Chia seeds are edible seeds that can be found in the salvia hispanica, a desert plant native to southern Mexico. They were once a staple food of the Aztecs and Mayans due to their supposedly “magical” ability to increase strength and stamina over time. Of course, chia seeds are not magical, but the indigenous peoples of Mexico may have known something about these seeds that we are just now beginning to rediscover.
While chia seeds are not magical, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, fiber, iron and other minerals. As anyone with a nutrition degree can tell you, chia seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch. They have also become a staple in weight-loss diets due to their supposed ability to expand when eaten and curb one’s appetite, although their effectiveness as a weight-loss aid has been disputed. They are nutritious enough to warrant becoming part of your diet, something that can be done with little effort. Unlike the similar and better-known flax seeds, chia seeds don’t need to be ground up for you to reap its nutritional benefits.
One great way to incorporate chia seeds into your regular diet is to mix them into a salad. You can mix a handful of whole chia seeds into your salad or you can add them to your dressing for a more even distribution. As always, you can learn more about how to make a great salad or other healthy meals from the comfort of your own home by enrolling in an online cooking school.
Chia seeds can also be added to smoothies to give them a nutritional boost. Just grind a tablespoon of chia seeds in a coffee grinder or blender and add them to your smoothie. You can also make a chia gel by mixing 1/3 cup of chia seeds with two cups of water in a mason jar, shaking the jar and letting it sit for about 30 minutes. This gel can be added to yogurt, pudding, jelly, soups, or sauces for some added nutritional value.
Chia seeds can be added to practically any other food as well, from French toast mix to stir fries. By providing a maximum amount of nutritional value with a minimum number of calories, it’s no wonder why chia seeds were once thought of as a miracle food. Try them and see how you can incorporate them into your own recipes.