Once a form a currency, chia seeds are one of our favorite new health food trends that you have to try! Just a sprinkle of these amazing seeds will give you the energy and brain power to last through your longest days. Chia seeds are a great addition to any meal and will keep you hydrated and focused.
1. Benefits of Chia Seeds
1. Chia seeds may boost your stamina and endurance.
The Tarahumara people credit their long distant runs to chia seeds.
This group of Native Americans lives in the Northwestern area of Mexico and are known as the 'Running Indians'. They have developed the ability to run up to 200 miles in one session over the course of two days.
Before running, they drink a traditional mixture of water and chia seeds, saying that it gives them the stamina they need in order to accomplish this feat.
Both words mean 'staying power'.
Language wise, these two words are interchangeable, meaning the exact same thing.
Stamina is usually associated with physical activities.
This word is more often used when describing the ability to keep going for activities, such as distance running, hard physical labor, etc.
Endurance is associated more with making it through difficult situations.
This is the word of choice for a lot of people to describe the ability to make it through situations such as a lay off, death or divorce, etc.
Both are important qualities for health.
It's hard to stay healthy if you yield to hardships. Giving in can cause a feeling of defeat, which in turn can lead to not taking care of your health.
EATSMARTER TAKE AWAY: By boosting your staying power, you can accomplish more and feel more successful.
2. Disadvantages of Chia Seeds
1. Chia seeds may be contaminated.
Questionable farming practices may endanger your health.
Most chia in the United States come from Mexico and Guatemala, where food regulations aren't enforced. In Mexico, one of the leading causes of death among children is food-borne disease. Manure is typically used as fertilizer and manure can be contaminated.
Chia seeds can't be washed.
Because chia seeds absorb water so quickly, they cannot be washed – they would begin expanding and sprouting the moment they came in contact with the water.
It's possible to get salmonella or E. coli from seeds.
If the seeds have been fertilized by contaminated manure, they will pick up the bacteria carried in the manure. This bacteria can't be cleaned off of the seeds and you could become very ill by eating the seeds.
EATSMARTER TAKE AWAY: Only buy seeds from reputable sources.
3. Top 100 Chia Seed Recipes
4. Chia Seeds in Video
5. About Chia Seeds
Kingdom | Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom | Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision | Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division | Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class | Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass | Asteridae
Order | Lamiales
Family | Lamiaceae/Labiatae – Mint family
Genus | Salvia L. – Sage
Species | Salvia hispanica L. – Chia
How many species are called 'chia'?
There are two different plants or 'species' belonging to the same genus that are called 'chia'. The first, and most common, is the Salvia hispanica L., plant. The second, called the 'golden chia' is the Salvia combariea.
Chia is native to Southern Mexico and Guatemala.
The chia plant is a hot climate plant and thrives in lands of intense sunshine.
Chia means 'oily'.
Chia comes from 'chian', and word in Nahuatl (the language of the Aztecs) – which means 'oily'.
6. Chia Seeds vs. Flaxseeds
When it comes to buying one type of seed over another, it really boils down to what you are hoping to achieve, because all seeds (chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, etc) are rich in nutrients and heart-healthy fats and are a recommended part of any diet. Because chia and flaxseeds are so similar in so many ways, comparing them reveals their strengths. Chia seeds provide more dietary fiber, calcium, phosphorus and selenium, an antioxidant that is linked with lowering the risk of heart disease and cancer. Flaxseeds are rich in vitamin B-1 and have more alpha linolenic acid (ALA), though chia is still a good plant-based source of this omega-3 fatty acid. Another consideration is whether you enjoy the gel-like texture of chia that forms when mixed with liquid; if so, great, if not, go with flaxseed.
7. History of Chia Seeds
Ruling the Aztec Empire to near extinction, this little seed has experienced it all.
Scientists believe that the chia seeds was the third most important food item among the Aztecs.
The Aztecs used Chia as early as 3500 BCE.
The first record of the chia seed being used as food comes from about 3500 BCE. The Aztecs used the seeds for nourishment, for the oil (they made face paint from the oil, among other things), and for religious ceremonies.
Chia seeds used as payment.
In fact, the Aztecs used it to pay taxes and in 21 out of the 38 Aztec states, the people gave their rulers chia as a yearly tribute.
When the Aztecs conquered other cities, they demanded a ransom of chia.
The seed is adopted by Teotihuacan and Toltec peoples.
These two peoples used chia seeds between 1500 BCE and 900 BCE.
The Mayans also used the Chia plant.
The Mayans of Southern Mexico and Guatemala grew the plant as well, using it many of the same ways as the Aztecs to the north.
8. Q&A About Chia Seeds
Can I make tea from chia seeds?
You can add them to tea, but the seeds themselves absorb water and swell up, making it difficult to make a good tea from them.
Can I eat them raw?
Yes. Many dishes call for chia seeds to be mixed in, or to be sprinkled on top as a garnish.
Why can't I wash chia seeds?
Chia seeds absorb water. If you need to clean your seeds, you will need to shake loose debris from them.
Can I use the leaves the chia plant?
You can boil them to make chia tea. You can also use the leaves in salads, soups, or anywhere else you would use mint leaves (they are a member of the mint family).
How do I plant chias?
Loosen the top layer of soil and press the seeds into the loosened dirt. Make sure to water the seeds and thin them as they grow.
9. Nutritional Information
|Calorie 138||Calories from Fat 78|
|Total Fat 8.7g||13%|
|Saturated Fat 0.9g||5%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 6.7g|
|Monounsaturated fat 0.6g|
|Total Carbohydrate 11.9g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 9.7g||39%|
|Vitamin A 0%||Vitamin C 1%|
|Calcium 18%||Iron 12%|
Note, this is for 1oz, or 28g, of dried chia seeds.
De Jauregui, Ruth. "How Long for a Chia Sprout to Turn Into a Flower?" Home Guides. Demand Media, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016. <http://homeguides.sfgate.com/long-chia-sprout-turn-flower-82587.html>.
"Plants Profile for Salvia Hispanica (chia)." Plants Profile for Salvia Hispanica (chia). USDA.gov, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016. <http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=SAHI6>.
"Salvia Hispanica." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 June 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_hispanica>.