"To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art." - La Rochefoucauld

Monday, May 09, 2011

Chia Seeds

After hearing Chia seeds mentioned over and over again, along with other super foods, I decided to investigate this micro-mini seed. I have to say, this particular seed is extremely easy to add to food. The kids won't even notice! :)

Here is some information and a recipe I made tonight that included Chia seeds:

"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. Chia seeds also provide fiber (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber) as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc.

Another advantage: when added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar.

Chia has a nutlike flavor. You can mix seeds in water and add lime or lemon juice and sugar to make a drink known in Mexico and Central America as "chia fresca." As with ground flax seeds, you can sprinkle ground or whole chia seeds on cereal, in yogurt or salads, eat them as a snack, or grind them and mix them with flour when making muffins or other baked goods. I find them tasty and an interesting addition to my diet.

Chia is undergoing something of a renaissance after centuries of neglect. It was a major crop in central Mexico between 1500 and 900 B.C. and was still cultivated well into the 16th century, AD, but after the Spanish conquest, authorities banned it because of its close association with Aztec religion (Indians used the seeds as offerings in rituals). Until recently, chia was produced by only a few small growers, but commercial production has resumed in Latin America, and you can now buy the seeds online and in health food stores.

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. I expect we'll soon be hearing much more about chia and its health benefits."

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Banana Bon Bons from Nourish MD

2 cups of peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter
2 brown bananas, mashed
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 T. Chia seeds

Optional add-ins: unsweetened coconut, dark chocolate chips, chopped up raisins

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Roll into balls and lay out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for a minimum of two hours. Keep in the freezer in a air tight container and save for a snack or dessert.


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