NEWS: This superfood is now available in the SANEStore as a convenient whole-food powder so you can more easily enjoy it in smoothies and recipes.
Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. Chia, is familiar to most of us as a seed used for the novelty of the Chia Pet, clay animals with sprouted Chia seeds covering their bodies. Little is known, however, of the seeds tremendous nutritional value and medicinal properties. For centuries this tiny little seed was used as a staple food by the Indians of the south west and Mexico. Known as the running food, its use as a high energy endurance food has been recorded as far back as the ancient Aztecs. It was said the Aztec warriors subsisted on the Chia seed during the conquests. The Indians of the south west would eat as little as a teaspoon full when going on a 24hr. forced march. Indians running form the Colorado River to the California coast to trade turquoise for seashells would only bring the Chia seed for their nourishment.
Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) are extremely high in Omega 3 fatty acids and are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and soluble fiber. One ounce of chia seeds provides eleven grams of fiber. This amount also includes calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin, zinc and the proper ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Chia seeds are rich source of antioxidants containing chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol flavonols. These compounds are both primary and synergistic antioxidants that contribute to the strong antioxidant activity of chia.
Studies show that eating chia seed may slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrate calories into simple sugars. This leads scientists to believe that the chia seed may have great benefits for diabetics. Viscous fiber (that which appears like a gelatin) slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars and helps normalize blood glucose levels. That means it’s beneficial to mix Chia Seed in with food you already like to eat.
Blood sugar naturally rises and falls through out the day. It can also be what makes you drowsy in the afternoon. Dips and spikes aren’t good for consistent, healthy energy. The slowing of conversion of carbohydrates into sugar has the ability to create endurance. Carbohydrates are the fuel for energy in the body. Prolonging their conversion into sugar stabilizes metabolic changes, diminishing the surges of highs and lows creating a longer duration in their fueling effects. Protein fuels energy as well, and the protein in chia is complete.
If you try putting a spoonful of Chia seeds in a glass of water and leaving it for approximately 30 minutes or so, when you return the glass will appear to contain not seeds or water, but an almost solid gelatin. This gel-forming reaction is due to the soluble fiber in the Chia. Research believe this same gel-forming phenomenon takes place in the stomach when food containing these gummy fibers, known as mucilages, are eaten. The gel that is formed in the stomach creates a physical barrier between carbohydrates and the digestive enzymes that break them down, thus slowing the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar. This blockage of calorie absorption makes the chia seed a great diet helper.
In addition to the obvious benefits for diabetics, this slowing in the conversion of carbohydrates into sugar offers the ability for creating endurance. Carbohydrates are the fuel for energy in our bodies. Prolonging their conversion into sugar stabilizes metabolic changes, diminishing the surges of highs and lows creating a longer duration in their fueling effects.
One of the exceptional qualities of the Chia seed is its hydrophilic properties, having the ability to absorb more than 12 times its weigh in water. Its ability to hold on to water offers the ability to prolong hydration. Fluids and electrolytes provide the environment that supports the life of all the body’s cells. Their concentration and composition are regulated to remain as constant as possible. With Chia seeds, you retain moisture, regulate, more efficiently, the bodies absorption of nutrients and body fluids. Because there is a greater efficiency in the utilization of body fluids, the electrolyte balance is maintained.
You do not need to grind chia seeds in order to digest them. It is a relatively easy to digest seed, whereas flax seeds are not. Flax seeds need to be ground for the nutrients to be absorbed by our digestive systems. That is not the case with chia seeds. Unlike flax-seeds, chia seeds can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid.
Chia seeds can be eaten raw as a dietary fiber, omega 3 and antioxidant supplement. Chia seeds soaked in fruit juice are commonly consumed in Mexico and known as chia fresca. The soaked seeds are gelatinous in texture and are used in porridge and puddings. Taste-wise, chia seeds have a slight nutty flavor and are a healthful addition to the diet.
- Supporting cardiovascular health
- Being very high in soluble fiber
- Improving digestion & natural detoxification
- Strong antioxidant benefits
- Assisting joint function & mobility
- Being great for prolonged energy & endurance
- Supporting a healthy heart
- Supporting healthy weight loss – dieters trying to reduce calorie consumption
- Supporting healthy blood pressure levels
- Higher antioxidant than blueberries
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