Chia Seeds

chiaflowersWhat is a chia plant you may ask? Chia is the common name for Salvia hispanica L. It is in the Lamiaceae family, which includes mint and sage. The word “chia” comes from Nahuatl, a vernacular Aztec language, and means “oily”.

Chia are native to Central America. They were cultivated by the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. Chia was consumed by these Indians over 6,000 years ago. This plant supposedly helped them run fast.

The seeds of chia are only 1.5 mm wide and 2 mm long. They are of variable colour, ranging from plain white, to brown, black,or even mottled.

Chia seeds are a rich source of anti-oxidants. They contain magnesium, iron, calcuim, manganese, selenium, zinc, boron, and potassium. They are much richer in Omega 3 than flax seeds, which is an essential fatty acid.

An amazing product of mixing chia seeds with water is a chia gel. Chia gel forms when the seed is exposed to water or non-acidic liquids. When the soluble fiber located on the outside of the seed shell hydrates, it forms a bead of gelatin around the seed. Since chia really does not have any taste, if you put 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 9 tablespoons of filtered water into a sealed container, then shake it, in 15 minutes you will have chia gel. This will last in the fridge for a week, if kept in a sealed container.

I enjoy sprinkling these seeds over a salad that I eat every day. You can alternate with sprinkling pumpkin or sunflower seeds to your salads. You will increase your energy level and eat more healthy!

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