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The Fuel of Aztec Warriors: Chia

The little seed that was once an important food source for Native Americans in the West and Central America making a big comeback! The humble little Chia seed is back in favour. It was once a prized food source of the Aztec warriors, who ate the seeds for energy to sustain them during their long and arduous battle of tribal war.

Fortunately, most of us don’t have to worry today about having to fight a tribal war. But chia’s staying power can help us all with more energy similar to the Aztecs. Our MyFaceMyLife researchers have discovered why chia seeds are a great addition to everyone’s diet…

What’s in the Chia Seed?

The Chia seed is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants and by weight, they contain almost twice as much omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber as flaxseeds! For a small seed they deliver a big punch!

Three tablespoons of these tasty whole seeds provide almost five grams of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid known to reduce inflammation, while containing just 10 grams of fiber, including 6 grams of insoluble fiber (the kind that helps the body remove excess cholesterol and promotes regularity) and 4 grams of soluble fiber (which regulates blood sugar and insulin levels).

Because these little bomb shells are so high in fiber, they’re often used by people in detoxifying programs to help maintain regularity and assist in escorting toxins out of the body. Some studies suggest that there is a direct relationship between chia seeds and weight loss, although this has not yet been substantiated.

Another good weight loss benefit of eating chia seeds is that they make you feel full, therefore you’ll eat less. They also contain surprising high amounts of other nutrients, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and essential amino acids, which are essential for a healthy body.

How to use Chia Seeds

Using Chia Seeds: Because they’re so tiny (think poppy seeds) Chia seeds can’t be eaten like other seeds or nuts. The seeds’ mild flavor blends well with all types of foods, so it’s easy to include them in almost any meal by just sprinkling them in. Purchased Chia seeds come in either whole or ground form. Whole Chia seeds can be sprinkled on cereal, oatmeal, salads, pasta dishes and stir-fries where you might want a little crunch.

Chia seeds also can be purchased pre-ground. Some people like to buy them whole and grind them in a spice grinder since they are freshest when newly ground. Ground Chia seeds are smoother than whole seeds and can be added to smoothies, yogurt, applesauce, pancake or muffin batter. They can also be used as a cooking thickener for soups or similar dishes.

Storing Chia Seeds: Whole Chia seeds should be stored in a cool, dry glass container with a tight-fitting lid or in a re-sealable plastic bag with all the excess air squeezed out. The important omega-three fatty acids within the seed are protected by the seed itself.

Once ground, Chia seeds must be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Ground seeds that are exposed to light and/or air can easily become rancid. You should check the package labeling to determine how long to keep ground or whole Chia seeds. Depending on the storage method, up to 2 years of storage is possible.

Purchasing Chia Seeds

You can purchase black or white Chia seeds at most good health-food stores, some grocery stores and online. There is no real difference in taste or nutritional value between the two colored seeds. Oil pressed from Chia seeds is sold in liquid and capsule form, but you get more nutritional benefit from consuming the seed whole.

Have you ever tried Chia?  Was it positive for you? If so, let us know your experiences or leave a comment below.

 

Source: Bottom Line.Publications

Image 1: 123RF

Image 2: Healthy Fellow

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