Chia Seeds for stamina and health

Posted by Lala Naidu on

Looking for a nutritious addition to your diet? Chia seeds may be it. A traditional food, valued by the indigenous people in arid regions of North America and South America, chia seeds contain all of the essential amino acids, a high percentage of alpha-linolenic acid, and many vitamins and minerals. Apaches, Aztecs, Mayans, and many other tribes have long used the seeds to promote stamina and energy.

Protein accounts for 19 to 23% of chia seeds, making it richer in protein, by weight, than any other known seed or grain. About 23% to 39% of the seed is oil - 60% to 63% of which is omega-3 (alpha-linolenic) - and the rest is omega-6, making it an unusually favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 3:2. Chia is a richer source of alpha-linolenic acid, an essential fat that the body uses to make EPA and DHA, than flaxseed. Unlike flaxseeds, chia seeds contain antioxidants (chlorogeneic acid, caffeic acid, and flavonol glycosides) that slow oxidation of the fragile oil.

Chia seed also contain all the B vitamins, including a significant amount of thiamin (B1). One once of seed provides 29% of the RDA for thiamin. The seed is also a rich source of calcium; 100 grams of seed (about 2 ounces) contains 600 milligrams. The same amount of milk provides 120 milligrams of calcium. Chia seeds also contain phosphorus, potassium, zinc, boron, and copper. Finally chia is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber.

In addition to its nutritional benefits, chia has the ability to absorb at least nine times its volume in water or other liquid, Mucilloid-soluble in the fiber in the seed's outer layer protects it from drying out in the desert air. The same fiber forms a gel when it comes in contact with liquid, including stomach juices. This gel is credited with slowing digestion and preventing quick rises in blood sugar levels. It also helps prolong hydration.

Making the gel is very easy. Simply pour one part chia seed into nine or ten times as much water or juice and mix with a fork or whisk. (Pouring water onto the seed will cause clumping). Let it stand for a few minutes, then mix again. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The gel has a tapioca-like consistency and virtually non-existent taste, so it can easily be added to hot cereals, batter for pancakes, yogurt, breads and puddings. Using prepared chia gel in salad dressings, dips, shakes, etc. adds volume without adding calories, since the gel is primarily water. 

Try this simple refreshing and hydrating Coconut Water Chia Seed Drink

  • 1 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cups coconut water
  • 1 cups purified water
  • 1 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
Pour the liquids into a glass Mason jar and stir to combine. Add the chia seeds. Close with a lid and shake, and allow to rest for 15 min before sharing with a friend or drink as a replenishing sports drink in which case add 1/4 teaspoon sea salt.
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