The infamous Chia Pet that magically grows green fur in a matter of days might be the first thing you think of when hear the word chia, but these tiny seeds are actually full of nutrients.
And the good news is you don’t actually need to sprout chia seeds on a silly little terracotta tchotchke to enjoy their health benefits. Chia seeds are similar to the more nutritionally famous flax seed, but are superior in many ways.
Chia seeds can be found in every Nicaraguan market and are not considered a trendy health food product, rather just a normal Nica staple. One pound of chia seeds – which is enough to last me six months – cost just $7 USD at the local market.
Chia seeds are very similar to flax seeds in a number of ways – but unlike the flax seed – chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate, which means they can be stored for long periods of time without becoming rancid.
HOW TO EAT IT
There are three ways to eat chia – dry seeds, sprout it or make a chia gel.
The dry seeds are crunchy and slightly nutty. They are good in cereal, oatmeal, smoothies, salads or just about anything you want to add a slight crunch to.
To sprout chia follow the basic steps on the video. The use of a Chia Pet is not required, but does add to the fun factor.
Chia gel is made by stirring about three tablespoons of seeds into a cup of water. Thirty minutes later you have a gel that will last up to a week in the fridge. Chia gel can be substituted for half of the butter in baking recipes. Ground seeds can be used to thicken soups and sauces. Chia has many uses…these are just a few to ignite your imagination.
When eaten on their own chia seeds have a slightly nutty flavour, but when combined with other foods they are virtually flavourless.
Eating chia is an easy way to inject a little extra nutrition into your diet without even noticing.
- Chia seeds are rich in polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids. Your heart will thank you for eating them.
- A 1-ounce shot glass of chia seeds contains a third of your daily recommended fibre intake. That same shot glass holds between 20% and 50% of your daily recommended dose of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and manganese.
- Antioxidants are so high in chia seeds that they have a shelf life of two years. Imagine what it does for your body?
- Chia seeds also pretty good at making you feel full. Once you’ve tried putting a few tablespoons in a cup of water you won’t have to ask why.
No matter how many times I watch the Duck Dynasty Chia Pet video I laugh out loud.