Superfood Spotlight: Chia Seeds
The #1 superfood that I recommend to my clients, family, friends, strangers…everyone, is chia seeds. I often get this reaction: “You mean like Chia Pets?!?” They are surprised that the answer is YES! Chia seeds are the seeds of the grass that grows in those funny lawn ornaments…that have been given all too often as holiday swap gifts.
So why are they so great? Chia seeds have been a prized food source for quite a long time. The Aztecs ate them for energy and strength. A naturally gluten free food, chia seeds are a fantastic plant based source of omega fatty acids. They have more omega-3s than salmon per serving and are safe to eat on a daily basis. They are also a good source of protein and dietary fiber and known to aid in weight loss. When mixed with liquid they swell and create a gel like consistency which digests slowly and easily, making you feel full longer without bloating. The soluble fiber they contain also promotes the growth of good bacteria in the intestines and helps block absorption of calories from fat. Chia seeds are high in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium (which we need to help absorb calcium), iron, manganese and phosphorus. Believe it or not, just one tablespoon of chia seeds contains more calcium than a glass of milk and more antioxidants than blueberries!
There are many ways to incorporate these little wonders into your eating habits. The simplest is adding them to water and drinking it down. They are an excellent thickening agent and therefore perfect for adding to smoothies, oatmeal or other grains, or mixing with nut milks to make chia pudding. They can also be used as an addition to baking recipes or as an egg substitute when baking. Add to soups, homemade energy bars, salad dressings or even sprout the seeds for salads! Chia seeds are incredibly versatile and a healthy nutritious addition to your diet.
Here at Kombu Kitchen, Chef Kristen loves using chia seeds in her cooking, especially as the main ingredient in her many varieties of delicious chia seed pudding. Cheers to Chia!
Holistic Nutrition Coach