss because they create a feeling of fullness in the belly. When mixed with liquid, they form a gelatinous substance that takes longer to digest.

Chia seeds are also reputed to help lower blood pressure and to help check blood sugar in diabetics. As a concentrated source of Omega-3 - rivaling even salmon - its anti-inflammatory properties are helpful to arthritis sufferers. And its a favorite with many pregnant women because the Omega-3 in chia seeds can enhance brain development in babies.

Portable, Potable, And Powerful

Gelling: In water chia becomes gelatinous and looks a bit like gray Jello, but its therapeutic value remains undiluted. Mix them in smoothies for extra nutritional value and thickness.

Cooking: You can add them to puddings or bake them in breads. Sprinkle them on your oatmeal or stir them into yogurt. Whisk a bit of crunch into pancakes, waffles, muffins, and cookies. Use chia to thicken soups and barbeque sauce, and even as an egg substitute. Their versatility is virtually unlimited.

Snacking: Like sand, which can get into everything, chia seeds are showing up everywhere. Theyre now in energy drinks, power bars, and snacks in health food stores across the country.

But, of course, too much of a good thing can cause problems. It is recommended that no more than 1 ounce per day be ingested. Excessive use can cause unhealthy interactions with high blood pressure and diabetes medication or cause stomach discomfort.

The little chia seed is a giant among all super foods. Make chia one of your pet favorites. Sorry, I just couldnt resist the pun.

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