Chia Seeds Food Talk Friday

Chia Seeds or Chia Pets

Do you remember the catchy commercial jingle that always comes around during Christmas time? “Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!” Did you know that chia seeds are more than just a way to create fun shaped pets? They are also hearty in nutritious value! You have probably seen the words “chia seeds” and “superfood” come across your Facebook news feed in the past few months, but what are they and their benefits?

chia seeds

Where do Chia Seeds come from?

Chia seeds originate from the Aztec and Mayan culture. It was a staple in their diet and was thought to have supernatural powers. In Mayan, chia translates to strength, which is why it was used in medicine during this time. Chia seeds were also used in religious ceremonies because they were considered to be sacred. The chia seed comes from the plant Salvia Hispanica L, which is grown in Mexico and other parts of Central America such as Guatemala. In these regions, chia seeds are most popularly used in a drink called chia fresca. This drink is made with lemon or lime juice, water and chia seeds, sometimes slightly sweetened.  

 

Whole vs. Ground

whole and ground chia seeds

Chia seeds can be eaten whole or ground, the nutritional benefit is the same. Sprinkle them whole onto yogurt or oatmeal. Whole seeds can also be a great egg substitute for those allergic to eggs or those who live a vegan lifestyle. Mix one tablespoon of whole chia seeds or 2 teaspoons ground seeds with 3 tablespoons of water, let sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens before use. This mixture is equal to one whole egg when baking. If you’re baking using a flour base add ground chia to boost the nutrient value of baked goods. My personal favorite is making chia pudding as a nutritious dessert. It hits the spot for those with a sweet tooth!

Chia pudding

Nutrients

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid
    • Promote production of hormones that help with inflammation.
    • Help prevents numerous diseases such as heart disease and stroke.
  • Fiber  
    • Lowers cholesterol levels
    • Helps control blood sugar
    • Helps prevent constipation
  • Protein
    • Aids in muscle recovery
  • Calcium
    • Aids in the prevention of osteoporosis

2 Tablespoons contains approximately: {1}

  • 7 grams of unsaturated fat
  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 5 grams of protein
  • 18% daily value of calcium

Meet the Author: Samantha Berkowitz

I am a junior majoring in culinary nutrition at Johnson & Wales University. My career goal is to be a sports dietitian and work with a professional or collegiate level sports team. I love cooking, nutrition, and sports so this career path seemed like the perfect combination of the three! In my free time I love to go spinning at my local CycleBar in Providence and visit new places, sometimes that may be a new restaurant or a new country.

 

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