Two years ago my husband bought a book to read during our Christmas vacation from school. It was called, Born to Run. He started it on Christmas eve and stayed up until 4:30 a.m. to finish it. He is not usually a very fast reader and I was shocked that he finished it so quickly. I had to read it to see what kept him so intrigued. I also loved the book (we had both recently started running again) and it motivated me as well as got me thinking a lot about how we run and how we fuel our bodies. If you aren’t familiar with the book, it is a true story written by a man who organizes an ultra race against a tribe in Mexico. The tribe members run barefoot and can run extremely long distances and have done for hundreds of years. One of the “secrets” to their success is the Chia seed. The people of the ancient Aztec and Mayan empires revered the seeds as a vital source of nourishment.
Chia seeds have many nutritional benefits and have recently made a huge comeback in the health food world. Because they are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids (an anti-inflammatory agent that is good for healthy skin and is used in the cholesterol metabolism function), protein, antioxidants, fiber, calcium, potassium, iron, and more, Chia is referred to a super food. They pack in the maximum nutritional benefits, with the least amount of calories. One serving (1 T) of Chia seeds contains 5 g of fiber, 3 g protein, and 2.5 g of Omega-3. They have virtually no taste, making them an excellent additive to ANY dish. Because Chia is such a good source of fiber, they are excellent in aiding weight loss and digestion. When mixed with liquid, Chia seeds form a gel-like substance, which binds to and helps move along food in your system. Because of their expansive properties, Chia seeds help you feel fuller longer. Chia is one of the most concentrated sources of Omega-3 in any food. Ounce for ounce, it has more Omega-3 than salmon, more potassium than bananas, more iron than spinach (six times more, to be exact), more protein than kidney beans, and more antioxidants than blueberries.
My favorite way (and the easiest for me) to use them is in our morning smoothie. I just toss in a couple of tablespoons and call it good. They don’t have to be blended though, to reap the benefits. I have also used them in hot cereal and granola. My husband eats them by the spoonful, followed by a glass of water.
Some other quick and easy ways to use Chia:
- mix one teaspoon of chia seeds with 1/4 cup of water to make an egg substitute in baking cakes and cookies
- blend into smoothies
- mix ground seeds with butter or peanut butter for a nutritious spread
- add one teaspoon of chia seeds with coconut water or your favorite juice or herb tea and chill in the fridge overnight. This option is a great way to stay hydrated and enhance your endurance.
- make a chia seed pudding (recipe to come shortly)
- add to oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, or granola
- toss in stir fry or basically any other dish you’re preparing for dinner