These Tiny Seeds are Loaded with Nutritional Goodness
If you want to grow healthy habits, consider sprinkling some chia seeds into your daily diet. “Salvia hispanica,” commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family “Lamiaceae,” native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.
Chia seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans, who prized them for their ability to provide sustainable energy. In fact, “chia” is the ancient Mayan word for “strength.”
Over the past few years, they have skyrocketed in the food chain to become a popular superfood and are now consumed by health-conscious people all over the world.
According to the website Authority Nutrition, a 1-ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains 11 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 18 percent of the daily recommended dose of calcium, 30 percent of the recommended daily doses of manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, and only 9 grams of fat (5 of which are Omega-3s).They also contain a decent amount of zinc, potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 and vitamin B3 (niacin). In other words, these tiny seeds pack an enormous nutritious punch.
They are also kind of magical. When wet, the seeds swell to about 10 times their dry weight and form gel-like globules. Perhaps that’s why they are popular as a way to help keep your belly feeling full.
Chia Greek Yogurt Pudding
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
Whisk soy milk and Greek yogurt together in a large, sealable container. Stir hemp seeds, flax seeds, honey, cinnamon and vanilla extract into yogurt mixture. Stir chia seeds into yogurt mixture until seeds are evenly distributed. Cover the container and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Stir mixture until chia seeds are evenly distributed again. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 1 hour.
You can easily make chia pudding, one of the most popular ways to eat the seeds, by mixing a quarter-cup of the seeds in 1 cup of liquid (almond milk and fruit juice are popular choices). Once the seeds have gelled up and the mixture is no longer watery, the “pudding” is ready to eat. This can take as little as 15 minutes, and chia pudding keeps well in the fridge for several days. Since chia doesn’t have a ton of flavor on its own, feel free to dust your dish with spices, chopped fruit, nuts and any other favorite toppings. Dry chia seeds can also be added whole or ground to smoothies and juices, mixed into yogurt or oatmeal, or sprinkled on top of a salad. If you’re adding the seeds to a drink or a “wet” dish such as oatmeal, they’ll swell up slightly while you eat, but they’ll retain a slight crunch. And although these are some of the more common ways to eat chia, its mild flavor and compact size make it easy to slip a spoonful into pretty much anything — so experiment! Since chia seeds are capable of absorbing a lot of liquid, it’s important to stay well hydrated when consuming them, particularly in dry form. But you don’t have to overdo it on the water — your daily eight 8-ounce glasses will work just fine.