10 Years of Blog Archive

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Benefits of Chia Seeds, Native to South America

Chia seeds (Salvia Hispanica) are a healthy food supplement with an interesting texture. Although they don’t really have much of a flavor, Chia is related to the mint family of plants. We’ve only started eating Chia since moving to Ecuador because the seeds are easy to obtain as they are sold everywhere in Cuenca Ecuador.

Chia Seeds
Chia is a native grown food of South America and was once a staple food for the Aztec and Mayan civilizations. After the conquering of these civilizations they did away with farming of Chia to make room for other crops they deemed more important, not realizing the health benefits of the Chia plant. However, Chia remained a heavily farmed crop in the mountainous regions of Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala and Mexico. Chia also grows in Australia and in 2008 Australia was known as the largest Chia producer in the world.

Source: Wikipedia about Salvia Hispanica

Chia Seeds Nutritional Benefits

Chia seeds are loaded with protein and fiber and they pack a wallop of antioxidants in just a very small amount, even more than the super food, the blueberry!  According to sources they also have:

14 times more magnesium than broccoli
8 times more Omega-3 than salmon
5 times more calcium than milk
3 times more antioxidants than blueberries
3 times more iron than spinach
2 times more fiber than any other cereal
2 times more protein than any other seed
2 times more potassium than bananas

Source: EC Foods

5 Ways to Eat and Prepare Chia Seeds

1. Mix one tablespoon to ¼ cup water and wait ten minutes, then drink. Chia seeds are a bit like Psyllium because they swell up into a gelatin mass when mixed with liquid.  Yes, they have a lot of fiber content just like Psyllium and help push the contents of your bowels in the morning. I know you wanted to hear that...and yes, I'm laughing out loud. :-) 
chia seed supplement = 1 tablespoon
Note: Unlike Psyllium, its best to let the seeds gelatinize in a little liquid first before drinking. Apparently, one man was taken to the ER because he choked on a tablespoon of Chia seeds that swelled up and then became lodged in his esophagus. If you have issues with swallowing or have allergies we advise to not use Chia seeds in this way.

2.  Add a tablespoon to your favorite yogurt

3. Add a tablespoon to your breakfast cereal or rolled oats

4. Nutritional no bake squares. Frank makes awesome healthy cocoa bars using Chia seeds as one of the ingredients.  Both the texture and flavor are almost like an energy bar.  These nutritious little bars take care of your sweet tooth and pack a nutritional punch. By the way, they are not cooked, which makes them even healthier for you.

5. Bake with Chia. You can add it to baked goods and many people use Chia to make puddings; the texture is certainly there for making puddings.

As with any so called health food or “super food” good health relies on leading a health-conscience lifestyle in all areas of our life.  Adding Chia seeds to our diet is not going to save us from what ails us in our body. We recommend using Chia as a complement and supplement to an already healthy diet and there you will receive the benefits from it, just like with any food that is considered a “super food”.

Until we write again…

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We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

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