Every one is talking about Chia
WHAT IS IT?
Chia seeds (pronounced chee-ah) look like sesame seeds and can be black, white or grey. They are mostly sold as raw unprocessed seeds, or ground seeds. They have a pleasant, mild nutty flavour.
Apart from colour there is little difference between the black and white seeds.
WHY ARE THEY GOOD FOR YOU?
Good Fats: Chia seeds are one of the highest sources of ALA, the plant form of omega-3. Omega 3 ALA is especially important for a healthy heart and research has shown it can be beneficial for lowering cholesterol, maintaining artery function and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The other function of ALA in the body is to be partially converted to other Omega 3 fatty acids - Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) which studies have shown can be beneficial for brain function, mood disorders and cardiovascular health.
Fibre: Chia is an outstanding source of soluble fibre. When they are added to water or other liquid, they become thick and gelatinous. This, coupled with their low level of available carbohydrate, makes them slowly absorbed.
Protein: Chia seeds contain 15 per cent protein:
as much as wheat yet they’re gluten-free.
Vitamins and Minerals: Chia seeds have a broad profile of nutrients including folate, phosphorus, iron, manganese, copper and potassium.
Like almonds and sesame seeds, they have a surprisingly high content of calcium
(255mg per 100g compared to 120mg for milk).
WHY HAVE YOU NEVER HEARD OF IT BEFORE?
Chia was first used as food as early as 3500 BC by the Mayans, Aztecs and Southwest Native Americans. It was know to give energy and sustenance and became a staple food. Chia seeds were eaten as a grain, drunk as a beverage when mixed with water, ground into flour, included in medicines, pressed for oil and used as a base for face and body paints.
The Spanish conquests of America destroyed much of the chia production, however small pockets of production remained in Central and South America. Today Chia is being grown in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.
HOW DO I USE IT?
The recommended intake is 15mg daily -one level teaspoon.
- Sprinkle over cereal and muesli.
- Use them to coat rissoles, meatloaf or burgers - they add a pleasant crunch to the exterior just like poppy seeds
- Because of their neutral taste and light colour, white Chia seeds make an ideal part-replacement for white flour in home baking.
- Mix 1 or 2 tablespoons of the seeds into one cup of water and add the gel to smoothies, juices, yoghurts and soups.