A lot of people probably remember seeing commercials for Chia Pets – American styled terracotta figurines used to sprout chia, where the chia sprouts grow to resemble the figurine’s “fur” or “hair”. Chia Pets were particularly popular in the 1990s and have included such famous faces as Homer Simpson and Scooby Doo; but, who knew chia seed was actually good for you?
The chia seed that is used as a food source may not be the same product that was made famous by the Chia Pets over a decade ago, but its popularity has never been more significant than it is right now. Chia seed has become the hottest superfood on the market, thanks to the huge nutritional punch it packs in just two tablespoons.
Chia is a whole, raw food that is a great source of Omega-3s as well as soluble and insoluble fiber leading to better digestion and regularity, and chia is also a complete vegetarian protein. It has a mild flavor so you can add it to any meal or drink without the worry that your taste buds will know the difference, which makes it even easier to consume.
One really interesting fact about this nifty little seed is that chia can absorb ten times its weight in any liquid that surrounds it. When the seeds interact with liquids like water or juice, they quickly form a gel-like substance. This “chia gel” can then help hydrate the body for hours on end. Add chia to your favorite bottled water or sports drink before a workout or take it with you when hiking on a hot, summer’s day to stay refreshed. Another great side effect of the “chia gel” is that it can help bulk up foods and give the feeling of fullness, which can potentially aid in weight loss.
The “chia gel” can add a great nutritional punch to gruels, porridges, puddings and liquids of any kind while the chia seeds are great for baked goods including breads, cakes and biscuits. They can also serve as an egg substitute thanks to its water-absorbent qualities, which can be helpful when baking. You can find Chia seed at your local health food store or on the web at www.barleans.com.
What are some of the recipes you will use Chia seed in?