CH-CH-CH-CHIA...who remembers that clay ram from the eighties, that you smeared this weird green stuff on it, and then it grew out all bushy? In any event, thirty years later Chia seeds seem to be all the rage. The reality, however, is that the Chia seed has been documented to date back to the ancient Aztecs, Mayans, and Native Americans. While the word Chia happens to mean oily, the plant's formal name is Salvia Hispanica. These seeds are typically found in the deserts of Argentina, Mexico and Peru.
I have seen Chia Seeds being referred to as super foods since they contain calcium, fat, fiber and protein. Just to give you an idea of their nutritional value, a 1 ounce serving of Chia seeds contains the following:
1oz of Chia Seeds:
180 mg of Calcium
9 grams of fat
11 grams of fiber
4 grams of protein
Personally, I am most impressed with the whopping 11 g of fiber which is roughly 33% of your recommended daily fiber intake. Not far behind is the fact that roughly half of the fat in the Chia seeds happen to be alpha-linolenic acid, which is an amazing omega-3 fat. Omega-3 has shown help with cardiovascular health, cancer, and various other diseases.
So now what are we supposed to do, eat that old arts and crafts toy? No of course not! Below are a few ways that you can ingest your Chia.
For starters you can bake, cook, or drink them. One of the wonderful benefits of the Chia seed is that it is practically tasteless. People typically mix Chia in their batter or dough when making pancakes, muffins, breads, etc... I have even tried Chia Seeds mixed in my protein shake. Another great way to ingest Chia is through Thinfat by VPX, which contains Chia Oil.
An amazing study in early 2011 performed at the University of Alabama took athletes and gave them a beverage containing 50% Chia seeds and 50% Gatorade, as well as another group of athletes 100% Gatorade. When the study was concluded, the athletes produced similar athletic performance.
"Omega-3 Chia loading appears a viable option for enhancing performance for endurance events listing more than 90 minutes and allows athletes to decrease their dietary intake of sugar while increasing their intake of Omega-3 fatty acids but offered no performance advantages," states Travis Illian at The Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, of University of Alabama.
I look forward to seeing more research in the benefits of Chia. As a very inexpensive, accessible form of Omegas and other major nutrients, I am a big fan of it.
Daniells, Stephen. "Omega-3 Chia Seeds May Be Carb Loaders for Athletes: Study." Nutra Ingredients-USA.com. William Reed Business Media, 21 Jan. 2011. Web.