Thursday, March 31, 2011

An ancient treasure By Valerie Hould-Marchand

Chia, is familiar to most as the often-ridiculed seed of the « instant pet ». Little is know, however, of the seeds tremendous nutritional value. They were used by ancient mountain and desert-dwelling Native American civilizations. In fact, Aztec warriors used the carbohydrate-rich chia seeds as an energy booster. They called chia their « running food » because messengers reportedly could run all day on just a handful. However, when these civilizations fell, the importance of the seeds was forgotten.
But now, after a half millennium, Chia seeds are back, and can be found in most health food stores. So what is it exactly that makes the tiny seeds so powerful ? For starters, they are nature’s richest vegetarian source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. In fact, chia seeds have the highest percentage of alpha-linolenic acid of all vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Chia provides the highest percentage of complete protein, averaging 22 percent protein per seed, with all of the essential amino acids present.
They are also very high in soluble fiber, which improves blood sugar control by slowing the absorption of glucose ( which also increases energy levels), and has be shown to lower cholesterol.
Here are a few additional benefits you should know about these tiny seeds:

• Three times more iron than spinach
• Fifteen times more magnesium than broccoli
• Six times more calcium than milk
• No trans fats
• Gluten Free
• Hypo-Allergenic


Chia seeds love water ! The seeds can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water. Do this fun experiment… Put one tablespoon of chia seeds in a cup of water and stir. Wait a few hours and see what happens. When inside your body, the seeds help you stay hydrated longer, and retain electrolytes in your bodily fluids, especially during physical exercise.

Another unique quality of the chia seeds is their ability to blend in perfectly in all of your favourite recipes. And unlike other seeds and grains, chia does not require grinding for the body to benefit from the wide range of nutrients hidden in the seeds. Their mild taste makes it easy to put in sauces, smoothies, breads, puddings, and whatever you can think of. They won't really change the taste, but will add to your nutrition!

Until next time,
Heal yourself
Heal the planet

Sources :
Prescription for Dietary Wellness

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