Just about everyone is familiar with chia, but more than likely it’s the quick-growing terra cotta pets and famous faces that come to mind. They are a better source of omega-3 fatty acids than flaxseed and, unlike flaxseed, chia seeds can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid and don't require grinding. Chia is also a great source of fiber, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin and zinc.
Chia seeds have been getting hype in the natural health industry for quite some time. Now, they seem to be breaking into mainstream media as well. Yesterday, CNBC ran a brief news story about Chia seeds, touting them as "the next superfood."
Chia seeds are one of the best health products or foods that you can eat, but as evidenced by the video below, it still seems chia hasn't gotten past its previous fame as the popular Chia Pet. (I apologize in advance for the ad the CNBC video player will make you watch before the news clip actually begins.)
Personally, I was a little put off by the obvious skepticism of both the anchor and reporter. Why is it that natural health products have such a tough time earning a legitimate reputation?
I bought some chia about a month ago but have only managed to use it one or two times. My fabulous wife blended some chia seeds in our coffee grinder and put it in some black bean brownies she made.
5 Reason to Try Chia Seeds
1. Chia seeds are packed with nutrients, including calcium, fiber, vitamin C and iron. They’re the best known plant source of omega-3s (alpha linolenic acid). Unlike other types of seeds, they do not need to be ground or crushed to use.
2. Chia is the perfect breakfast protein. Without an overpowering flavor, chia can be added to your freshly squeezed orange or grapefruit juice—or try adding it to your whole wheat pancake batter. Check out these chia seed pudding recipes for more inspiration.
3. They are a quick & easy food topping. Add to casseroles for a crunchy topping or use in place of breading for fish or tofu.
4. Chia can be a nutrient-rich substitute! To use it in place of eggs: Take 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds. Whisk together and let sit for 10 minutes until thick. To use it in place of guar gum or xanthan gum, just use the same amount of chia mixed with twice that quantity of boiling water.
5. "Chia absorbs up to 12 times its own weight and expands to curb your appetite, so adding just an ounce or so of chia seeds to your diet can reduce caloric intake and help lower the energy density (or calories) of foods, plus double the amount of fiber you receive." - Dr. Oz website
What Do Chia Seeds Taste Like?
They have a slightly nutty flavor but do not affect the flavor of foods, which makes it easy to add them to your favorite recipes. You can sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, yogurt and salads, eat a handful of whole seeds as a snack or grind them up and mix with flour when making muffins or other baked goods.
Chia Fresca Recipe
"Chia Fresca," is a drink popular in Mexico and Central America.
- Stir 2 teaspoons of the seeds into 8 to 10 ounces of water (you'll end up with a slightly gelatinous liquid).
- Add lime or lemon juice and sugar to taste, and enjoy.
Have you ever used chia? How do you use it?