LIKE YOU, EVERY TIME I READ ABOUT A “SUPERFOOD”, I start to wonder whether I could realistically work it into our family diet. Does it cost a million dollars? Would the kids really eat it? Has more than one magazine article ever even mentioned it? Time to find out.
What’s so great about…chia seeds?
They’ve been called a superfood so many times in so many places–USA Today, The New York Times, Oprah, Shape, The Huffington Post and more–that we bought our first bag the moment we arrived in the US. Since then we’ve made muffins, coconut milk chia seed “pudding” and chia seed pancakes too. They’re so small that you hardly notice them in baked goods but when they get wet–soaking up to 20 times their size in liquid–they’re more like tapioca. Hence the “pudding”.
Here’s the scoop on what makes chia seeds so good for you (not to mention growing kids) plus a few wow-I-didn’t-know-that facts, too.
Small in Size, Huge in Nutrition
“Chia seeds are “super” because they deliver the maximum amount of nutrients with minimum calories. The nutritional benefits of chia include fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and much more – even protein!” (Dr. Oz)
Better than Flax
“Chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds. And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body.” (Dr. Andrew Weil)
“Chia got its name from the Mayan word for “strength.” Most evidence shows that humans began using chia seeds around 3500 BC. Aztecs and Mayans consumed chia seeds regularly, grinding them into flour, pressing them for oil and drinking them mixed with water. At this time, chia seeds were considered to be almost magical because of their ability to increase stamina and energy over long periods of time.” (Dr. Oz)
They’re the Secret to Your “Omega-3” Milk
“Because of its nutritional value and stability, chia is already being added to a range of foods. Research has shown that adding it to chicken feed makes for eggs rich in omega-3s. Feeding chia to chickens enriches their meat with omega-3s; fed to cattle chia enriches milk with omega-3s. Chia can also be added to commercially prepared infant formulas, baby foods, baked goods, nutrition bars, yogurt, and other foods. Another bonus: insects don’t like the chia plant so it is easier to find organically grown varieties.” (Dr. Andrew Weil)