Chia seeds are all the rage right now, and it seems everyone is talking about them. These little seeds are among the healthiest things a person can eat. Chia sees are loaded with vitamins and minerals and have many great benefits for the brain and body.
What Are Chia Seeds?
Chia seeds come from a plant called Salvia hispanica, which is a member of the mint family. Chia is grown commercially for its seeds, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and a-linoleic acid. The seeds are small and may be black, gray or brown in color.
Health Benefits of Chia Seeds
One of the best things about chia seeds is the ability to help a person lose weight without feeling hungry. When chia seeds are added to water, it forms a gel-like coating and increases in size and weight, many people use the seeds in protein shakes. Because chia seeds form a gel when exposed to water, there are no calories and it makes the body feel full, which can help a person experience weight loss.
Chia seeds are very high in antioxidants, which protect against free radical damage, which can contribute to the aging process, certain types of cancer and many other diseases.
Manganese is not a popular or well-known nutrient, but it is important for a person’s health. Manganese is excellent for bones and helps the body use other essential nutrients such as thiamin and biotin. One serving of chia seeds per day has around 30 percent of a person’s recommended dietary intake of this vital mineral.
A person’s energy levels have a lot to do with their eating habits. Chia seeds are one of the highest plant-based sources of complete protein. Protein raises energy levels and through a combination of protein, vitamins, minerals, and balanced blood sugar, a person will have a steady flow of energy and not feel jittery or nervous.
Cooking with Chia Seeds
When many people hear “chia,” they tend to think of the furry novelty ceramic growing kits seen on TV. However, chia seeds have been used as a food and for raw materials as early as 3500 B.C. Chia seeds can be eaten raw or added to just about any food or beverage. It is worthwhile to consider adding chia seeds to your daily diet because these little seeds pack a powerful punch and impart many healthful benefits in the process.
If someone enjoys baking, it is beneficial to consider using chia seeds to cut down the amount of fat in baked goods. Chia gel can be used in recipes to cut the amount of butter required in most recipes. Divide the amount of butter or oil in a recipe by half and replace it with an equal amount of chia gel (made by exposing the seeds to water) and bake as directed. Everything from cake to cookies can be made using chia gel and it is a great alternative to using butter.